Australia Online backlash shatters Bailey Pini's family after Bowen stolen car crash

10:01  11 june  2021
10:01  11 june  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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a person wearing a blue hat: North Queensland teenager Bailey Pini died after the car he was driving rolled. (Supplied: Troydon Pini) © Provided by ABC NEWS North Queensland teenager Bailey Pini died after the car he was driving rolled. (Supplied: Troydon Pini)

The sister of a 13-year-old boy killed in a stolen car that crashed in North Queensland on Wednesday says her heartbroken family is devastated at a barrage of negative social media comments aimed at them.

Bailey Pini was killed when a car he was driving rolled and caught fire at the intersection of Queens Road and King Street in Bowen.

A 14-year-old passenger was taken to the Townsville University Hospital for treatment.

His sister, Troydon Pini, said she had to turn off social media after witnessing a barrage of hateful comments on posts about the incident.

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"It just hurts," she said.

"I got to the point I couldn't even look at social media because there was so much negativity when our whole family's hearts are bleeding.

"That's the last thing a family at a time like this needs to see.

"The family understands that bad decisions have happened, but you can't blame them."

Ms Pini said Bailey was a massive part of their family and he was a kid with a big heart, but he had not had the easiest of lives for a 13-year-old boy.

"Unfortunately, when our mum [Sonia] passed away last year [of cervical cancer], he just started to spiral," she said.

"It's like he couldn't grieve or get over it. He became almost emotionless and blocked everything.

"He was making not the greatest of decisions, but nothing to this extent ever.

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"We never would have thought he would have gone to the extent of stealing a car or doing something silly like that, but yeah."

Bailey had been living in a state-run youth halfway house in the month leading up to his death and had been attending Sarina State High School, though Ms Pini said it was the Bowen State High School community that would feel this the most.

When he was eight, he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare condition where the immune system attacks the nerves.

"He woke up one day and couldn't walk … that hospitalised him for almost a year," Ms Pini said.

"Mum was there by his side.

"Then he watched Mum decline … she declined very fast.

"They were two peas in a pod, it was them against the world really."

Ms Pini said the family hoped to cremate Bailey, once his remains could be formally identified, and buried alongside his mother in Bowen.

"The only thing that gives us some sort of closure is he's with our mum," she said.

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"I hope that they're together."

Ms Pini said she did not want Bailey's death to define him.

"I really just want people to know that, I just don't want this story, the fact that he was silly enough to steal a car, and what has happened, to define him," she said.

"Unfortunately, one bad decision, he didn't have the opportunity to learn from his mistake. It took his life.

"He had a heart of gold but there was more to him. He was all about the outdoors, fishing, camping, football. He has had it tough, like a lot of people have."

'It's not about victim-blaming'

Mackay Police District Inspector Glenn Morris said on Wednesday it was important to remember a child had lost their life.

"Let's not forget that," Inspector Morris said.

"It's not about victim-blaming.

"There are dangerous consequences to actions particularly with motor vehicles, which are one the most dangerous objects we have in our community."

The Queensland Department of Child Services was contacted for comment, but they could not respond due to privacy reasons.

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