Family s call to end violence

Wendy and Alan Marshall are the least likely revolutionaries you will ever find.

The New Zealand couple are polite, well spoken and believe in God, love and family.

If you ask them, they say they feel blessed.

But the Marshalls have also endured unimaginable tragedy and suffering through three murder trials in the past three years after the violent deaths of their son Andy and nephew Scott.

Now, they say, enough is enough. They want the violence to stop.

Andy died when he was pushed out of the upstairs window of the Ocean Beach Hotel by bikie associate Stefan Schmidt.

A random intersection of lives found Andy talking to female acquaintances of Mr Schmidt at the Cottesloe hotel in May 2011.

Mr Schmidt was angry, having argued with a Maori friend he considered a brother.

When he saw Andy Marshall cheerfully talking to the women he snapped, telling the musician to f . . . off, before pushing out a powerful left arm.

Glass broke, Mr Marshall toppled and landed on the concrete footpath 5m below.

In 2012, Mr Schmidt was convicted of murder and jailed for 14 years.

But he appealed successfully, and was granted a retrial, which took place in front of Justice John McKechnie last week.

Mr Schmidt pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but not murder, which he denied on the basis he never intended Mr Marshall to go through the window.

As they were the first time, Wendy and Alan Marshall were there every day, reliving the horrific last moments of their son's life.

They had heard it all before but it did not make it any easier. "You are clicking in and out of two worlds almost, you feel you are listening in on someone else's story and someone else's life," Mr Marshall said. "They talk about a body going through the window - and then you realise that is your son, and this is our life.

"It is dramatic and it is hard."

It is also all too familiar.

Mrs Marshall's sister Jo is in Perth supporting her family with unwanted insight.

Cruelly, her son Scott Guy's life was ended violently by the hand of another, when he was shot at the gate of the family farm in Feilding in New Zealand.

In one of the country's highest- profile court cases in years, Mr Guy's brother-in-law Ewen Macdonald was charged with his murder but acquitted after a four-week trial. He was jailed later, after it was revealed he had killed 19 calves and vandalised a home being built by Mr Guy and his wife Kylee.

"To come here and go through another trial is compounding and bringing it all back in detail," Mrs Marshall said. "But we made a decision right at the beginning not to be bitter and twisted, because that will ruin our other children's lives as well.

"We have seen it in other families where they have carried bitterness, anger and hatred through and it goes for generations."

What the Marshalls want for future generations is an end to the random violence that has devastated their family, and so many others.

They haven't got a coloured ribbon, or a foundation or a website - just a message they hope people will remember when they see a picture of their son.

"We would like to think it is not just our message - but it is pertinent to use because of what we have experienced," Mr Marshall said. "We hate to think of other people going through what we have gone through. Anything we can do to help another family, or stop this happening to another family is really important.

"Our public places should be safe, our streets should be safe - our homes. When is enough enough, and when does it stop?"

The West Australian

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