Ballajura teen’s death suspected homicide

Map of where the incident occurred in Girrawheen
Map of where the incident occurred in Girrawheen

POLICE are appealing to anyone who witnessed the February 19 assault that killed Ballajura 17-year-old Kuol Akut, whose life support was turned off today at Royal Perth Hospital.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tom Mills said police were now treating the Girrawheen incident as a suspected homicide.

Police today released CCTV footage from the Hainsworth Avenue Recreation Centre, which shows a male throwing an item at very close range at Kuol off Hainsworth Avenue before police arrived.

Police found Kuol unconscious on Hainsworth Avenue about 11.45pm.

Sgt Mills said the assault occurred at the intersection of Meakers Way and Hainsworth Avenue.

“It’s from the northern camera and specifically indicates an event that occurs outside Meakers Way at the shopping centre intersection of Hainsworth Avenue,” Sgt Mills said.

“The footage is difficult to watch, what you will see is an event where Kuol appears to be struck by an object thrown from a fairly close distance to him.

“He then staggers, regains his footing, walks around the back of the police van, staggers and then collapses on the ground.”

Sgt Mills said tree canopy blocked out the most crucial part of the incident and police could not reveal the instrument that hit Kuol in the footage.

Police officers gave him first aid before he was taken to hospital.

A large group of youths can be seen in the footage fleeing the scene.

Two young men can also be seen picking up a stake and uprooting a small tree and running towards the area of the assault.

Sgt Mills said a large group of males were close to Kuol at the time of the offence.

“Those males are the men that we need to speak to,” he said.

“We also want to appeal to motorists who drove through that area at 11.40 or 11.45pm to contact police.”

“Police want to speak the drivers of a blue sedan, travelling north on Hainsworth Avenue when the assault happened.”

Kuol had a south Sudanese background and had attended an 18th birthday party in the area.

The party finished about 11pm, with about 180 guests leaving the Hainsworth Avenue house.

Snr Sgt Mills said there was a multicultural group at the party.

“Most of the partygoers were from South Sudan but there was a multicultural group at the party,” he said.

“I want to highlight the support we have received from the South Sudanese community, the elders and the kids that were at the party, they have been fantastic in coming forward.”

Sgt Mills said police were appealing to young people at the party who witnessed the assault to come forward.

“Clearly we know that some of these young people were supposed to be at other locations and may have told their parents they were going to other events,” he said.

“They’re not going to get into trouble from the police for going to a party.

“What we are asking them to do is come forward because we are now investigating the tragic death of someone that was one of their friends.”

Sgt Mills said the family was “absolutely devastated”.

“They have been at the hospital and had an opportunity to say goodbye and to try and grieve,” he said.