News

Alex's death not in vain

The funeral of Alex Wildman in Lismore 2008.
The funeral of Alex Wildman in Lismore 2008. Jacklyn Wagner

NOTHING can bring back Justine Kelly's son, Alex Wildman, who committed suicide at their Goonellabah home in 2008 after being the victim of bullying at school.

But Friday brought some closure for the family.

Ms Kelly and her husband, Bill Kelly, had planned to take civil action against the NSW Department of Education over the death of their son.

But on Friday the Downing District Court in Sydney heard the matter had been resolved.

The family's solicitor, Greg Walsh, told The Northern Star the department had agreed to a settlement, which involves paying a six-figure sum - possibly close to $1 million - to Alex's family.

It is understood the money will be put into trust account for the two youngest children to access once they turn 18.

Mr Walsh said it had been an emotional time for the whole family.

"Justine, Bill, Josie, Elizabeth and Nathan are just relieved that everything has been settled; it's all over now," he said.

"Alex's siblings need ongoing counselling and support.

"This is something which had the potential to cause terrible harm to the family.

"I am mortified that we had to do this; that we had to take on the Department of Education.

"But we did and we won.

"The family now feels vindicated and will now have the financial help they need into the future.

"You should see their faces. They are so relieved that it's all over."

In July 2008, Justine Kelly found her 14-year-old son dead in the garage of their Goonellabah home.

Allegations emerged that Alex was subjected to relentless school bullying before his death.

Deputy State Coroner Malcolm McPherson held an inquest into Alex's death in 2009 and found bullying by his fellow students at Kadina High School had contributed to his suicide.

Friday's settlement came on the same day as the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.

Mr Walsh said Alex would have been proud of his family.

"He would have been proud because the message is out there now that bullying will not be tolerated," he said.

"People who are being bullied must talk about it and then we won't have anymore tragedies like this."

A spokesman from the Department of Education agreed that Alex's death was a tragedy.

"The NSW Department of Education and Communities offers its condolences to Alex's family and friends," he said.

"The recommendations from the coronial inquiry into Alex Wildman's death are being implemented by the department.

"The terms of settlement in this matter make further comment inappropriate."

Support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 and Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

Topics:  bullying nsw department of education suicide



PHOTO GALLERY: Lego Brick Event, Lismore City Hall

Shaun Patrick (centre) shows patrons the Minecraft Lego display at the Lismore City Hall on Saturday.

Did we snap you at the Lego display on Saturday?

WIN a fishing trip, $5000 BCF voucher and get free stuff

Want to catch one of these big fellas!? Get your name into our competition to win the ultimate fishing holiday!

WERE running a stack of reely incredible giveaways!

Fresh calls for better broadband in regional Australia

SELF-DIAGNOSIS: More people are turning to the internet to google and diagnose their symptoms.

Medical association: 'The Government must take action'

Local Partners

Fresh calls for better broadband in regional Australia

'THE Government must take action to ensure that all Australians have access to reliable, high speed broadband': Medical association.


Celebrate our native Aussies on January 26

Davidsons plums are one of the foods native to our region. Made into a dipping sauce or marinade, they're perfect for an Australia Day barbecue. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Spice up your Australia Day celebration with some local bush tucker

What's fresh at your local farmers' market

Chillies should be available at your local farmers' market. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Chillies, figs, finger limes, eggplants are ripe for the eating

'More sick people will be jailed': Confusion over medical cannabis

There is ongoing confusion about the legalities surrounding medical cannabis.

Is it legal? Where can you get it? What are your rights?

Jennifer Aniston wants to return to TV

Jennifer Aniston is desperate to make a return to TV

Madonna hopes for election unity

Madonna hopes Donald Trump's election will "bring people together"

JK Rowling rules out Cursed Child trilogy

JK Rowling has ruled out a 'Cursed Child' movie trilogy

Buckley's chance in psychological thriller

James McAvoy and Betty Buckley in a scene from the movie Split.

Broadway veteran back on big screen with James McAvoy

Daniel MacPherson: acting’s a bit like channel surfing

Australian actor Daniel MacPherson in a scene from the American TV series APB.

THE Aussie export talks about making his mark in the US.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Lisa Marie Woodham will be giving readings in Gladstone until Saturday January 21.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Agents desperate for stock as homebuyers circle region

Coorabell houses had a whopping median sale price of $1.4 million.

Lower price ranges stand out as Coffs property best sellers

7 quirky Airbnb homes on the Northern Rivers

Broken Head Bodhi Treehouse

Stay in a shipping container or treehouse for your next holiday

Controversial Iron Gates development renamed

Raine and Horne

Peaceful, pristine and perfect is the new motto for Iron Gates

'That’s the nature of commercial reality': Lismore council

GAME CHANGER: The $13 million proposal by Quest proposal is for a three-storey complex featuring 41 serviced apartments, 53 on-site carparks, 24-hour on-site management, a gymnasium and modern guest facilities.

"It's a shame the development is no longer on the table"

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!