On October 13, a 15-year-old Noongar schoolboy from Perth was allegedly beaten by a group of white men.
His name was Cassius Turvey.
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains an image of a person who has died.
Ten days later, on October 23 and after spending almost a fortnight in-and-out of hospital undergoing several surgeries and being placed into an induced coma, Cassius succumbed to his injuries and tragically passed away.
His fatal head injuries were allegedly caused by 21-year-old Jack Steven James Brearley, who is currently facing charges of murder and will face court on in the coming weeks.
It’s a case that has touched many, but one that is sadly too common, where Indigenous people are killed at a disproportionate rate to non-Indigenous people.
At the heart of this case is Cassius, and a family now grieving.
Who Is Cassius Turvey?
Cassius Turvey was a 15-year-old year nine student from Perth. His friends and family described him as a “vibrant, caring, jokester with a beautiful smile”, with his mother, Noongar-Yamatji woman Mechelle Turvey, telling ABC Radio Perth that Cassius “loved all the young fellas around him. Loved getting out in the community to youth centres.”
As per NITV, Cassius ran a lawn mowing business in his spare time, and rather than charging his neighbours for services, used the after-school activity as a means to provide “community service, build trust and change perceptions”.
“He just wanted to let people know that the youth in our community, we’re not bad,” Mechelle told the publication.
Tragically, Cassius’ death came a mere month after his father passed away after a battle with cancer.
How Did Cassius Turvey Die?
On October 13, Cassius and a group of his friends, including his 14-year-old best friend and his two 13-year-old cousins, were reportedly walking to the local shops in Middle Swan after school.
At around 4:30PM, it is alleged that a black Ford Ranger full of men pulled up and threatened the boys. The group then split up, with some fleeing to the local Tafe campus. However, Cassius was caught, and was beaten with a metal pole.
As per Detective Senior Sergeant Stephen Cleal, there is no clear indication that Jack Steven James Brearley, the man currently facing murder charges, knew Cassius or the other alleged members of the group.
Sergeant Cleal also advised that police believe a metal pole was involved in Cassius’ death.
“We believe that a metal pole was used in the assault. At this stage we haven’t seized a metal pole. It’s still subject to investigation and searches,” he said in a press conference.
Brearley will face court on November 9 to face his murder charge, however he’s not the only suspect being investigated in the crime.
“There is an investigation of another assault that occurred very similar to the time, for another young boy who was with that group,” Cleal said.
“Those investigations are ongoing at the moment in relation to any further charges that may arise from that.
“The two people that we believe were subject of an assault within that group, which includes Cassius, just happened to be the two people they managed to catch up with.
“So there’s no indication that they knew them personally or singled them out.”
Following the incident, Cassius was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.
He had a serious brain injury and suffered from two brain bleeds.
Cassius spent five days in hospital before being discharged, yet hours later suffered a seizure and several strokes, and returned to hospital.
Cassius died on Sunday, October 23.
The alleged perpetrator of this heinous crime, Brearley, was initially charged with unlawful wounding before the charges were upgraded.
WA Police claim they do not know the motive for the attack.
“At this stage we’ve not established the motivation for why this occurred,” Cleal said.
“He’s clearly seen the group of kids walking along and approached that group.”
Speaking to The Australian, Cassius’ mum Mechelle Turvey said: “How are we supposed to raise our young youth to be leaders and take on our next generation when we’re just pounding them into the ground, traumatising them, making them feel that they are absolutely nothing?”
She continued: “This is just wrong; you don’t just go bashing our kids … I don’t care if they are black, white or whatever. Even children who have different faiths are being attacked verbally and physically.”
Ballardong Njaki-Njaki woman, Donna Nelson, also echoes McGlade’s and Turvey’s sentiments.
“Take away the race or colour, if you’re not outraged that a child has lost their lives to thugs then you seriously need to take a good long look at yourself,” she said in an interview.
How Can I Help The Family Of Cassius Turvey?
A vigil is planned to celebrate Cassius Turvey at Midland Oval in Perth on October 31 at 5:30PM.
There are also vigils planned around the country, including in Sydney and Newcastle, on November 2 to commemorate his life and call for justice.
A community BBQ is happening at Weip Park, junctino Parada Midland, on October 29, from 11am.
A candlelight vigil is planned for Midland Oval on October 31, from 5.30pm
A candlelight vigil at 6pm at Portland Skate Park Shelter on November 2.
A vigil has been planned for Sydney Town Hall on November 2 at 6pm.
A candlelight vigil has been organised at King George Square on November 2 at 6pm.
A Show Up and Stand Up! event has been planned at Victoria Square on November 2 at 6.30pm.
A GoFundMe has also been started by members of Cassuis’ family, seeking “funds to cover his funeral, legal costs for criminal compensation and justice”.
In just two days, the family has raised $262,307, with more than 6,400 donations.
Turvey’s alleged murderer will face court on November 9. Police are calling for assistance from locals to report any information they may have about the incident to Crime Stoppers.