'My daughter Jade was murdered on a beautiful Sydney autumn day, within a hand’s reach of other shoppers.'

Elizabeth Young is the mother of Jade Young, who was murdered on April 13 at Westfield Bondi Junction. This article is an adapted version of the powerful eulogy she delivered at Jade's memorial yesterday. It has been published here at Elizabeth's request. 

I was once a high school English teacher. I particularly enjoyed encouraging my students to write. "Write from your life experience," I would tell them.

You are about to hear something I have written from my life experience.

I would like you to listen, I want Australia to listen. I warn you there are references to brutal facts.

My glorious, loving, soft-hearted, hardworking daughter was murdered on April 13 while shopping for a birthday present for a child’s party the next day. How ordinary.

This is Westfield Bondi Junction, in Sydney, Australia, on a Saturday afternoon amongst hundreds of other people.

My youngest granddaughter, aged 9, would have been skipping alongside her, chatting about this and that and nothing. I know because I have shopped with her many times.

And then at 3.20ish Jade Young was attacked and killed outright, in front of her daughter.

Her daughter knew something bad had happened because Mummy had the twisted ugly face she made when she didn’t like something, uttered "Ooof" and was gone.

In an instant, gone from a nine-year-old’s life, from a near 14-year-old’s life, from the life Jade and her husband Noel had slowly and carefully built for their girls over the last 15 or so years. Gone from my life, my husband’s, her beloved brother Peter’s life, her aunts', uncles', cousins', friends', work colleagues'.


Jade was not a centre-of-attention girl. She did well at school, was a wonderful swimmer, a hopeless T-baller. Like me she didn’t like sand. Sadly Premier Minns, respectfully, she never patrolled Bronte beach on a January morning. Perhaps the cafe for a cappuccino? She was a splendid architect, a loving friend, a gentle, soft-hearted mother, a fabulous generous daughter, a sucker for a newly acquired schnoodle, Teddy, who, might I add, behaved perfectly at the vigil.

In a matter of moments on a sunny Wollongong Saturday afternoon, my husband and I were wrenched out of a quiet retirement after 40 years of working, uprooted into a world of co-parenting two beloved, vulnerable, traumatised girls.

We are so lucky that Jade and Noel were already surrounded by wonderful wonderful family, friends and neighbours who have embraced us, are supporting us; hugging, laughing, howling, feeding us, driving us, playing with the children, building Lego, persuading the youngest to eat, checking the oldest daughter has actually eaten something other than sour lollies and grapes.

Our lives have been fractured, there will be no back to normal. There is no normal for us now.

Solace was spoken of at Sunday’s vigil. Believe me, there is no solace.

I want to thank the NSW police who have helped and supported us; they have been impressive, particularly Leah Collins.

I also thank Westfield Bondi Junction for allowing me to kneel sobbing and incoherent with grief, where my beautiful Jade died.

I thank the magnificent Bronte Surf Club members who have been holding us close and weeping with us.

I thank a teacher, Leanne, who took my granddaughter who was with her mother in the moments after.


I thank those who have generously responded to this murderous attack on my daughter, through donations to Jade's GoFundMe page.

I thank Frog and Ben whose particular skills have left me and our son PJ with a permanent, beautiful reminder of my child, his Gehgeh.

I thank those who attended the vigil. I found a moment of wonderful spirituality In the haunting and ancient notes of the didgeridoo.

I thank the Sydney and Australia-wide well-wishers for their condolences, their flowers, and their tears. But, I want more.

My husband and I are old, we have health problems, but we will dedicate the remainder of our lives to our grandchildren and to our magnificent son-in-law. He has us alongside, Grammy and Grampy, alongside, for better, for worse but the reality is, HE is now responsible for raising two girls without the support of a partner. He will somehow have to weave into an already busy work life, the needs of the girls, school lunches, parent meetings at school, ballet, swimming lessons, shopping for birthday presents. Ordinary things.

Never again do I want to read the words 'tragic' or 'tragedy' associated with the perpetrator of the murder of my daughter.

He came prepared. He had intention. He was a killer who slipped past Westfield security, making a shopping centre the most dangerous place on earth for Jade.

I want to know that my glorious granddaughters never go without as a result of this catastrophic attack.

I want society, neighbourhoods, individuals, clubs, businesses, local, state and federal governments to step up and ensure the family are financially secure.


The flowers are beautiful; I appreciated the sombre faces in the mall when I visited on Monday; I love the meals, the hugs, the lowered flags, even Karen the giraffe. I truly appreciate the genuine responses from the police and Westfield powers-that be.

I will never again laugh and chat with my beautiful Jade, a superb young woman whose only flaw was that she was softhearted and couldn’t always decide what sandwich to order at Julian’s or which of JPs delicious ice cream flavours to try this time.

I am heart fractured and angry; I am exhausted and scared of the future.

I want more than five minutes of disingenuous, anodyne words from politicians, I want more than the three days of news coverage, before something else made the headlines.

On a personal level, I want Jade’s girls to grow up believing there is security, goodness and love in the world.

But also, on another level, I want politicians, both federal and state, to address the gaps in mental healthcare to make it a safer world, for our girls and all Australians.

I was born in 1950, the Chinese year of the Tiger. I promise you I am going to show that creature’s ferocity and tenacity. I am a mother tiger and I will not let this terrible attack on my precious daughter simply become short-term fodder for politicians or the media.

This is not about Australians feeling sad and sorrowful for the brief period of a news cycle — this tragic week will never end for us, this murder of a mother, wife, daughter, friend, business partner, has changed the trajectory of so many people for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.

Featured image: GoFundMe.