The West

Family raise awareness of alcohol abuse
Maria and Charmaine Lawton say they do not want the driver who hit and killed their son and brother, Laurie, to feel responsible.

The family of a Kwinana man killed after he was hit by a car has told its driver, ‘‘We don’t blame you’’.

Laurie Lawton died on Rockingham Road last Thursday, after the 44-year-old staggered in front of a car while drunk.

Police have said his death was not suspicious.

His sister, Michelle, said the Lawton family did not blame the driver.

‘‘We feel for him and want him to put this past him — he’s not to feel any guilt,’’ she said.

‘‘He’s not held responsible, it’s not going to be very easy for him after witnessing that.’’

Laurie’s mother Maria Lawton said she felt ‘‘very grateful’’ the driver stopped to check on her son’s condition.

His younger sister, Charmaine, said the event was difficult for everyone involved.

‘‘We aren’t putting the person at blame, if anything we’re more worried about their wellbeing too because they’re traumatised, they’re feeling it too,’’ she said.

Michelle said she hoped her brother’s death would help people abusing alcohol realise their actions had consequences for everyone.

‘‘They really believe they’re just hurting themselves, Laurie drank every day, we just don’t want it to happen to anybody else,’’ she said.

Laurie, or ‘‘Lozza’’ as he was commonly known, was a familiar figure around Kwinana.

‘‘He was ‘Mr Makes You Laugh’—there wouldn’t be a day where he wouldn’t be at the Hub in Kwinana, unless he was banned but they’d let him back,’’ Michelle said.

‘‘He was the town character—he loved talking and greeting people in the Hub, everyone knew him.’’

Mr Lawton’s life changed dramatically when he was the victim of a hit-and-run at Orelia Avenue just one month short of his 21st birthday in September, 1989.

Paramedics inserted a trachea to save his life.

He was forced into intensive rehabilitation at Shenton Park, and had to quit his job as a factory hand.

‘‘His employer held his job for a few years at Dunlop Bedding in O’Connor but he kept passing out,’’ Mrs Lawton said.

‘‘Because he couldn’t work, his drinking got worse and that’s why he started walking around the town, and people would just know him.’’

Michelle said the hit-and-run changed her brother’s life.

‘‘He tried to do part-time work, but because of the lack of air, he would pass out—he was a trier and wanted to do it, but he just couldn’t,’’ she said.

Mrs Lawton said her son had a close relationship with family — and a big heart.

‘‘Laurie was a very kind-hearted person, he put a roof over so many homeless people from Alma Street,’’ she said.

His sisters said Laurie had opened up his home to help

out disadvantaged people.

‘‘People did rip him off and wreck his house but he didn’t care—he did what he wanted to do and he did it out of the goodness of his heart,’’ Charmaine said.

People will be able to pay their respects to Mr Lawton at St Vincent’s Catholic Church in Parmelia from 11.30am to 12.30pm on Thursday, a funeral service will follow.

His burial will take place at the East Rockingham Pioneer Cemetery at 2.15pm — refreshments will be available for all at St Vincent’s following the burial.

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