Grieving dad’s warning: ‘Kids don’t fight fair anymore’
It's 7.22pm on Friday December 13.
Jack Beasley, 17, buys a tram ticket. The apprentice has cash in his wallet and he's en route to the heart of the Gold Coast for a party with friends.
He and his mates make the now devastating decision to get off one tram stop early at Cypress Ave to get cash from an ATM.
They are approached by a group of teens and allegedly goaded.
A fight breaks out just past 8pm and Jack is stabbed, allegedly by a 15-year-old Waterford boy.
He suffers a two-inch slice to his heart.
Jack dies in theatre at hospital despite the efforts of passers by who try desperately to revive him in front of shocked tourists and families holidaying in the heart of Surfers Paradise, two weeks before Christmas.
Jack dies shortly after his tram ticket transfer period expires.
That ticket, along with his wallet, containing several crisp $5 notes, sits inside the Beasley home in a box beneath his ashes.
A year on, parents Brett and Belinda say his absence hasn't got any easier.
They've watched as Jack's friends - those who were there the night he died - turn 18 and celebrate milestones.
"You sit there and wonder where his life would go, but it's only 12 months in, but I guess in 10 years' time we'll still (be wondering). He just won't get the chance," Mr Beasley says.
A HELL ACCUSED DON'T KNOW
Five teens - now aged 18, 17, 16, 17 and 19 - have been charged with murder and acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm over Jack's death.
They will face a hearing at the end of March, just days before what would be Jack's 19th birthday, to determine whether their charges will proceed to a higher court.
Only one teen is deemed an adult in the court's eyes, but his name has been suppressed.
The Beasley family do not know the accused killer's names, or what they look like.
They have only been to one court appearance, a successful Supreme Court bail application for the adult, back in April, a day before Jack's 18th birthday.
"I often think about what I would say to (the accused)," Mrs Beasley says.
"I don't think they'll ever fathom how much they've taken from us, and I would like them to understand.
"Every single one of (the accused). I would like them to be in our shoes, just for 24 hours, and see what it's like because we live in a constant hell. Our heads constantly are all over, you put on a fake face for people.
"It just goes through your head. You think of something and you think you should remember that, and then something else comes in. (The accused) just have no idea what they have done to us and I don't think we ever deserved it."
Mrs Beasley initially wanted to stay in the background, but now talks passionately about her son and their family's campaign against knife violence through the Jack Beasley Foundation.
Tears roll down her face when thinking about what could have been of Jack's life, or details of that night.
She says she cries often, but has Jack's fingerprints tattooed on her arm so he's always with her.
Mrs Beasley doesn't like catching the train to work in Brisbane; the one her son's alleged killers would have caught to the Gold Coast, or the tram, the one her son would have caught into Surfers Paradise on December 13.
She says she gets jumpy when she comes across teens she doesn't know and the sounds of an ambulance takes her back to that night her son was killed.
"So many kids carry knives that it is the back of your mind. Whereas (prior to Jack's death) it was never in the back of my mind, ever," she says.
ANGER … AND A NEED TO BE A VOICE FOR JACK
Brett Beasley is angry.
He's angry at the laws. Angry at the juvenile justice system.
Angry at his son's accused killers, one of whom has been convicted of breaching bail on numerous occasions while on remand.
He says he needs to be a voice for Jack. He wants his name to create change like Daniel Morcombe's horrific story did.
Mr Beasley says his son wasn't a fighter. He says he would have the occasional schoolyard scrap, as kids do, but nothing more.
But for years he said he warned Jack that kids don't fight fair anymore.
"I'd say 'mate, it's not like dad's day where you'd get into a fight'," Mr Beasley says.
"The grubs pull knives on you these days and you've really got to be careful you know, because they'll pull a knife on you'.
"I said that to him several times. And exactly what I told him, happened to him.
"It breaks my heart to think what he would have been thinking when he copped that blow, if he had time to think, would he have said to himself 'f***king dad warned me about this'.
"It plays on your mind every f***king day. It doesn't go away. And you think, if he'd just got on that next tram, and didn't get on that tram.
"A couple of his mates … couldn't get on so they waited for the next tram, if Jack had been one of those kids to wait, you always think of what if. What if he didn't get off at that station?
"He wasn't supposed to get off at that train station, he was supposed to get off at the next one, but they got off early. One of his mates wanted to go get money out."
IN THE WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME
Brett and Belinda struggle watching each other, and their eldest son, Mitch, grieve.
Mitch and Jack were best mates and both loved footy.
His parents say he is really struggling but has found solace in a blue staffy named Henry, who has likened to Jack due to his cheeky nature.
"It's just the fact of how it happened and just how senseless (Jack's death) was," Mrs Beasley says.
"I don't think we'll ever get over that. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don't think I'll ever get the answers that I want, I will never get the answers as to why because I don't think we'll ever get told why."
She believes Jack won't get the "justice he deserves" because his alleged killers are juveniles.
"And they're never going to be able to tell us why, they'll just say because," she says
"Nothing is ever going to bring Jack back but I think he deserves a little bit more than what he's going to get."
MILESTONES THAT WILL NEVER ARRIVE
Jack Beasley the builder, the homeowner, the father.
Brett and Belinda Beasley, who say no parent should bury their child, will never see those milestones arrive.
Jack was in his second year of his flooring apprenticeship - a career he would have swapped for construction, like his pop, according to his dad.
He was months away from turning 18 and had even booked and paid a deposit at a Glitter Strip venue.
"He wanted to go to Japan. They (Jack and Mitch) just wanted to travel overseas. I don't know he was just always so excited about being 18 and the things that he had to do. He had such an epic future. These kids have got no idea what they've taken, they really don't. And he loved his friends, and he did, and he just loved life," Mrs Beasley said.
"He enjoyed the construction side of things. He was a hands on kid. You know how some kids are meant for school, some kids are meant for a trade. He was definitely meant for a trade.
"You wanted to see him grow up, and finish his apprenticeship, get married, have kids, travel.
"He would have made a really good dad too. He was great with little kids. He was a big kid himself."
WHAT KIDS MUST LEARN
Five out of the nine alleged Gold Coast murders in the past year involved knives, while each accused stabber was under the age of 21, according to police.
The police figures also reveal three of the five victims were also under the age of 21.
It's for this reason Mr Beasley couldn't let his son go and wanted to create a foundation to tackle knife violence as they didn't want another family to go through the same grief.
One of their main points is educating kids as young as 12 before they get to the point of carrying knives.
Their progress has been impacted by the pandemic but they aim to roll out material in schools.
"I think that's why we were so gung-ho about getting it happening because it's absolutely horrible seeing each other go through it, seeing Mitch go through it, our family, friends, Jack's friends; and no family or friends should have to go through that or lose someone that way," Mrs Beasley says
"I think kids are probably not thinking 'we're going to go out and kill someone' but you're carrying a knife and you could.
"They need to understand the facts that you don't carry a knife to start off with and if you believe you need to carry a knife for protection well you shouldn't be there."
Originally published as Grieving dad's warning: 'Kids don't fight fair anymore'