On December 13, 2019, Brett and Belinda Beasley’s lives were turned upside-down forever.
That Friday night they received what Ms Beasley called “the most devastating news” any family could hear: their son Jack, 17, was dead.
Barely two weeks before Christmas, Jack was enjoying a night out with his friends when they were suddenly accosted by a group of five teenagers in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.
One of the teens was armed with a knife.
Both groups eventually began to trade blows before one of the boys, 15, produced the knife and fatally stabbed Jack in the chest.
One of Jack’s friends was also stabbed, suffering a punctured lung.
The horrific killing shocked the Gold Coast, leading to simultaneous outpourings of grief over the beloved 17-year-old’s death and a heightened sense of fear in the community.
It initiated a major crackdown on knife crime in the Glitter Strip, as police began using handheld metal detectors to pick up hundreds of weapons – knives, tomahawks, knuckledusters and more – that were being concealed by people.
More than two years on, all of Jack’s killers have learned their fates.
Three were acquitted on charges of manslaughter in a judge-only trial back in May.
On August 5, the two main culprits fronted Brisbane Supreme Court.
One man, who was only 15 when he fatally stabbed Jack, received a 10 year jail term on charges of murder and malicious act with intent. He has to serve 70 per cent of his sentence.
The other, at the time 17, received a seven year jail term on charges of manslaughter and grievous bodily harm.
While he has to serve 50 per cent of the term, he will be eligible for parole in a year with time already served.
Meanwhile, the devastated Beasleys will never watch their son grow up, have children and start a family.
During the sentencing, Jack’s mother Belinda held back tears as she revealed the living nightmare she and her husband have to live with every day in the absence of their beautiful boy.
BELINDA BEASLEY’S FULL VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT
“On Friday the 13th of December, 2019, we received the most devastating news that our family could get: that our beautiful 17-year-old son Jack had been killed at the hands of another.
You have taken away Jack’s life and ruined so many others from your choices that you made that night, and for what?
That is a question we will always ask.
It was so senseless, and in that one moment you’ve destroyed so many people’s lives.
Jack was a son, a brother, a grandson and a great-grandson, a nephew, a cousin and a friend to many.
Jack was cheeky, fun-loving and an easygoing kid that loved life, his family and friends so much.
Jack was kind, so very loyal, protective, compassionate, hardworking and so much more.
We constantly think of Jack’s last moments that day, it’s something that will never leave our minds.
Seeing Jack’s lifeless body, touching him and feeling how cold he was, feeling the stitches all over his body. This is something that imprinted in our minds and will haunt us for the rest of our lives.
One thing that I cannot get out of my mind is when I arrived at the hospital hearing the words that they had been performing CPR on Jack from the scene in Surfers Paradise to the hospital, and he was rushed up to surgery.
Every time I hear a siren or see an ambulance I go right back to that night you destroyed our lives and took our beautiful boy’s life.
You ran away like cowards and left Jack and Ariki to die on the path with not a care in the world. What sort of people are you?
I’ve had a few dreams about Jack – they are all so real. I see his beautiful face with a smile, I hear his voice and his laugh, and he gives me the biggest hug.
But when I wake up I realise that it’s not real and we’re still living in a nightmare, we will until the day we die.
This is our life: a living nightmare.
All we have are memories of our beautiful boy, we don’t get to see his gorgeous smile, hear his infectious laugh, watch him grow up, finish his apprenticeship, have kids, travel and so much more. You took this away from Jack.
The memories we do have should be filled with happiness, but are now filled with sadness because Jack is gone and we are never going to make any more of those memories.
Brett and I will never be the same, we struggle on a daily basis to function.
I see the constant pain in Jack’s big brother’s eyes and what you have taken from him, watching him struggle knowing we can’t bring Jack back and fix it for him, this just breaks our hearts even more.
As brothers, they were close and had so many plans together.
The pain you have brought to our family is indescribable. You didn’t just kill Jack that day, you killed our entire family, and we’re all just surviving.
Every day we wake up is a constant reminder of what Jack is missing out on and what you have taken from us.
The things you have taken from our family are inconceivable and I truly hope one day you understand the ramifications of what you’ve done to Jack and so many other people.
There is a trail of victims – myself, Brett and Mitch and our entire family, our friends, Jack’s friends who were there that night and the trauma you have caused them and their families is life-changing and unforgivable.
Jack’s friends that weren’t there that night, they have lost someone so close to them and suffered as well.
The strangers that tried to save Jack and Ariki that night. Witnesses that saw everything, including children. First responders. And the list just keeps on going on.
Imagine a loved one of yours being taken from you in a senseless act of violence: this is our life for the rest of our life.
To lose a child in the way we lost Jack altered our lives forever, as the pain never goes away and will be with us until the day we take our last breath.
You will get to turn 18, 21 and all those milestone birthdays, get married, have kids, go on holidays with your families – you have robbed Jack of all this and destroyed our family.
Your actions on that night and being a juvenile is no excuse: everyone knows right from wrong. Your choices that night took our beautiful boy’s life and that is unforgivable.
I hope you are reminded constantly of the complete devastation that you’ve caused our family, Jack’s friends and of the innocent life you took or had part in taking.”