A top cop has said his officers are angry about the death of a young couple who were hit by a car that was allegedly stolen and driven by a 17-year-old who has been charged with two counts of murder.
Kate Leadbetter, 31, and her partner Matthew Field, 37, were about to become parents for the first time when they were hit by the car while out walking their dogs in Alexandra Hills in eastern Brisbane on Australia Day.
Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said it was ‘really hard not to have an emotional connection’ to the case, revealing that his sons went to the same school as Mr Field.
‘I’m angry and my people are angry. They’re frustrated, they’re heart broken,’ Asst Comm. Codd told the Today show on Thursday.
Kate Leadbetter (right) was six months pregnant and excited to start a family with her long-term boyfriend Matty Field (left) when they were rundown and killed in Brisbane on Tuesday
‘Can you imagine going and telling a family about the loss of a loved one? It has an impact on our people.
‘All too often, people forget that we are human. These are members of my community that died.’
Youth offending, particularly on the roads, was at such a high level that it became a central issue in the recent state election campaign, with many blaming not only a lenient juvenile justice system, but also the cultural influence of movies like ‘Fast and Furious’ and games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’.
‘We’ve got people, whether they’re adults or juveniles, who think that it’s okay to hurtle down roads with 2.5-kilogram missiles at high speeds then disregard things such as red lights and not see that that compromises people lives,’ Asst Comm. Todd said.
‘We’ve got people who are raised on a diet of Fast and Furious 7 and see too much on TV, on computer games about assaults and car crashes and everybody gets up and walks away and they think that’s real. It’s not real.’
Mr Codd said the incident had been ‘tough’ on frontline workers, who are being provided with support.
Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd (pictured) said he police department and community are ‘hurting’ over what he described as a ‘preventable’ tragedy
The couple had been taking their dogs out for a walk at 5.30pm on Tuesday when they were both struck by the vehicle.
The 17-year-old from Logan, who cannot be identified, was charged with two counts of murder as well as offences relating to dangerous driving while under the influence of an intoxicant and burglary.
The teenager could also be charged over the death of an unborn child, with police waiting for confirmation of Ms Leadbetter’s pregnancy.
The 17-year-old did not appear as the matter was mentioned briefly in the Children’s Court on Wednesday and he was remanded in custody.
Mr Codd said there was provision for offences relating to the killing of unborn children.
‘That is certainly something we’ll be considering as part of the ongoing investigation,’ he said.
Police allege the 17-year-old boy ran a red light and collided with a truck at an intersection before the 4WD rolled and ploughed into the couple who were crossing the road.
Ms Leadbetter and Mr Field had been dating for more than four years and were expecting their first child
The couple’s beloved dog Frankie was missing on Tuesday night after she fled the scene but was fortunately found on Wednesday morning just before midday
They both died at the scene on Finucane Road in Alexandra Hills and it’s alleged the teen fled before stealing a set of keys from a nearby house.
He was then arrested by police after being disturbed by the resident.
‘Here’s two people going about their business innocently on Australia Day, walking their dogs, they should be entitled to do that,’ Mr Codd said.
‘To have them ripped away from their families is an absolute tragedy, and I can assure you it’s impacted very heavily on the first responders and witnesses who faced that.’
A Facebook post on a Queensland lost pets page issued an urgent call to help locate the couple’s dog, Frankie, that reportedly ran from the crash scene.
It’s understood Frankie has now been found and a GoFundMe campaign as been started to pay for the dog’s medication as she suffers from Addison’s disease.
It will be alleged the boy deliberately collided with another car at the same intersection shortly before the couple were killed.
Police believe the Landcruiser was stolen from a home in Cleveland earlier that afternoon.
Dozens of locals attended a vigil at the intersection in Alexandra Hills (pictured) to pay their respects to the young couple
Outside court, the teen’s lawyer Patrick Horgan said it had been a ‘very traumatic experience for everyone involved’ and declined to comment further.
Mr Horgan strongly objected to media applications to be present as the matter was heard, saying it could be prejudicial to the teen’s right to a fair trial.
His objection was overruled by magistrate Rosemary Gilbert.
‘They are charges which are of an extremely serious nature,’ she said.
‘There is in my view good reason to allow the reporting of he proceedings today.’
The teen has been remanded to reappear by videolink in March.
On Wednesday evening dozens of people gathered near the crash site and laid flowers in tribute to Ms Leadbetter and Mr Field.