A 16-year-old boy will face court today via video link charged with the murder of the 18-year-old man in what Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said was a traumatic and “deeply distressing” incident for everyone involved.
It is alleged that a large group of young people gathered at the Weston skate park on Dillon Close at about 1:00 am on Sunday, 27 September, following a series of threats via Snapchat and social media between teenagers from Jerrabomberra and others from the Weston Creek area.
Those messages escalated to a point that they agreed to meet to fight and it’s alleged the 16-year-old used a knife to stab the victim multiple times. It is also understood both parties involved were armed with multiple weapons including knives, baseballs bats and shovels, which have been forensically examined.
“There’s a family deeply grieving the loss of their son and because we must seek justice, another family is potentially facing life-long consequences for what happened that night,” Detective Superintendent Moller said.
“This has been a tough investigation for detectives.
“It’s always very sad when young people are involved in serious crime. When police were called it was too late to make a difference and that’s shattering for us because we are here to help anyone in trouble,” Det Supt Moller said.
He made a passionate plea for young people involved in online bullying to talk about their issues instead of making threats online.
He urged young people to talk to a trusted adult or police rather than send abusive messages online.
“You need to talk to your parents or a trusted adult to understand that you can turn these devices off and that will give you an opportunity to think about what you’re going to do next,” Det Supt Moller said.
He also expected more charges to be laid against other people involved in the violent incident.
“I absolutely expect more people to be charged. They will be serious charges and that’s part of the ongoing complexity of this investigation,” he said.
Two people received stab wounds in the incident – an 18-year-old man who died at the scene, and his 16-year-old cousin who was taken to hospital.
“The police and first responders certainly did everything they could at the scene to save the 18-year-old man and it’s deeply distressing for everyone involved that they weren’t able to do that.
“The age range of those involved shows there were people that are interacting with children but also adults. It’s not unusual but it is very concerning,” Det Supt Moller said.
Det Supt Moller reiterated that it’s an offence for anyone to use technology to threaten, intimidate, harass or humiliate someone with the intent to hurt them socially, psychologically or even physically on any social networking site.
“Cyber abuse and cyberbullying can quickly intensify in scale and nature, and feel deeply personal,” he said.
“It can be hard but try not to respond or retaliate. If possible switch off your phone for a while and seek help.
“Before you block or delete the person and comments, make sure you save the evidence of what has occurred. This can help a police investigation if it’s needed.
“It may not seem like it at the time but I promise you, you won’t regret asking for help if you’re being abused or bullied online – it could save your life.”
Police would still like to speak to anyone who was involved in the fight or aware of what occurred prior to the murder.
Anyone with information that could assist police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Quote reference 6638633. Information can be provided anonymously.