Advocate says Broome cable tie incident left children ‘absolutely terrified’ and indicates racism is rife

Sarah Crawford
The West Australian
3 Min Read
Tradesman Mat Radelic allegedly tied up the children at the vacant property.
Tradesman Mat Radelic allegedly tied up the children at the vacant property. Credit: Unknown/Facebook

Two children who had their wrists cable tied after climbing into a Broome backyard had been tempted by the prospect of the only pool in the neighbourhood, a social justice advocate has said.

Megan Krakouer said four children, including a six and seven-year-old seen in a video that has made headlines worldwide, sneaked in because their mum’s car had broken down and they could not go to the beach.

Tradesman Mat Radelic allegedly tied up the children at the vacant property in an incident that has fuelled a fiery debate about racism, vigilantes and community safety in the troubled tourist town.

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“All it was is a couple of children, they wanted to have a swim, it’s a hot day and they (Mr Radelic) have taken it well and truly out of proportion in the context of an unwarranted citizen arrest,” Ms Krakouer said.

Mr Radelic has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault.

The 45-year-old admitted on Wednesday that he “probably should’ve walked away” but revealed the recent incident was the sixth time someone had trespassed on the property in the past three months.

Ms Krakouer said the Tuesday afternoon ordeal had left the children, “absolutely terrified”.

“They are not even staying in their house,” she said.

Youth Justice Symposium at Duxton Hotel. Pictured - Megan Krakouer, social justice campaigner
Social justice campaigner Megan Krakouer. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Ms Krakouer said there were four children but the eldest got away.

“He ran around and said, ‘Hey that white man got the kids’, and that’s when the family came back. At that point, there were three children that was being detained.”

Ms Krakouer said another boy managed to get himself free while a family member tried to enter the property. The woman then filmed the frightened children on her phone.

“We’ve all done silly things like that in the past, many of us back in the day would jump over fences,” Ms Krakouer said.

“That’s the only pool in the area and their mum’s car is broken at the moment, so for her to actually get down to Town Beach to take them for a swim, she would have to walk one to two hours.

“It was absolutely woeful, it was cruel, it was unjustified, it was unwarranted and that really begs the question in terms of racial discrimination, it is rife across the country. It is rife in Western Australia.”

The children had allegedly been tempted by the only pool in the neighbourhood.
The children had allegedly been tempted by the only pool in the neighbourhood. Credit: Facebook

A relative of the two injured children claimed the youngsters’ wrists had been bound so tight that they had left deep marks and one of the children was bleeding when they were found.

“I said, ‘You guys need to ring the ambulance as well’ because one of the kids was bleeding on the wrists,” Roberta Cox said.

Ms Cox, who lives nearby, said she called the police after a man refused to untie the children.

“I heard women going off, so I eventually went across the road and I saw a bloke in his work uniform and the two kids sitting up against the fence,” she said.

“I could see that they were very distraught and the cuffs on them were absolutely too tight.

“He was asking if the kids were going to pay for this unit and I said, ‘At the moment, you need to get them in the shade and you need to give them a drink of water’.

“He was refusing to let the mother walk in.”

A relative of the two injured children claimed the youngsters’ wrists had been bound so tight that they had left deep marks.
A relative of the two injured children claimed the youngsters’ wrists had been bound so tight that they had left deep marks. Credit: Facebook

Premier Roger Cook urged people to remain calm and let the police do their job.

“I think anyone who saw that video would have found it confronting and would have found it disturbing, and I understand that it raises very strong emotions in everyone in the community,” he said.

“But I urge everyone to let the police get on with their job, let the justice process take place.”

Federal MP for Durack Melissa Price said the images circulating online were, “confronting and upsetting”.

“The use of cable ties on these children is not acceptable,” she said. “However, I do understand how this has happened.

“Broome residents are fed up with the escalating youth crime in their town and I believe it was only a matter of time before someone took the law into their own hands.”

Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the incident showed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had “no regard” for regions tackling rising rates of antisocial behaviour and crime.

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