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Son's murder a cautionary tale for teenagers

BRINGING CHANGE: Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group’s Ross Thompson lost his son Michael in a triple homicide.
BRINGING CHANGE: Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group’s Ross Thompson lost his son Michael in a triple homicide. Jake Jones

A TRAGIC tale of loss and violence underpins the role of Ross Thompson as general manager of the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group.

This week Mr Thompson spoke to students from across the region to spread his sobering anti-violence message.

In 2005, the life of his son Michael was horrifically stolen in what would be dubbed the Toowoomba Triple Homicide.

Michael's story is recounted at each presentation to young people across the state - eliciting shock and disbelief in every audience.

>> Homicide victims' families make emotional plea

The last six hours of Michael's life were spent being tortured, with unspeakable crimes taking place around him.

Mr Thompson speaks each time of the devastating ripple effect caused by severe acts of violence such as the one that tore his family apart.

"It is horrific the impact it can have," he said.

"Our ethos is to educate the community at a young age. You can see the anti-violence campaign working. The aim is to break down barriers and by the end of the presentation, you can feel the difference in the room."

While strength and fortitude personify Mr Thompson's presentation, it is vividly clear the emotional toll his son's murder has had in the nine years since his passing.

He is definite in saying he has not forgiven his son's murderers, and believes them to be "the most evil people in the world".

With every captive audience, Mr Thompson is counteracting the negative ripple effect of which he speaks.

"Since 2000, over 90 people have lost their lives because of one punch," he said.

"We are trying to demonstrate that one act of violence can affect

hundreds, even thousands, for many, many years. Real heroes walk away."

ONE PUNCH TOO MANY - THE STATISTICS THAT MATTER

One fifth of the Australian population between the ages of 12-24 have been assaulted.

Alcohol-fuelled violence costs the Australian economy $1.4 billion every year.

Over 500,000 Australian teenagers will be assaulted this year alone.

Since 2000, 90 Australian lives have been claimed by one punch.

Students heed campaign warnings

ABIGAIL Turner hopes her school mates will heed the message of the One Punch Can Kill seminars.

Abigail, 15, was among the 700 Gladstone high school students who attended the sessions over three days.

Students from across the region filled CQU auditoriums to hear the sobering ant-violence message.

The memoriams of four male and female victims were shown to the room, creating a poignant atmosphere.

"I worry about my friends, brothers and even myself," Abigail said yesterday.

"From what we've seen today, I hope everyone takes as much away as I did."

She said she hoped her generation would take the message on board.

"Unfortunately, I don't think the amount of alcohol consumption will change," Abigail said.

"But I really do hope that we can be the last generation that needs to be shown material like this.

"I hope we are smart enough to bring a change to society."

Topics:  homicide, one punch can kill, victim



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