Vigilantes plan to name and shame
VIGILANTE action could be taken against youths who are believed to have driven a 62-year-old Tweed Heads West man to take his own life.
According to friends and family, Martin Grove had been targeted by the gang for years and could handle the torment no longer on December 11 when he walked to the house of the youths he believed to be behind the harassment and shot himself in their front yard.
A friend of Mr Grove’s, who refused to be named, contacted the Tweed Daily News and said vigilante action was being planned.
“We’re organising a protest walk to name and shame these kids,” he said.
The man said he was upset Tweed Heads Police seemed to be brushing over the issue.
Tweed Heads Police Superintendent Michael Kenny said the circumstances leading up to Mr Grove’s death are being investigated by detectives as a part of their report for the coroner.
“Detectives have been door knocking local residents as a part of their inquiries to gain a clearer picture about the circumstances that may have contributed to his death,” Supt Kenny said.
“Police are appealing to anyone who might have witnessed any activity out of the ordinary at his Jacaranda Avenue home in the days leading up to his death to contact them.”
Neighbours said the gang would often throw rocks at Mr Grove’s house, to disturb his sleep, cut off his power and leave faeces at his front door.
But Supt Kenny said only two incidents were ever reported to police.
“A search of our records has revealed a break and enter and a malicious damage connected to his premises in 1998 and a malicious damage there in October 2009.
“Other alleged incidents at the property only came to our notice after his death.”
Supt Kenny encouraged all residents to report any incident to police through Crime Stoppers, the Police Assistance Line or the Tweed Police Station.
Supt Kenny said parents concerned about their children’s welfare should contact services such as Kids Helpline, LifeLine or Beyond Blue.
“Counselling was organised for those juveniles who were in the area at the time of his death.”
Tweed MP Geoff Provest has called for more action in regards to Mr Grove’s death.
“I have a little fear of any copycat of it because of the large number of elderly people,” Mr Provest said.
“It (youth crime) has been a major issue for a number of years now.”
Mr Provest said a multi-pronged approach was needed, including greater police presence and more youth outreach services.
“A small per cent of youth in the Tweed show no respect for other people or their community.
“I think it’s time for parents and carers to step up.”
A prepared police statement said police have a number of options when dealing with young people who commit criminal offences, including warnings, cautions, conferencing and criminal charges.
“Regardless of a person’s age criminal acts will not be tolerated,” the statement said.
It revealed in the past 12 months, Tweed Byron police took 1245 legal action against young people for offences ranging from assault to public mischief.
Minister for Police Michael Daley said: “I’ve asked for a full briefing on this matter. However as police are currently preparing a report for the Coroner in relation to this matter, it would be inappropriate to comment.”
A spokesperson from the NSW Police Association declined to comment on the matter and said it was probably best suited to New South Wales Police.Where to get help
Lifeline Australia has a 24-hour telephone counselling service for people who feel they, or someone they know, are at risk of suicide. The line is also for people who are trying to come to terms with a death from suicide. Phone 13 11 14, for the cost of a local call.