Justice for a mother
There are no words to soothe the pain of a grieving mother who has lost her child. But when that child has been murdered and a mother’s grief is compounded by the anger and frustration of being ignored by those in authority, we must find the words to speak out.
Faced with what she deems to be intolerable police inaction in investigating the murder of her daughter Sunshine, Leanette Alfred has decided to put aside her grief and take matters into her own hands by mounting her own investigation. She says she has gathered important information that she has taken to the police but remains unsatisfied with their response.
While we do not rule out the possibility that the police are diligently investigating this case and that they may be keeping matters close to the chest for good reason, there is no excuse for insensitivity in dealing with this grieving mother.
As a traumatised mother, Ms Alfred is a victim of crime, too. She deserves the respect of having her questions answered. Somebody in authority needs to make the time to sit with her and give her the dignity of being updated on the investigation into her daughter’s murder and an explanation or apology for the behaviour of the police to date.
The investigation of Sunshine Alfred’s murder is a police matter and there is the risk that by launching her own probe, Ms Alfred might be putting both herself and the investigation at risk. No self-respecting police service would want a matter as serious as murder to be conducted by private citizens. But we are not so naive as to dismiss Ms Alfred’s claim of police inaction. Far too many citizens have the same experience in dealing with the police. Indeed, by going public on the issue, this mother is not only risking the dangerous attention of her child’s murderer but also the wrath of police officers who would prefer citizens to stay silent in the face of their negligence. For all our sakes, we hope that Ms Alfred will suffer no fallout from the police for her public comment.
In the interest of protecting and doing right by this mother, we urge Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to step into this matter. If Ms Alfred’s allegation of inaction is found to be valid, he needs to light a fire under those officers who are coasting on the case. If it is not valid, someone needs to take the time to explain exactly what is happening and to stay in touch with her as the investigation progresses.
For her part, Ms Alfred should explore the option of compiling her case for the attention of the Police Complaints Authority. Above all, however, we wish her a speedy resolution of the case so that she may find peace in getting justice for her daughter.