australia

‘One bad decision’: Family of child killed in stolen car say online backlash adding to their agony

The sister of a 13-year-old boy who died in a stolen car that crashed in North Queensland on Wednesday says her heartbroken family is devastated by a barrage of negative social media comments aimed at them.

Bailey Pini was killed when a car he was driving rolled and caught fire at the intersection of Queens Road and King Street in Bowen.

A 14-year-old passenger was taken to Townsville University Hospital for treatment.

His sister, Troydon Pini, said she had to shut down social media after witnessing a barrage of hateful comments on posts about the incident.

“It just hurts,” she said.

“That’s the last thing a family should see at a time like this.

“The family understands bad decisions have been made, but you can’t blame them.”

a teenager cooks sausages on a barbecue and looks at the camera
Bailey Pini was from Bowen in North Queensland.(

Delivered: Troydon Pinic

)

Ms. Pini said that Bailey was a big part of their family and that he was a kid with a big heart, but he hadn’t had the easiest life for a 13-year-old boy.

“Unfortunately, when our mother [Sonia] died last year [of cervical cancer], he was just starting to spin,” she said.

“It’s like he couldn’t grieve or get over it. He became almost emotionless and blocked everything.

“He didn’t make the best decisions, but never to that extent.

a family dressed for a formal affair stands arm in arm looking at the camera
Bailey Pini (right) at his sister Troydon’s wedding to his two older brothers and his sister’s husband.(

Delivered: Troydon Pinic

)

Bailey lived in a state-run youth home for the month before his death and attended Sarina State High School, although Ms. Pini said the Bowen State High School community would feel it the most.

When he was eight, he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare condition in which the immune system attacks nerves.

“He woke up one day and couldn’t walk… leaving him in the hospital for almost a year,” said Ms. Pini.

“Mom was there by his side.

“Then he saw Mommy deteriorate…she refused very quickly.

“It was two peas in a pod. It really was them against the world.”

a young boy is sitting on a bed where his mother is lying, both looking at the camera
Bailey Pini sits with his mother, Sonia, days before she died of cervical cancer.(

Delivered: Troydon Pinic

)

Pini said the family hoped to cremate Bailey as soon as his remains could be formally identified, and buried next to his mother in Bowen.

“The only thing that gives us a kind of closure is that he is with our mother,” she said.

a white cross with Bailey Pini's name on it in front of a tree
A memorial to Bailey Pini was erected after the crash.(

Delivered: Troydon Pinic

)

Mrs. Pini said she didn’t want Bailey’s death to define him.

“I just want people to know that, I just don’t want this story, the fact that he was stupid enough to steal a car and what happened, define him,” she said.

“He had a heart of gold, but there was more to him. He was all about the outdoors, fishing, camping, football. He had a rough time, as many people have.”

‘It’s not about victim blaming’

Mackay Police District Inspector Glenn Morris said on Wednesday it is important to remember that a child has lost their life.

“Let’s not forget that,” Inspector Morris said.

“It’s not about the victim’s fault.

“There are dangerous consequences to actions, especially with motor vehicles, which are one of the most dangerous objects we have in our community.”

The Queensland Department of Child Services was contacted for comment but was unable to respond due to privacy concerns.

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