The widow of slain Queensland policeman and father-of-three Brett Forte has been handed another blow after being heckled while visiting her late husband’s makeshift memorial this week.
Susan Forte, who is also a police officer, was supported by family members on Thursday morning as she visited the interim memorial for her husband that has been set up outside Toowoomba Police Station since his death on Monday afternoon.
Leaning down to lay a large bouquet of flowers to the already overflowing bundles at the memorial, Susan Forte’s already difficult moment was interrupted as a supporter of Rick Maddison – Forte’s killer and a man described as a career criminal – yelled from a passing car, “What about Rick?”
Forte was shot dead by Maddison without warning on Monday afternoon when police attempted to pull the convicted criminal’s car over.
A 21-hour standoff between Queensland police and Maddison then followed, with the 40-year-old eventually being killed at the scene of the Lockyer Valley property of which he was hiding out.
The comments yelled at Susan Forte have been lambasted by police union president Ian Leavers.
“It is nothing short of a disgrace that associates of a career criminal and murderer would dare heckle a grieving widow while she pays tribute to her husband,” Leavers told the Courier Mail, adding, “Police and their families deserve better than to be treated like this.”
Among the tributes laid for Brett Forte was a note that read: “To Dear Brett, our hearts are broken. Love you always, your loving in-laws … PS Sorry Brett. The Maroons lost”.
On Wednesday, the family of Rick Maddison released a statement offering their condolences to Susan and the extended Forte family, saying, “The Maddison family wishes to express our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the late Senior Constable Brett Forte for their tragic loss.
“We express our support for the Queensland Police Service and the often difficult and dangerous work its officers are required to undertake”.
The statement went on to describe Maddison as a “loved son, brother, nephew, uncle, grandson, friend and mate to many and as such will be sadly mourned.”
A funeral to farewell Sen Const Forte is expected to take place in Toowoomba next Wednesday.