Voice of Real Australia: Heartbreak lingers for families of MH17 victims | Magnet | Eden, NSW – Eden Magnet

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Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Today’s is written by ACM breaking news reporter – national Nadine Morton.
For 298 families dotted across the globe it’s been eight very long years.
Eight years since they’ve seen their loved one, eight years since they’ve heard them laugh and eight years of pain.
The death of a loved one through ‘normal’ circumstances is heart-breaking, but to lose your loved one through an act of hate and conflict is a whole different level of devastation.
It’s been eight long years since Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down out of the sky by a Russian surface to air missile, prosecutors say.
The Boeing 777 had been on a routine flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014 when it exploded into a million pieces and rained down over eastern Ukraine.
On Thursday in the Netherlands, three judges who have presided over the murder trial of the four men accused of the attack will deliver their verdict.
In the lead up to the verdict, I spoke to some of the next of kin of those 298 people who died on MH17.
Next of kin is an awful term. It signifies someone who’s been through so much loss, but it’s incomprehensible how much these families have been through.
On that plane were people from 10 countries, among them were 38 Australian citizens and residents.
Jill and Roger Guard from Toowoomba were among the Australians who died, and I thank their grieving son Paul Guard who spoke to me about his family’s loss.
Jill was a retired GP, Roger was pathology director at Toowoomba Hospital, but they were so much more than their careers. They gave back to their communities and they were parents to Paul, 44, Amanda, 42 and David, 39, and today, they would be grandparents to seven children.
Sister Philomene Tiernan also died when MH17 fell to the ground.
The Sydney sister, who grew up in South Burnett in regional Queensland, had dedicated her whole life to her Catholic beliefs and to help others.
Her nephew Dermot Tiernan told me what an amazing influence his aunty Phil had on his life, and how that continues to this day.
For this series of stories I also spoke to the men and women of the Australian Federal Police who were also been caught up in this tragedy.
The AFP’s Dr Simon Walsh was part of an international task force who identified the victims.
Detective Sergeant Yvonne Crozier is among the AFP’s family investigative liaison officers who have been supporting next of kin since that horrific day in 2014.
To those who spoke to me to share stories of their loved ones, thank you. I know there are no words that can ease your pain, but thank you for speaking so that others will know more about who was lost on that awful day eight years ago.
In case you are interested in filtering all the latest down to just one late afternoon read, why not sign up for The Informer newsletter?
Nadine Morton is the breaking news reporter for 140 Australian Community Media newspapers across the country. She writes about police, health, regional issues and general news reporting. Previously worked at the Western Advocate in Bathurst, and as regional breaking news reporter in the NSW Central West. Get in touch at nadine.morton@austcommunitymedia.com.au
Nadine Morton is the breaking news reporter for 140 Australian Community Media newspapers across the country. She writes about police, health, regional issues and general news reporting. Previously worked at the Western Advocate in Bathurst, and as regional breaking news reporter in the NSW Central West. Get in touch at nadine.morton@austcommunitymedia.com.au
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