Torture for family after ‘preventable’ loss of Jennifer
PAIN turned to agony, woe to despair and a father's already broken heart was shattered yesterday when thieves broke into the home of motorcyclist Jennifer Board just one night after she was killed in a horrific and "preventable" road tragedy.
Distraught, Jennifer Board's father Graham Board bashed his fist against his table yesterday, while another very close friend and current police officer told Queensland's MPs that they should feel somewhat responsible for her death. Both were frustrated over the state's spreading juvenile crime crisis and 'broken' youth justice laws.
"So much of these stolen cars have been going on in Townsville and all they get is a slap on the fingers and they let them go out again (sic)," Mr Board said.
The elderly cane farmer recalled his body turning numb when he was told his 22-year-old daughter was killed on Friday night - an innocent victim in a catastrophic car chase between a carload of alleged vigilantes and another group of suspected juvenile offenders in Townsville.
Last night a teenage girl, who police will allege was in the car at the time of the crash, was charged with five counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
"I've lost my only (biological) daughter - they'll say 'Get over it Graham, tough luck Graham', I can't, I can't, I can't," he said.
"Nobody should ever have to bury a daughter."
Saturday night added another heartbreaking chapter to the tragic tale, when thieves allegedly broke into Ms Board's Currajong home sometime around midnight.
The police officer friend of Ms Board yesterday hit out at MPs, youths and vigilantes alike, pleading with them to "just f--king stop" and demanding youth justice reforms in Queensland.
The passionate outpouring came as part of a Facebook post claiming changes to the state's "broken" youth justice legislation may have prevented the tragedy.
The officer said he often dealt with youths who were repeat offenders.
"Myself and my fellow officers deal with these same offenders all the time and the current youth justice process does not work," he wrote.
"I am not one to turn to social media to express my feelings or vent but if this even has the slightest chance of changing the way crime is dealt with in Queensland then it's worth a shot. Every person in Queensland (local and state) that continues to stand by this (youth justice) legislation please listen to the community. I hope you all feel somewhat responsible forthis death, because this should have been prevented."
Ms Board was riding her motorcycle on Ross River Rd in Kirwan, Townsville, when she was hit and killed by a Holden Statesman about 10pm.
Police allege the car was in pursuit of a stolen Hyundai in a suspected act of "vigilantism". The two vehicles collided, causing the Holden to spin out of control, on to the wrong side of the road, and into Ms Board's motorbike.
Police believe four people were in the stolen car at the time of the crash. They fled the scene and the car was located in Garbutt about an hour later.
Detectives this morning took a 17-year-old girl into custody and charged her with five counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and one count of stealing.
The five counts relate to five occasions that she was a passenger in the stolen Hyundai between it being taken from a Mount Louisa home and the crash that happened shortly before 10pm on Friday night. The stealing charge is an alleged petrol drive-off.
The girl was refused police bail and is expected to appear before court in Townsville tomorrow.
It is understood detectives are examining whether the driver was an 18-year-old on bail with a history of stealing cars. The incident, which comes less than two weeks after Alexandra Hill couple Kate Leadbetter and Matt Field were killed by an allegedly stolen car driven by a juvenile on bail, has again prompted calls from the LNP for the State Government to do more to keep the community safe.
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli warned if breach of bail wasn't the first topic addressed by the Queensland Premier on the first sitting day of parliament later this month they would be "baying for her head".
Speaking in Townsville yesterday, Mr Crisafulli said despite it being a "harrowing time for the family", his party intended to press for change in a "dignified and forceful manner".
MP and former Queensland Police Service Detective Dan Purdie said enough was enough.
"We've seen how quickly the State Government can change the laws on 'expert medical advice' so why have they been ignoring the expert law enforcement advice for six years now"," he said.
Cabinet is expected to talk about youth justice when it meets today, after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk held discussions with her Attorney-General, Police Minister and Minister for Children on Friday. The Premier has promised to make an announcement this week, after declaring all options were on the table. Minister Mark Bailey yesterday said Ms Palaszczuk had made it clear that the issue was a priority for the government.
Ms Board's older sister, Siana Board, paid tribute to the "beautiful, kind" woman who was her best friend.
"Jennifer has never hurt a single person in this life," she said. "She really, really was the most genuine soul."
Hundreds of people turned out to honour the life of Ms Board in Townsville at the weekend with more than 100 motorcyclists donning orange, her favourite colour, for a ride.
TIMELINE OF TRAGEDY
Friday morning, Mount Louisa:
Hyundai stolen during break-in to a home
"Vigilantes" in a Holden Statesman begin
following the stolen Hyundai "at speed"
Friday 9.50pm, Thuringowa Central:
The Hyundai and the Statesman collide, forcing
the Statesman on to the wrong side of the road,
colliding into Jennifer Board's motorcycle
Friday 11pm, Garbutt:
Stolen Hyundai located at Chandler St
Scammers claiming to be family of Ms Board
set up a 'gogetfunding.com' account to raise
money for her funeral
The Palaszczuk government promises to get
tough on youth justice laws
Jennifer Board's Currajong home is broken into
Originally published as Tears and torture for family after 'preventable' loss of 'beautiful' Jennifer