A LABOUR OF LOVE: Leanne Jarvis, mother of Lawrence Burke who died after a brawl, in Tweed Heads.
A LABOUR OF LOVE: Leanne Jarvis, mother of Lawrence Burke who died after a brawl, in Tweed Heads. John Gass Twewalkers

Couple wear out leather chasing justice for son

IT'S grief and a desire for justice that wakes Leanne Jarvis each morning and has her reaching for her runners.

Ms Jarvis and her partner, Laurie Burke, are walking from Sydney to the Gold Coast to raise awareness of the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of their son, Lawrence, passing through the Northern Rivers this week.

Lawrence Burke died on January 7 after an attack by youths outside Woy Woy's Mantra Club. His parents, some friends and family members decided to walk the 800-plus kilometre stretch of the Pacific Hwy, dressed in blue T-shirts reading Justice for Lawrence Burke, hoping to draw attention to what they consider a miscarriage of justice.

"We feel we can't get justice for what happened that night. The police told us nobody witnessed Lawrence being hit and that CCTV footage was too grainy to use," Ms Jarvis said.

Detective Sergeant Darren Deamer of Gosford police confirmed nobody had been charged over the incident, but was unable to comment more on the case. It is expected to be the subject of a coronial inquest.

Ms Jarvis said Lawrence had Asperger's syndrome and had been bullied through his high school years. "He found it hard to make friends," she said of her 20-year-old son. "He was desperate to meet a girlfriend and new friends."

On the night of his death, Ms Jarvis accompanied her son to the Ettalong Beach Hotel. After leaving the club, Ms Jarvis and her son were attacked by a group of youths, which turned into a brawl involving about 20 people outside a nightclub.

"I was held down and attacked by a group that took my wallet and phone. I couldn't see or hear Lawrence," Ms Jarvis said.

The fight lasted about 15 minutes, before Ms Jarvis broke free and helped her son into a taxi. "Lawrence passed away in the cab," she said. An autopsy had found her son had died of heart arrhythmia. A brain bleed was also found but wasn't deemed serious enough to be the cause of death.

Mr Burke, Lawrence's father, driven by a determination to see his son remembered, has been walking until 10pm on some nights.

"My legs are killing me, but I ain't stopping," he said.



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