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Family demands justice after gran killed

A 70yo woman has been stabbed to death in front of her young granddaughter at a suburban shopping centre. Picture: NCA NewsWire
Police want to speak with four people of interest following the stabbing death of a grandmother. Picture: NCA NewsWire

A manhunt is under way after a 70-year-old grandmother was stabbed to death at a suburban shopping centre in what police have called “an abhorrent” attack.

Former religious instruction teacher Vyleen White was stabbed in the chest in the underground carpark of at Town Square Redbank Plains Shopping Centre, west of Brisbane, about 6.10pm on Saturday.

On Sunday, police released CCTV footage of four people of interest, described as “African males in appearance”, who allegedly dumped Ms White’s vehicle — blue 2009 Hyundai Getz — soon after she was killed.

“Investigators believe the four people depicted in the vision, captured from a Bruny St, Springfield Lakes address yesterday evening, may be able to assist them with their enquiries,” police said in a statement.

Anyone who was in the Redbank Plains and Springfield Lakes areas between 6pm and 7pm on Saturday, who may have seen either the vehicle or the people of interest, is urged to contact police.

Those with relevant vision, including CCTV and dashcam footage, is also asked to come forward.

“Investigations are ongoing,” police said.

Detectives from Ipswich and the Homicide Investigation Unit investigating the homicide of a 70-year-old woman at Redbank Plains overnight have released an image of a seized vehicle of interest as investigations continue. Picture: QLD Police
Detectives investigating the homicide of a 70-year-old woman at Redbank Plains have released an image of a seized vehicle of interest as investigations continue. Picture: Queensland Police

Earlier, Queensland Police Detective Acting Superintendent Heath McQueen said the stabbing appeared to be a robbery turned violent.

“Let’s be clear, this is an abhorrent, cowardly, violent attack on a 70-year-old grandmother,” he said.

“This is a very confronting scene.

“We will not stop, and I’m going to assure you that, we will continue to investigate this around the clock until we find out who has committed this offence.”

Ms White’s daughter Danice White told the Courier Mail said the family was shaken.

“I came back to her house to help her out when she brought the shopping home,” she said.

“We were going to spend the afternoon together doing a bible study.

“We are all pretty numb and shaken up, and we’ve got high blood pressure at the moment.

“I’m struggling to control my thoughts right now.”

Ms White said her mother’s faith was very important and this should never have happened to her.

“We want justice, I don’t want anyone else to ever go through this again,” she said.

“If we can’t feel safe walking around, there’s a problem.”

A 70yo woman has been stabbed to death in front of her young granddaughter at a suburban shopping centre. Picture: NCA NewsWire
A 70yo woman has been stabbed to death at a suburban shopping centre. Picture: NCA NewsWire

Family and friends have begun paying tribute to Ms White, who was described by several people as the “kindest” person.

“For those who didn’t get the privilege of knowing her, she was the kindest person with the biggest heart,” Samantha White wrote.

“She gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and showed kindness to everyone.

“Her goal in life was to show people the love of Jesus and to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

“She was our love, our protector, and the one who would hold us no matter what we were going through.

“One of her favourite things was going to the shops with my cousin. They were the bestest of friends she is the best grandmother we could have ever asked for.

“We don’t understand how anyone could have targeted such a genuine soul.”

Friends have paid tribute to Ms White. Picture: Supplied/Facebook
Friends have paid tribute to Ms White. Picture: Supplied/Facebook
Friends have described Ms White as kind. Picture: Supplied/Facebook
Friends have described Ms White as kind. Picture: Supplied/Facebook

Petra Marilyn Koehler also took to social media, posting: “My only comfort is that this is not goodbye, but see you later my beautiful friend. Come Holy Spirit. God heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. God is close to the broken hearted.”

Deborah Mc Gucken commented: “We all loved this mighty woman of God, but you were one of her closest friends ... find comfort in your many beautiful memories of this amazing woman who is now safe in the arms of our Lord.”

Florence Tonna also replied, saying: “I’m so sorry for your loss my dear friend. She was the sweetest, kindest woman of God.”

Premier Steven Miles, whose government has been under pressure over the issue of youth crime, said it was an “awful” crime.

“It is an abhorrent crime, a terribly violent crime, a crime committed,” he said.

“I know our police are working just as hard as they can to catch this perpetrator

“No doubt, no doubt the courts will take this crime as seriously as I do.

“Nobody should die the way this woman has, and our police are taking it very, very seriously … I hope they throw the book at him.”

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Queensland Premier Steven Miles has labelled the stabbing as an abhorrent crime. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the incident was “senseless and shocking”.

“Again, we wake up to a story like this and a community that is really left to pick up the pieces and time for analysis will come but today it is time to as a state for us to sincerely wish that community and that family all the best,” he said.

“It really it has rocked the area and it has rocked the state.”

Superintendent McQueen appealed to the public for help in finding the attacker.
“This is a 70-year-old grandmother. Now is the time to step up and come forward and provide us with information that we need as to who the identity of this offender is,” he said.

Superintendent McQueen said a witness had described the male offender as African in appearance.

“We can assure you that we are applying a large number of resources to this investigation this evening,” he said.

“We will continue to investigate this around the clock – we will commit all the resources we have at our disposal to locate this offender and apprehend him.”
A six-year-old girl called for help, but Ms White could not be saved despite the efforts of a local GP.

“There was no pulse. We tried some CPR, but there was nothing. A nurse came around at some point but it was too late. They didn’t give her a chance,” Ademola Afolabi said.