March 2, 2021

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Vigil held for pregnant couple killed by allegedly stolen car

5 min read
<p>Local residents have expressed their sadness and shock at the deaths of parents-to-be Katherine Leadbetter and her partner Matthew Field.</p>

A grief-stricken community has come together to mourn a couple hit and killed by a car while walking their dogs on Australia Day.

Parents-to-be Katherine Jane Leadbetter and her partner Matthew Philip Field died when they were struck by the car, allegedly being driven by a teenager inside a stolen 4WD.

He's since been charged with two counts of murder.

Ms Leadbetter, 31, and Mr Field, 37, were hit by the Landcruiser 4WD as it sped through a red light at Finucane Road and Vienna Road in Brisbane on Tuesday night.

The couple were expecting a child together.

Ms Leadbetter, an interior stylist, was six months pregnant at the time of the crash.

One of the couple's dogs, Frankie, went missing after the crash and was found in bushland on Wednesday. She has been taken to the vet.

The couple's other dog is in the care of family.

Overnight, members of the Alexandra Hills community came together to hold a candlelight vigil to pay their respects to the couple and their unborn child.

Flowers, toys, cards and candles have been placed at the site where the tragedy occurred, with the number of tributes steadily growing.

Locals say the victims "could have been anybody".

"She's a mother and when you're a mother you just feel that she would have been really, really scared for her baby and we're just really upset," one resident told 9News.

"I drive this intersection on a daily basis, my daughter does too, it hits home that...you know, road safety is really important," another said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also paid tribute to the three lives lost.

"My heart breaks for the families and friends," Mr Morrison said in a statement.

"These beautiful young lives gone in the blink of an eye. I cannot begin to imagine the grief their families are feeling."

Police plea

Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd cautioned against media speculation around any bail issues surrounding the accused.

"I understand that the bail issue is one that's a very worthwhile discussion to have, but unfortunately, it's not helping us that there is some reporting relating to the bail status of the offender in this case, which is actually inaccurate," Mr Codd told Today.

"As you can imagine, my job's to make sure that we shore up and put the truth and facts before the court so I think it's important right from the start that there's a lot of discussion going on with respect to bail status that is actually not accurate."

'I want answers'

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the incident as "absolutely horrific".

"Everybody's heart's breaking and I really extend my sympathies to the family of Kate and Matthew," Ms Palaszczuk told Today.

"It is an absolute tragedy. It's absolutely horrific. And things like this should never happen. And of course, like the family and the community, I want answers as to how this happened."

The premier said the government would consider changing the law further, if needed.

"The first thing is, there will be a full coronial inquiry and of course, too, this young man is now on murder charges, and there will be a full court case and there will be a thorough police investigation.

Annastacia Palasczuk

"And if there's anything more we can do to strengthen our laws, we absolutely will.

"There's a lot of answers that I want here and the community wants and the families want.

"Youth justice is a community issue as well and we all need to step up. Families need to step up. Communities need to step up, and of course, needs to do their part as well."

Teen faces court

A 17-year-old boy briefly faced court in Brisbane yesterday charged with the couple's murder.

Police allege he was driving a stolen Landcruiser 4WD when he went through a red light and ploughed into a truck at Alexandra Hills.

It's alleged the 4WD was stolen between 4pm and 5pm on Tuesday from a Cleveland house, prior to the deadly rampage.

Moments earlier, the 4WD was filmed appearing to engage in a road rage attack, deliberately colliding with a silver Hyundai at the intersection of Vienna and Finucane Roads before speeding away.

https://twitter.com/SallyGyte/status/1354269074184785920

About 15 minutes later, he allegedly lost control of the 4WD after speeding through the red light at Finucane Road and Vienna Road and collided with the truck.

The Landcruiser rolled and struck the Alexandra Hills couple as they crossed the road.

"Despite the incredible efforts of witnesses and emergency services both pedestrians died at the scene," Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said.

"The terrible tragedy has resulted in two, potentially three innocent lives being lost."

Mr Codd said witnesses and first responders are receiving support for the "incredibly catastrophic scene".

"We heard this terrific noise and we thought someone's had an accident," a witness told 9News.

"We thought it could have been us, we walk here often enough."

Police have also called on anyone who may have dashcam footage to contact police.

"Can I appeal to people to recognise that even the smallest piece of information could be vital in us building a case and understanding the circumstances that led to this tragic circumstance," Mr Codd said.

He said the families of the two victims are "devastated" by the incident and expressed his sympathies to those involved.

"Here's two people going about their innocent businesses on Australia Day, walking their dogs. They should be entitled to do that and now to have them ripped away from their families is absolutely tragic and it will weigh very, very heavily on first responders and witnesses. It shouldn't happen."

After crashing the car, police allege the 17-year-old then stole a set of keys from a nearby property and attempted to start a car in the garage.

He fled when approached by the owner of the home before being arrested by police a short time later, police allege.

https://twitter.com/JordanFabris9/status/1354241033568063489?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

He was taken to hospital for soft tissue injuries before being detained.

The boy has been charged with two counts of murder, one count of dangerous driving while intoxicated, two counts of burglary, and one count each of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and attempted unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

Police said additional charges may be laid as investigations continue and have urged anyone who witnessed the accident to come forward.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/pedestrians-killed-by-teen-driver-identified-as-pregnant-queensland-couple/f34515cc-6edf-45e8-9524-da49bcd7bec6

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