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



GALLERY: Police raid Nimbin shop

A man will face court today on alleged drug supply charges after a raid at a Nimbin shop

Police executed a search warrant at a store on Cullen Street

She confronts her abuser after 50 years, forces a confession

SURVIVOR: Debbie McDonald was sexually abused by her stepfather almost 50 years ago.

"This is our little secret" he would tell her.

Cars toot during Lismore street protest

Hundreds march through the Lismore CBD on Saturday in support of refugees

Hundreds march in support of refugees

Local Partners

Cars toot during Lismore street protest

Motorists gave their morale suuport to a street protest about refugees on Saturday


Northern Rivers gig guide

PIRATE FLAG: The Hussy Hick's latest single is a crowd favourite that echoes a sentiment of political scepticism. Hear Pirate Flag at Tintenbar Upfront, Tintenbar Hall, tomorrow 7.30pm. $20.

What's on this week in local entertainment

Top 10 things to do this weekend

Reece Smith, Ernie Angelosanto and Shayne Smith will compete for the top of the leaderboard at this weekend's Jodie's Inspiration Golf Day.

Are you looking to get out and about over the next two days?

Teeing off to support Jodie's Inspiration

Reece Smith, Ernie Angelosanto and Shayne Smith will compete for the top of the leaderboard at this weekend's Jodie's Inspiration Golf Day.

Vie for the top of the leaderboard, if you dare

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Can rightful winner Midnight take out golden Gosling in Oscars?

Can Lion pip La La Land at the post in this year's Oscars? Sunny Pawar (pictured) helped bring a powerful film to the big screen.

WILL Aussie film Lion triumph or will popular La La Land prevail?

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Northern Rivers gig guide

PIRATE FLAG: The Hussy Hick's latest single is a crowd favourite that echoes a sentiment of political scepticism. Hear Pirate Flag at Tintenbar Upfront, Tintenbar Hall, tomorrow 7.30pm. $20.

What's on this week in local entertainment

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!