Family fighting for justice after grandmother killed

Savannah Meacham |

Vyleen White has been remembered for her love of family, friends and strangers.
Vyleen White has been remembered for her love of family, friends and strangers.

Vyleen White’s family will fight for justice after the Queensland grandmother’s fatal stabbing outraged a community.

However daughter Cindy Micallef wants her mother remembered for the way she lived, not the tragic way she died.

More than 100 mourners gathered at Ms White’s funeral service in Brisbane on Thursday, sharing fond memories of the passionate and loving 70-year-old.

She was fatally stabbed outside Redbank Plains Shopping Centre earlier in February in a suspected carjacking, sparking a youth crime outcry.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with murder.

“We want to move forward and mum’s legacy will live on and we’re not going to let that go,” Ms Micallef said in an emotional eulogy.

“We’re going to make sure we get justice for mum and nothing will stop us until that happens.”

Friends described Ms White’s death as senseless during tributes at the packed service, saying she was taken too soon.

But Ms Micallef said her mother’s death would not be in vain.

The Ipswich community has called for tougher youth justice reforms in the wake of the tragedy.

Dubbed “Vyleen’s Law”, new legislation has been proposed that will provide harsher sentences and review bail conditions for serious repeat youth offenders.

“This is a catalyst for change in our lives and our community,” Ms Micallef said.

“This will not be in vain. We are taking this to the next level … we’re going up and we’re going to get justice for this.”

Ms White’s death has already sparked change.

Victims’ families and media will be given greater access to court hearings involving youths under laws proposed by the Queensland government in the wake of the stabbing.

Premier Steven Miles sought changes after the 16-year-old boy charged with murder appeared in a closed court hearing, with a magistrate refusing media access.

The Queensland government has also fast-tracked laws to ban knife sales following Ms White’s death.

Vyleen White funeral booklet
Ms White’s family have vowed to seek justice through the judicial system. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

“We don’t want mum to be remembered for how she went. We want her to be remembered for the legacy of her life,” Ms Micallef said.

Ms White loved her cat Chloe, doing Donald Duck impersonations and watching funny animal videos, the service was told.

She was known for her unwavering love for friends and indeed anyone who crossed her path.

But most of all, she loved her family.

“There will never be enough words to adequately describe mum,” an emotional Ms Micallef said.

“Unconditional love was always there no matter the circumstance, and with us, there were a lot of circumstances.”

Ms White had a passion for prayer and likely said one for everyone, no matter who they were, friends told the packed service.

“It didn’t matter if you were a neighbour, someone buying a washing machine or just coming to say hello. No one was left out,” Ms Micallef said.

David Crisafulli
Queensland Opposition Leader David Crisafulli attended the funeral for Ms White. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Opposition leader David Crisafulli attended Thursday’s service, sharing a quick word with Ms Micallef and her family.

Leader of the African Community Council Beny Bol also paid his respects in a show of unity after reports of flaring racial abuse in the community following the stabbing.

A number of police were among the congregation, acknowledging the toll Ms White’s death has taken on emergency workers and the community.

A private burial followed the service.

AAP