Tragic affinity with Hunter murder toll

Today Melissa’s photo and story again featured on the pages of The Newcastle Herald, linked by a tragic affinity to an ongoing toll of violent murders of women.

This is because I agreed hurriedly to make a few comments on the issue of the long list of murders in the Hunter region.

Our family has long wondered if Melissa’s murder 25 years ago was linked directly to any others but, of course, more broadly it is.

Whenever a person or persons think another life is worthless and to be discarded we are all diminished. But the suffering of the one who loses their life and that of their family, should never be used to push any kind of agenda.

What I said

When interviewed somewhat hurriedly, yesterday afternoon, without any time to prepare, my main motive was to be true to a promise I made earlier this year that I would use every opportunity to remind the public of Melissa’s story.

I was also grateful to the previous publicity we had received.

And finally I was distressed by the spate of murders and in particular the recent murder of Danielle Easey which seemed so reminiscent.

I did make comments something along the lines of those quoted in the Newcastle Herald and I stand by those statements.

I also said that while education is important to instill values of respect, murder is often complex and may be associated with organised crime, drugs, and other issues which require law and order, justice and other responses from society.

I finished by saying that as Christians, our family had been taught to value equally every single life, to treat people with kindness and generosity and I should say, love.

We couldn’t keep Melissa under this mantle of grace but we can all work together to hold back evil, lay aside hate, take responsibility for our actions, bear the burdens of others, and never, ever resort to violence as an answer.

If you have a problem with violent behaviour, seek help. If you are caught up with crime, get out. If you know anything but any murder, please come forward.

Peter Hallett

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