Damien Little was a qualified carpet layer, a labourer, and a truckie. He was a successful football player and coach. He has been described as a “much-loved member of the community”, a “doting dad” who sought to be the “perfect father and husband”.
His relationship with his wife has been called “loving and supportive” and he has has been praised for “never saying a bad word against her.”
He is also now the man who killed his two sons.
Damien Little is the man who bought himself a takeaway coffee that he drank in his car alongside a rifle before 6am on Monday morning and then with his two boys Hunter, 4 and Koda, nearly one, he drove at high speed off Brennan’s Whaft in Port Lincoln.
As the community struggles to come to terms with yet another tragic outcome of family violence and South Australia’s victim rights’ commissioner urges people “not to rush to blame”, Damien Little’s family have spoken of how depression gripped him, and friends have said that “someone should have stepped in”.
Damien Little’s parents Sue and Ken have spoken out about how mental health problems plagued their son. The couple have also urged others struggling with mental health to get help.
Sue, 58 and Ken, 67, told The Advertiser of their distress several years ago after their beloved son, “spiralled into a dark space”.
“He was a much-loved member of the community and very much loved by his family … I just don’t think he realised how much people loved him.”
“He was very particular about everything he did. I think he wanted to be perfect — he wanted to be a perfect father and husband. He wanted to do everything right.”
She said that the Damien, the third of her five sons, was a perfectionist.
“He was very hard on himself. He wanted to live a perfect life. ”
But she said that despite a “happy and loving” marriage for nine years to his school sweetheart, Melissa over the past few years he changed.
“Over the past three years he had a bit of a problem, we had noticed a change. When we saw (it) the whole family tried to help him. He had a lot of people offering help. We tried to help him, we all did.”
Mrs Little says that despite offers and pleas of help they fell on deaf ears.
“You can’t help somebody who can’t help himself.”
Speaking about the terrible deaths of her grandsons she said, “he obviously wasn’t himself that day.”
“No one will ever know why he did it. But he is our son and we loved him dearly. He was a beautiful kid, loving, caring. We are just broken. He had a wonderful relationship with his wife. She really is a wonderful lady and a wonderful wife to him. My heart goes out to her. She has lost everything. I never heard him say a bad word against her. They were amazing parents and she was one of the old- fashioned mothers, in the very best way.”
Despite assurances of a happy and loving marriage sifting through the many, many media reports about this tragic act of violence there are tales of cracks in the happy life portrayed.
Friends have also hinted at possible problems in the relationship with The Australian reporting talk of the couple’s separation in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with Mr Little away from his wife and sons for the first time.
It has been reported that the Little family may have suffered financial strain as well with the family living for two years in a shed as they saved up to build a house.
The Daily Mail reports that locals have admitted there were concerns about Mr Little being depressed as the family’s plans to build a house on the block had not come to fruition, locals have talked of how they had helped begin the development of the block, but how things had stalled.
“He [Damien] asked me to rip up his paddock around two years ago, but I had not really seen much work on their property since,’ neighbour Ashley Flint told The Daily Mail.
“He has been a little depressed for the past two years, but we thought he was coming good.”
He is believed to have posted a suicide note on Facebook, which was taken down on Monday following the tragedy.
A close friend of Mr Little told reporters “He was obviously struggling and was going through some terrible issues,” the friend said.
“Someone should have stepped in. He should have been supported.”
If you find yourself in need of help, for any reason, crisis support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Men’s Helpline: 1300 78 99 78