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


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

Brutal Dawn rises from Bernard Fanning's studio

Australian musician Bernard Fanning with American record producer, engineer and mixer Nick DiDia in their Tyagarah studio.

Duo set to release follow-up to acclaimed album Civil Dusk

Meet the frockers if you're fascinated by fashion

Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway star in The Devil Wears Prada.

Join debate about how sustainable today's fast-fashion is

Local Partners

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

CONSTRUCTION has started this week at the Mercato on Byron - the new supermarket, retail and cinema complex in Jonson St.

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Joseph's biblical return to Ballina

LEADING ROLE: Award-winning actor Brian Pamphilon as Joseph.

Ballina Players upcoming production

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Here's your chance to carp about feral pests

Carp might by great fun to catch but they're destroying Australia's watercourses.

Science in the Pub looks at carp and coral trees

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!