ANGRY: Tom was stabbed in the chest last year and died on the surgeon's table. Now him and his mum, Jasmine, are moving after his attacker was released after just 14 months. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
ANGRY: Tom was stabbed in the chest last year and died on the surgeon's table. Now him and his mum, Jasmine, are moving after his attacker was released after just 14 months. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

'My son was dead for 10 minutes': Mum’s justice fight

AS A surgeon's hands manually pumped her son's heart, Jasmine, a nurse, couldn't allow herself to think the worst.

Her son, Tom, then 17, had been at the Sunshine Coast Show with friends, when the unthinkable happened on June 15 last year.

What was meant to be a fist fight, her son's first ever, to settle a long-running dispute with a bully, ended with her son dying on an operating table.

His heart had stopped for more than 10 minutes.

The other teenager Tom was set to fight pulled a knife, slashed his hand open and then stabbed him in the chest at Nambour train station.

CCTV footage, which police deemed too graphic to release, showed Tom's blood spraying from his chest.

The knife had severed his mammary artery.

Tom was stabbed in the chest last year and died on the surgeon's table. Dan Purdie MP is pushing for changes in Parliament for tougher laws. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Tom was stabbed in the chest last year and died on the surgeon's table. Dan Purdie MP is pushing for changes in Parliament for tougher laws. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

Surgeons used 34 bags of blood in total to save Tom's life.

The next five days he spent in an induced coma, after being flown to Brisbane.

Jasmine didn't know if her son would survive, with blood clots in his legs and chest.

"It (blood) was spraying out of his body (after the attack)," Jasmine recalled.

"When I went and saw him he was grey.

"He would've died (without the efforts of medical teams).

"All I could say (while waiting outside the emergency room) was 'you've got this, you've got this'."

Tom has a 5cm scar on his chest, and another running from one side of his rib cage to the other, where surgeons cut him open to reattach the severed artery and save his life.

A friend had put a backpack on Tom's chest and sat on it after the stabbing, in a bid to slow the bleeding.

He was on blood thinners for more than six months as he recovered.

"It's been horrendous," Jasmine said. "Everything's been put on hold.

"When he first came out (of hospital) he didn't even want to go to the front door of the house."

Nambour train station and underpass. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Nambour train station and underpass. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

She said her son had lost trust in people and after a decade living on the Coast, they were now packing up and moving away to give Tom a fresh start.

"He can't grow and be the person he should be here," Jasmine said.

"He's fearful to get a job now."

Jasmine's partner has found a new home for them and they were set to move shortly.

She was disillusioned with the youth justice system, after giving a victim impact statement on Friday, only to see her son's attacker released on Monday, having served 14 months in youth detention, half of the 28-months' detention he was sentenced to.

Tom's attacker had faced six charges that included unlawful wounding, acts intending to cause grievous bodily harm, possession of knife, possession of utensils and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

"Apparently he did well in juvey (juvenile detention) and wrote an apology letter," Jasmine said.

Nambour train station and underpass. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Nambour train station and underpass. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

She said her son's attacker now had government accommodation and a youth worker, to help his rehabilitation, while her son was still waiting to learn whether he'd receive any victims' assistance.

"No one's offered help," she said.

She said her son had been turned away from a mental health centre, as they deemed it to be too traumatic for him to talk about.

Instead she'd had to fork out for private psychology.

"There's no assistance at the moment," she said.

"I want to see justice changed. I want to see justice for the victims and their families.

"How is 14 months justice for nearly killing someone?

"It just made me feel that our lives are worth nothing, that our lives don't matter."

New laws passed on Thursday night to keep young people out of watch houses have sparked concerns from a former child protection investigator.

Ninderry MP Dan Purdie, in a speech to Parliament on Thursday, said he feared the amendments in the Bill would transfer the problems from Youth Justice to police.

He feared the Bill would "cripple" the way local child protection detectives diverted children from the justice system.

Nambour train station and underpass. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Nambour train station and underpass. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

He said the policy objectives of the Bill were about keeping juvenile offenders out of custody, and getting them back on the streets, rather than addressing the real issue of stopping young criminals from committing crimes.

Minister for Youth Di Farmer welcomed the passing of the laws, which she said delivered on a commitment that children and young people weren't detained in police watch houses, other than for normal arrests and processing.

She said the legislation removed barriers that contributed to children being refused bail, or breaching bail conditions, or remaining in detention on remand for an extended period, including in watch houses.

"When it is safe to do so, we want children out of detention, especially when they have not yet been convicted of an offence," Ms Farmer said.

Minister for Child Safety Di Farmer.
Minister for Child Safety Di Farmer.

"Currently, some children are held on remand because they don't have a safe home or appropriate supervision and support, not because they pose a risk to community safety."

Mr Purdie used Tom's case as one example in his speech.

He said the offender had been "well known to police" with over 50 previous hits on his record.

"I can tell you, Mr Deputy Speaker, Tom and his Mum don't feel secure and they - like most of my constituents, and I dare say most Queenslanders - have lost confidence in this government to keep them safe," Mr Purdie said.

The Bill was expected to take full effect at the end of this year.

Jasmine and Tom's names were changed for legal reasons.



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