AFL star chooses death over jail
AIDEN Colbourne said he would rather kill himself than go to jail.
And on Monday the 19-year-old miner and local AFL star climbed into a car inside a shed on the family property at Glenlee, turned on the engine and gassed himself.
His mother, Tiffany Lee Camm, unable to face life without him, also chose to take her own life.
They were found side by side by Aiden's 18-year-old sister, Chantelle Colbourne who yesterday told, with tears in her swollen eyes, how she believed they had been hatching a suicide plot for weeks.
She said her mum had taken two weeks away from her job at a Rockhampton nursing home.
“There were little hints. Aiden was due to go to court in Victoria on Thursday. He'd been charged with attempted armed robbery,” said Chantelle.
The slender teenager said both her mum and brother had left letters to her, making it clear that they had each decided to die rather than face the prospect of Aiden going to prison.
Chantelle said she had been trying for about six hours on Monday to contact them by telephone and asked a friend to take her to the house in Sturt Drive, about 10 kilometres north of Rockhampton.
“I just had a gut feeling that something bad had happened,” she said.
Her friend, Alex, heard the car running, music blaring from the sound system, and went into the shed. Chantelle followed.
“I just screamed and screamed. It was horrible,” she said.
Two pet dogs were also dead in the shed. Chantelle said the animals were bloodied, as if they had been fighting to escape the gas from the car exhaust.
Police, ambulance and fire fighters rushed to the smart, brick single-storey home, but there was nothing anyone could do. Tiffany, 39, and Aiden were pronounced dead at the scene.
“The last time I'd seen them on Saturday afternoon they were both very strange. Aiden's last words to me were ‘I'm sorry for my mistakes. I'm sorry for not being a good brother. I love you'.”
She said her mother had also been extremely emotional.
“She said something like ‘words can't describe how sorry I am for what we have done to you. Just remember the angels will be with you. I'm so proud of you, I love you'.”
Aiden, a promising AFL player, was passionate about his footy, and about his mum, she said.
“He was loving and caring and genuine and hard working and what he did was totally out of character.
“He got involved in a crime because he knew mum was struggling for money.
“It was just one mistake.”
The family moved to Rockhampton from Geelong about two years ago and Aiden quickly became established as one of the region's star footy players.
Chantelle wanted to be photographed with his football medals around her neck.
She said family life had been erratic. She'd earlier been thrown out, but had returned to the family home to live about three weeks ago.
And asked how she would cope with her great loss she said: “I've got really good friends, I'll be all right. I think mum and Aiden knew I'd be strong enough and that's why they were able to leave me.”
Police said yesterday it was likely a post mortem would be conducted today.
Cal Lynch, the regional crime co-ordinator, said scientific forensic reports were still being compiled for the coroner, but officers were satisfied, based on what they had discovered, that it was a double suicide.
Brothers AFL president Ross Laycock said players of the champion club were meeting last night as they attempted to come to grips with news of the death of Aiden.
Brothers won the AFL Capricornia flag in 2010 and the contribution of Aiden was significant.
Throughout the season Aiden, who played as a small forward, was named best on ground and it came as little surprise, at the end of the season, he was rewarded with the coveted Bernie Gottke Medal, for the best and fairest player in the region.
During the campaign Aiden scored 71 goals and then hit six in the grand final against BITS as Brothers took the title by 76-66.
Not surprisingly, Aiden was also named by AFL Capricornia in their team of the year.
LIFELINE has a 24-hour crisis line for those at risk of suicide. Call 13 11 14.