A total of five teenagers have now been arrested in relation to a brutal alleged stabbing death of a 70-year-old grandmother at a suburban shopping centre.
The Ipswich community has rallied to remember “selfless” grandmother Vyleen White, who was allegedly stabbed in the chest in the underground carpark of Town Square Redbank Plains Shopping Centre, west of Brisbane, about 6.10pm on Saturday.
Police have revealed the alleged motive.
Detective Acting Superintendent Heath McQueen said on Monday afternoon the police did not believe the alleged attack was “gang-related”.
“Sadly the motive was to steal a Hyundai Getz,” he said.
“This is senseless violence so I don’t think there is any suggestion at all she has fought back.
“She was taking her granddaughter to the shops.”
On Monday, Queensland Police said five boys had arrested.
“Three 16-year-old boys and one 15-year-old boy have been arrested in Ipswich today and are currently assisting police with inquiries,” they said in a statement.
“These arrests are in addition to the arrest of a 15-year-old Ripley boy overnight.”
The Ripley boy presented to Ipswich Police Station on Sunday night. He’s
The been charged with one count of unlawful use of a motor vehicle in relation to the alleged stolen car.
Ipswich council candidate Josh Addison organised a twilight vigil on Sunday and paid tribute to the former religious instruction teacher, vowing to ensure her death will not be in “vain”.
“She was a beloved grandmother, a loving wife and an adored mother – she loved and contributed to her community and Vyleen was an incredible woman of God and she was selfless, we will not let that memory fade,” Mr Addison said in a post to Facebook.
“Her death will also not be in vain, while this tragedy has taken the life of a beautiful woman with a beautiful soul from our community, it’s not the first but we need to make sure it is the last.
Ms White’s vehicle – a blue 2009 Hyundai Getz – was taken after was killed.
Police released CCTV footage of four young men running from the vehicle in nearby Springfield Lakes.
Anyone who was in the Redbank Plains and Springfield Lakes areas between 6pm and 7pm on Saturday who may have seen the vehicle, people of interest or have relevant dashcam footage, is urged to contact police.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Ms White’s family with funeral and “life” expenses.
The page, which has received more than 250 donations and raised more than $11,600 on Monday afternoon, said the family wanted Ms White to be remembered as more than the tragic way her life was taken.
“She was a selfless woman with so much care for her family and any one she came into contact with,” the page read.
“She would hold prayers for anyone who needed them in the moment of need. She would do this even (on) the day of her passing.
“This is what they (her family) want her to be remembered by and not defined by the act of someone else.”
Nearly 2000 people have signed a petition to implement regular police controls in Redbank Plains Town Square after what the petition organiser said was not an “isolated” attack.
“It (Ms White’s murder) adds to a growing list of assaults, thefts and abuse that have been plaguing our community,” petition organiser Tayla Jefferson said.
“We no longer feel safe going to the shops or simply enjoying the public spaced in our own neighbourhood.
Ms Jefferson said there had been an “alarming increase in crime rates” in the area in recent years, with incidents ranging from property crimes to theft and vandalism.
“The lack of regular police presence at Town Square has us feeling vulnerable and fearful for our safety,” she said.
Ms Jefferson also called for the centre’s management to install additional CCTV cameras in the shopping precinct and the underground carpark.
Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the attack was “absolutely devastating” and “difficult to process”.
“To think of the life lost but also the horrendous way that this happened – this was devastating news,” he told the ABC on Monday morning.
“We want people to be safe in communities. We want people to be safe in our shopping centres. We want them to be able to shop, knowing that they can be safe and secure.
“And so, for all of these reasons, I found it just a horrendous story. Very difficult to process.”
Ms White’s daughter Danice White told the Courier Mail that the family was shaken by the horrific attack.
“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.”