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Dead boys' mother is a victim, too

Original Source: HERALD SUN: THURSDAY 03 JUNE 2010
Susie O'Brien  From: Herald Sun  June 04, 2010 12:00AM 
WHEN I heard the little Mooroopna brothers Chase and Tyler Robinson died from a faulty heater, my blood went cold.

My heart went out to their poor mother, who is still in hospital herself.

It is impossible to imagine how hard it is going to be for Vanessa Robinson to reconstruct her life after the tragic deaths of both her sons.

And be honest, we should all acknowledge that our initial collective suspicion may be adding to her unimaginable grief.

When it was reported earlier in the week that the homicide squad was investigating the deaths, that Robinson was separated, and that the boys died in their beds at home, many people quickly reached a conclusion about what had happened.


But Vanessa Robinson is also a victim, even though the police have now eliminated her from any investigation.

The image of the boys' muddied football boots lined up near the back door of their home - never to be worn again - will now remain in my mind as an enduring symbol of those two beautiful, energetic kids.

As a community, we have to face the reality that any misguided theories in this tragedy would only be compounding the pain of the boys' remaining family members.

Perhaps only parents like Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, and Britons Kate and Gerry McCann can begin to fathom what the Mooroopna family has endured.

Lindy Chamberlain was convicted and imprisoned after the 1980 disappearance of her baby daughter Azaria during a family holiday at Uluru.

There was a clear public perception that she did not look like a grieving mother or that she didn't display enough emotion. And the fact that she was pregnant was even thought to be a play for sympathy.

It was not until 1986 that her life sentence was overturned, but she had to wait more than two years before her criminal convictions were finally overturned.

The case exposed not only severe shortcomings in the legal process, but also the public danger of jumping too quickly to conclusions.

Kate and Gerry McCann are the parents of Madeleine, who went missing just before her fourth birthday during a 2007 family holiday in Portugal.

Although the pair have done everything imaginable to find their daughter across two continents, they've also had to defend themselves to police and the public.

We still don't know what happened to Madeleine, but the reaction to the deaths of Chase and Tyler should serve as a warning to us all. Our views must be well founded and based on fact, not mere supposition.

Maybe we need to be a little less quick to judge others.

And I think we all have a responsibility to do whatever we can to help Vanessa Robinson try to put her life back together.

Let's hope we can all be as quick to give support as we were to draw our own conclusions.


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