Dead boy photo a 'drunken mistake'

THE man who outraged a community by taking a photo of a dead boy on a North Rockhampton road offered a profound apology yesterday.

The Morning Bulletin contacted the man after Bernadine Wilkinson, the mother of the 16-yearold boy, Stephen Wilkinson, called for calm after vigilante threats were made against him yesterday. Stephen was run over and killed in a freak accident on Thozet Road about 8pm on Friday.

The 28-year-old man, who did not want to be identified out of concerns for his safety, told The Morning Bulletin he had made a huge, drunken mistake by taking a photo of Stephen's body after driving past the accident.

"I'm very sympathetic to the family,'' he said.

"It was a very stupid thing to do. I'm very sorry.

"If I could take back what I have done, I would.''

He said contrary to an eyewitness account he had not been standing over the body but was about 10 metres away when he took the picture.

He said he and a mate had driven past the accident on Friday night and decided to have a closer look.

"I was blind drunk,'' he said. "When we rolled up there were coppers and ambulance people everywhere.

"I had a brand new camera phone and for some reason I took a photo. I was about 10 metres away. It was just an impulsive moment.'' He said he only sent the photo to one mate.

"When I woke up in the morning I thought 'what was I thinking?'

"I deleted the photo as soon as I got up.'' He rang his mate who said he too had deleted the photo.

A gracious Mrs Wilkinson accepted his public apology yesterday.

"I'm glad he has come forward and apologised,'' she said. "It means there is some humanity out there afterwards.''

Before the man apologised Mrs Wilkinson had contacted The Morning Bulletin out of concern after friends of Stephen's had told her they knew who the man was and would be seeking rough justice.

There had also been a stream of SMS messages to The Morning Bulletin expressing shock and anger at his conduct.

"I don't want to see any more violence in my life,'' Mrs Wilkinson said.

"I've had one son murdered and another die in an accident. Violence is not going to do anyone any good.

"I want him to find his morals and his human goodness and do the right thing.''

Mrs Wilkinson had previously lost her three-year-old son, Jye Conrad Perry, when he was stabbed to death by his aunt on Boxing Day, 2002. Murder charges were dropped when it was determined the boy's aunt was of unsound mind at the time.

Acting regional crime coordinator Detective Senior Sergeant Graham Richards said no formal complaints had been made against the man and it was not expected any charges would be laid.

However he said the man may have performed a public nuisance offence and following a complaint such action could be taken against him.

He said people should be aware of the provisions for public decency.

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