A group supporting grieving families has hit out at “keyboard warriors” and the surge of insensitive comments online about the death of teenager Larissa Beilby.
The 16-year-old’s body was found in a barrel last week. Police have charged 34-year-old Zlatko Sikorsky with murder, torture, deprivation of liberty and a raft of other offences in relation to her death.
Ms Beilby had been living away from home before she died and police have confirmed she was in a relationship with her accused killer.
But while fund-raisers have been set up and there have been tributes aplenty for Ms Beilby online, her social media pages were defaced by people blaming the teenager and her family for her choices.
Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group chief executive Brett Thompson said he was disgusted by some of the remarks.
“Victim bashing has no place in our society, no place in the media and no place in the justice system,” he said.
“They need to have a look at themselves in terms of the perspective of the family – this only harms people, it doesn’t help anyone.
“[The family] don’t need to know other people’s opinions, what they need to know is the truth and what they want is justice.”
Mr Sikorsky’s lawyer Brendan Ryan confirmed his client would fight the murder charge but would not contest several others.
By Monday night, more than $14,000 had been donated to an online fund to raise money to pay for Ms Beilby’s funeral costs.
Friends also created a graffiti tribute to the 16-year-old on the side of a Brisbane business, which won praise from her family.
“This is the kind of way Larissa would want to be remembered and honoured with for her legacy to live on for an eternity!” her sister Deanna wrote on Facebook.
Ms Beilby’s body was found in a barrel at Buccan on June 27, but police documents show they believe she might have died as early as June 22.
She was last seen alive on June 15 but made contact with a friend on social media three days later.
Questions have been asked about why police were notified she was missing only on June 26.
On Sunday, Detective Insepctor Damien Hansen said the delay was concerning.
Friends have told the ABC that Ms Beilby had been living with friends earlier this year, but moved to a halfway house for teenagers after the accommodation was organised by staff at her school at Sandgate.
The property is owned by the Queensland Government but operated by the Brisbane Youth Service, which received more than $5 million in government funding last financial year.
The Department of Child Safety said Ms Beilby was not in state care and not known to it, while the Department of Education deferred questions about whether the school had reported her missing to police.