Moving vigil held for couple and unborn child killed by allegedly stolen car

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read

A moving vigil has been held for the Brisbane couple and their unborn child who were struck and killed by an allegedly stolen Landcruiser while they were walking their dogs.

Family and friends of Kate Leadbetter, 31, and Matthew Field, 37, were surrounded by dozens of strangers who wanted to pay tribute to the young parents-to-be following the tragedy on Australia Day.

Ms Leadbetter and Mr Field were crossing Finucane Road in Alexandra Hills when they were hit by the vehicle, which had collided with a truck and before rolling and ploughing into them.

The teenager charged with the couple鈥檚 murder could also be charged over the death of their unborn child.

People are seen consoling each other at a vigil for Kate Leadbetter, 31, and Matthew Field, 37, who were killed while walking their dogs on Australia Day, Brisbane, Wednesday, January 27, 2021. A teenager has been charged with murder after the allegedly stolen Landcruiser he was driving struck and killed the couple in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING
People are seen consoling each other at a vigil for Kate Leadbetter, 31, and Matthew Field, 37, who were killed while walking their dogs on Australia Day. Source: AAP

The 17-year-old from Logan, who cannot be identified, did not appear as the matter was mentioned briefly in the Children's Court on Wednesday and he was remanded in custody.

Police are waiting for confirmation of Ms Leadbetter's pregnancy and Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said there was provision for offences relating to the killing of unborn children.

"That is certainly something we'll be considering as part of the ongoing investigation," he said.

Police allege the 17-year-old boy ran a red light and collided with a truck at an intersection before the 4WD rolled and crashed into the couple who were crossing the road.

They both died at the scene on and it's alleged the teen fled before stealing a set of keys from a nearby house.

He was then arrested by police after being disturbed by the resident.

"Here's two people going about their business innocently on Australia Day, walking their dogs, they should be entitled to do that," Mr Codd said.

People are seen at a vigil for Kate Leadbetter, 31, and Matthew Field, 37, who were killed while walking their dogs on Australia Day, Brisbane, Wednesday, January 27, 2021. A teenager has been charged with murder after the allegedly stolen Landcruiser he was driving struck and killed the couple in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING
Dozens of strangers joined the families of Ms Leadbetter and Mr Field to pay their respects. Source: AAP

"To have them ripped away from their families is an absolute tragedy, and I can assure you it's impacted very heavily on the first responders and witnesses who faced that."

A Facebook post on a Queensland lost pets page issued an urgent call to help locate the couple's dog, Frankie, that reportedly ran from the crash scene.

It's understood Frankie has now been found and a GoFundMe campaign as been started to pay for the dog's medication as she suffers from Addison's disease.

It will be alleged the boy deliberately collided with another car at the same intersection shortly before the couple were killed.

Police believe the Landcruiser was stolen from a home in Cleveland earlier that afternoon.

The 17-year-old was charged with two counts of murder as well as offences relating to dangerous driving while under the influence of an intoxicant and burglary.

Outside court, the teen's lawyer Patrick Horgan said it had been a "very traumatic experience for everyone involved" and declined to comment further.

Mr Horgan strongly objected to media applications to be present as the matter was heard, saying it could be prejudicial to the teen's right to a fair trial.

Traffic is seen at the scene where two pedestrians walking their dog were hit and killed by a teenager driving an allegedly stolen Landcruiser on Finucane Road in Alexandra Hills in Brisbane,  Wednesday, January 27, 2021. A teenager has been charged with murder after the allegedly stolen Landcruiser he was driving struck and killed two pedestrians in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING
The couple was walking across the road with their dogs when they were struck and killed by the allegedly stolen Landcruiser. Source: AAP

His objection was overruled by magistrate Rosemary Gilbert.

"They are charges which are of an extremely serious nature," she said.

"There is in my view good reason to allow the reporting of he proceedings today."

The teen has been remanded to reappear by videolink in March.

On Wednesday evening dozens of people gathered near the crash site and laid flowers in tribute to Ms Leadbetter and Mr Field.

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