NZ – Teenager helped boy kill himself – What can one expect from a Society whose FAMILY Law, Social Policy and the purveyors of it induce SUICIDE Daily?

 Distributed for comment to the whole **FAMILY Friendly Data-Base?** Saturday 13 Feb 2010

Original Article and pictures GO: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/3323357/Teenager-helped-boy-kill-himself

Comment – What can one expect from a Society whose FAMILY Law, Social Policy and the purveyors of it induce SUICIDE Daily?

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Teenager helped boy kill himself

By KEITH LYNCH – The Press

A mother has described the actions of a 17-year-old who assisted the suicide of her son as “indescribably cruel”.

Dillon Gargett was sentenced to eight months home detention in the High Court at Christchurch yesterday for assisting in the suicide of 16-year-old Ben Dowdell in Bradford Park, Sydenham, in September last year.

It is one of the first cases of its kind in New Zealand.

After sentencing, Dowdell’s mother, Debbi Close, described Gargett’s actions as “indescribably cruel” and said she did not believe his expressed remorse was genuine.

Legal restrictions mean The Press cannot reveal how the boy committed suicide.

“I think what he did was outrageous and cruel and I don’t believe he’s sorry. I just looked at him [in court] and felt quite sad, for his mother and his father,” Close said.

“I can’t help but be haunted by the fact that Ben probably thought he [Gargett] was going to save him.”

She said Gargett was not her son’s friend.

Close said she had been sure Dillon Gargett would get a jail term, but she was told to prepare for a home-detention sentence.

“But it wasn’t about that. Nothing – even if he got 14 years – would have brought Ben back or made me feel happier. I’m very sad for what we’ve lost,” she said yesterday from her Aidanfield home near Halswell.

Close said her son moved out of her home days after his 16th birthday in March last year.

Although her son had turned 16, he should not have been able to choose where he lived, she said.

“The day he left my care, I could see what was going to happen,” she said.

“I loved him unconditionally. He was a great kid and he was kind, but he was so tortured,” she said.

“He had voices in his head, but he’d put on a smiley face and go off to school. But it was so sad.”

She said Ben’s 16th birthday was on March 10. He left on March 17 “and I never spoke to my son again”.

“It’s like a nightmare, but it’s my life. Ben had his problems, but I was really proud to be my son’s mother and have him for the 16 years,” she said.

“Now [Ben’s 13-year-old brother] Hamish is left with nobody.”

Close said Ben “was beautiful and funny and had everything to live for, but he needed help and no-one took him seriously”.

Warren Gargett, Dillon Gargett’s father, was surprised at the sentence.

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“It was a wee bit more lenient than we thought he’d get.”

The court heard Gargett had been sought out for advice by Dowdell because it was known he had made a previous attempt on his own life.

On September 2, the day before the suicide, Gargett and a group gathered for a “farewell” party for Dowdell, the court was told.

At the party Dowdell spoke about ending his own life, but none of his friends contacted anyone.

Dowdell then made an unsuccessful attempt on his life.

The group reassembled the next day and went to Bradford Park in Sydenham.

Dowdell made the others leave before he committed suicide.

Gargett looked back and saw what had happened but did not intervene, the court heard.

Dowdell’s father phoned that night asking about his son, but Gargett did not tell him what had happened or where to find him. Dowdell was left dead in the park all night and was discovered by a member of the public the next morning.

Close, reading an emotional victim impact statement, said the family had never received an apology from Gargett.

She said her son had been unable to write because of a medical condition and had learning difficulties. He was “a good and kind soul” who was often bullied at school.

“Even when he was experiencing daily physical attacks he would still go to school with a smile on his face.”

She said he was very unstable mentally at the time he had a party to say goodbye to his friends.

She tried everything to make his life better and was devastated to think that he felt he was such a failure, she said.

“I think the most important thing is that he knew how much he was loved, and knew I was proud to be his mother.”

Gargett was arrested a fortnight after the suicide. His bail was then revoked because he continued committing offences, and then because of concerns about his own safety he was sent to the at-risk unit.

Defence counsel David Ruth said both young men had found themselves “in very distressed circumstances” and said Gargett was regretful and remorseful about his actions.

Crown prosecutor Claire Boshier said Gargett had the opportunity to say what was happening and get help, but had not done so.

There was cruelty in not telling Dowdell’s father what had happened to his son.

Justice Graham Panckhurst told Gargett: “Your victim was a young man who had a life before him, but for the moment could not see his way through his personal problems, and as a result was clearly in despair and it seems he was determined to take his own life.”

“Anyone with a sense of judgment would have seen that his life would have improved.”

He could not understand why Gargett had not spoken out and got help for his friend.

“I think there is something in Mr Ruth’s suggestion that you were probably sought out for advice on account of your previous experience in relation to this insidious thing of youth suicide.”

He imposed an eight-month home detention sentence, saying he hoped the four months already spent in custody in the at-risk unit at Christchurch Men’s Prison would have a lasting effect on him.

He imposed special conditions that Gargett undertake counselling, and consider the restorative justice process so he could meet the victim’s family.

Charges in the District Court of being found unlawfully in a yard and being an unlicensed driver were dealt with by convictions and discharges later in the day.

Name suppression was refused as Justice Panckhurst said the case was so serious it precluded it.

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