Tara’s parents’ heartfelt plea: ‘When will this stop?’
THE parents of murdered Gold Coast mum Tara Brown, who was slain by her controlling bikie ex, have called for a Royal Commission into domestic violence after a Brisbane father burnt his estranged wife and their three young children to death.
Natalie Hinton and Jonny Gardner say it should not take another "horrific, unthought of, monstrous act" on a suburban street to force politicians to fund support services for terrified women and put more police on the ground to enforce DV orders.
Tara was killed by her Bandido bikie ex-boyfriend Lionel Patea in 2015 when he ran her off the road and beat her to death with a fire hydrant cover as she lay trapped in the wreckage.
The 24-year-old was in hiding and had taken out a DV order against the man before she was killed.
Patea is serving two life sentences - one for Tara's killing and for another murder of Gold Coast father Greg Dufty.
Tara's senseless murder bares glaring similarities to the horrific scene that unfolded in Camp Hill on Wednesday where Brisbane mum Hannah Clarke and her three children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, were burnt alive in car fire, which was deliberately lit by her estranged husband Rowan Baxter.
He stabbed himself in the chest and also died at the scene after trying to stop neighbours helping Ms Clarke and the children who were on fire.
"I wish that I thought at the time Tara was killed something like this would never happen again, but I knew it would," Ms Hinton told The Courier-Mail.
"I think the public outcry, once again nearly five years after Tara's death, is because it was such a public display like Tara's murder. It was in a suburban street. It was horrific, unthought of, monstrous act.
"But, is that what it takes? Does it take a murder in a suburban street to bring domestic violence to the forefront again, for us to all stop and throw our hands up in the air and go: 'What the hell is happening?'"
Tara's stepfather Mr Gardner said women die every day at the hands of their partners that do not make headlines because they are "behind closed doors".
The pair, who began the charity The Tara Brown Foundation after Tara's death, say more police are needed on the ground to enforce DV orders.
Tara's parents say they feel let down by politicians, who pledged to do more.
"We don't want to bash the police because they do a great job but I want to bash the Premier and the State Government because they just don't give the resources to police to be able to do it (respond to DV). They need more police on the ground," Mr Gardner said, adding that women contact the Foundation saying police don't give their pleas for help priority.
"We know there are not many police on the ground and they're probably saying: 'Look we've got bigger fish to fry'. But this is big fish now. It has been for a very long time but it's being ignored," Ms Hinton said.
She called for a Royal Commission into domestic violence in Australia.
"I can't take any more. I don't want to hear this week, after week. And it is week, after week, after week. Numbers haven't come down. We are still at one death a week (from DV) and it's been at one a week since Tara's death," Ms Hinton said.
"It needs an overhaul. We need all these domestic violence groups and communities to come together and say: 'This is what works, this is what doesn't'. We need them to say what they need in place and what needs to be changed.
"I'm frustrated. Totally frustrated. It gets to that point when you think, what more can you do?
"We can do more but we need the nation behind us."
Mr Gardner said the "stigma" around domestic violence killings also needed to change.
"If Rowan Baxter had murdered a family randomly on the street people would be saying: 'This guy is a mass murderer' but because it's DV it seems to be put in a special DV box that we can accept or at least try to accept and that is wrong," he said.
Tara's parents also said more support was needed for existing DV services to help women move on from refuges.
"That was a big thing for Tara, she sourced that escape, she had the help from DV Connect and she was put into a refuge but that's the full stop. She didn't know what to do next. Just having someone there to support her would have made a big difference and quite possibility she would have still been alive now," Mr Gardner said.
Patea is serving two life sentences - one for Tara's murder and for another murder of Gold Coast father Greg Dufty.
The Tara Brown Foundation will hold a candlelit vigil on Surfers Paradise Beach from 6pm on Saturday for Hannah and her children and all victims of DV.