Driver with 9 kids charged over NT death

Greg Roberts

A man who was driving a ute towing a caravan had nine children with him when an eight-year-old boy fell out of the caravan and died, say police.

The 31-year-old man from Katherine in the Northern Territory has been charged with driving a motor vehicle causing death after being interviewed by detectives.

He had taken nine boys and girls aged five to 14 from several different families he was friends with, for a drive north of the Top End town on Sunday.

The ute was on Edith Farms Road 30km north when, "for reasons we are yet to determine", the boy, Brettson Payne, has fallen from the caravan on to the road, Major Crash Investigation Unit Detective Senior Sergeant Brendan Lindner told reporters.

The boy was badly injured and was pronounced dead at Katherine Hospital.

A fundraiser set up to support the family had raised more than $8000 on the GoFundMe site on Tuesday.

"The family of Brettson Payne have suffered a loss beyond words with the sudden tragic passing of our beautiful little man on 14 June 2020," family member Brett Payne said.

"Our hearts are breaking for our son and brother. We are comforted by the great warmth and generosity of family and the Katherine community.

"He was a warm and cheeky spirit who loved life and family, was devoted to fishing and loved his sport and starry nights."

There were four children illegally travelling unrestrained in the white Roma caravan and five children in the white Mazda utility, Sen-Sgt Lindner said.

"The fact that the children were not properly restrained is why this tragic death has occurred," he said.

"Please ensure you restrain your passengers, particularly kids, we don't want to deal with another unnecessary child fatality, this will have major long-lasting effects."

More charges are likely to be laid and the man will appear in the Katherine Local Court on August 10.