Grieving mum lives in hope

Grieving mother Kerry Biggs has every right to feel the anguish that has consumed her every day since the life of her son Tauri Litchfield was cut short by a random act of violence.

But amid the pain, Ms Biggs hopes the indescribable loss caused by her son's killing at the hands of four Perth teenagers will lead to some good.

In a remarkable display of measure, Ms Biggs also says she does not believe tougher sentences are the solution in the effort to stem violent crime.

Three of those found guilty of manslaughter over the death of Mr Litchfield were sentenced last week to 4½ years detention, while the ringleader in the attack was sentenced to 5½ years.

The teenagers, who were acquitted of the more serious charges of murder after a Children's Court trial, came across the sailmaker as he walked home from St Patrick's Day celebrations in Mandurah last year.

The chance encounter culminated in Mr Litchfield being punched to the ground by the ringleader and chased by the group, falling over a ledge and dying after striking his head.

The 28-year-old's devastated family have set up the Tauri Litchfield Memorial Trust in support of the Reach Foundation, which provides early intervention for young people.

Ms Biggs said she was not upset at the manslaughter verdicts and it was the outcome that had been expected. She said police and prosecutors had done what they could within the system.

Ms Biggs said the system needed reviewing when considering the boys' ages and some of their previous records.

"It is a clear indication that early intervention is necessary and the role of parents needs to be taken into consideration," she said. "I don't believe that huge sentencing is the answer.

"I believe that education, early intervention, positive role models and an opportunity to gain self-belief and self-worth are the only way that we can fight this growing trend. Nothing will bring Tauri back, our loss is indescribable.

"But maybe now our family can grieve in peace and give our full attention to the trust, in conjunction with the Reach Foundation, to raise awareness of the impact of this type of random street violence on families and communities.

"This is what Tauri would want, to be able to help kids."

Donations to the Tauri Litchfield Memorial Trust can be made at any Westpac Bank to account number 569 841, BSB 033 059.

The West Australian

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