Police officer Damian Leeding’s life support to be switched off


Senior Constable Damian Leeding was responding to a triple-0 call at the Pacific Pines Tavern when he was shot.

Senior Constable Damian Leeding was shot in the face at the Pacific Pines Tavern on Sunday night.

A police statement tonight said: “The Queensland Police Service understands that the family of Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding have made the heartbreaking decision to turn off life support in the next 24 hours on medical advice concerning his condition.

“The Queensland Police Service is – and will continue – to provide every possible support to the family of DSC Leeding during this incredibly sad time, and our thoughts are very much with his family, friends and Damian’s Coomera CIB colleagues this evening.

“We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the care of DSC Leeding, including the QAS officers, nursing and medical staff at the Gold Coast Hospital.”

Sen-Const Leeding’s family were awaiting the arrival of his father and sister who were making a dash from the UK, but they are now not expected to arrive until possibly Thursday.

Speaking outside Gold Coast Hospital earlier today, Sen. Const Leeding’s father-in-law, Gary O’Brien, said decisions on the officer’s fate  “could possibly be made today”.

Mr O’Brien, the father of Sen. Const Leeding’s police officer wife Sonya, said the family was trying to stay strong.

“At the moment, we’re all travelling a bit of a bumpy road but we’re all doing okay,” he said.

“We just want to thank everybody on the Gold Coast – the support has been absolutely amazing.”

Mr O’Brien, a paramedic, said he had been dealing with tragedy for 30 years “but when the boot’s on the other foot, it’s pretty tough going”.

“We’d just like people to respect our privacy both here (at the hospital) and at home,” he said.

“There will possibly be decisions made today and I’m sure you guys (the media) will hear about it after today.”

Mr O’Brien described his son-in-law as “absolutely the most amazing guy”.

“As well as a son-in-law, he’s a good mate,” he said.

“(He’s the) father of two of my grandkids and a guy who just lives for each day, his family and his kids. He’s just the best guy you could meet.”

Mr O’Brien said the welfare of Sen-Const Leeding’s two children, baby Grace and two-year-old Hudson, was now the priority for the family.

“Everybody’s doing their hardest to make sure that side of the family’s kept intact and we’re moving forward with that,” he said.

Three people have been remanded in custody over the shooting.

THREE people charged over the attempted shooting murder of Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding

THREE people will face court tomorrow morning charged over the attempted shooting murder of Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding

A 37-year-old man, a 38-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman, all from Nerang, have been charged with the attempted murder of Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding.

They are also charged with armed robbery and seven counts of deprivation of liberty of four tavern patrons, two staff members and security guard.

Police will allege that shortly before 11pm last night, officers were called to an armed robbery in progress at the Pacific Pines Tavern.

Plain Clothes Senior Constable Damian Leeding was in the first responding vehicle from the Coomera CIB and was allegedly shot in the head by a shotgun.

Police will allege the violent attack was captured on CCTV footage.

They are expected to appear in Southport Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Sen Const Leeding is married to a police officer, Sonya, and is the father of two young children.

He is in a critical condition in the Gold Coast Hospital.

It follows last night’s robbery where gunmen stormed the Pacific Pines Tavern just on closing time and took staff and patrons hostage as they demanded money.

Senior Constable Damian Leeding, one of the first two officers on the scene, was shot in the head.

The incident occurred just before 11pm last night as police responded to an armed robbery call-out.

The 35-year-old officer is in a critical condition at Gold Coast Hospital at Southport.

Sen Const Leeding, who is based at Coomera, is married to a police officer, Sonya, and is the father of two young children.

Police Minister Neil Roberts said the thoughts of all were with Damian as he fights for life.

”We hope and pray that he recovers from these awful injuries,” he said.

Police commissioner Bob Atkinson said the first response unit contained two detectives, Damian Leeding and his female partner.

”They arrived at the tavern at approximately quarter to 11 last night. The armed robbery was still in progress at that time.

”We will be alleging this offence was around closing time, we will be alleging that hostages were involved and we will be alleging that the hostages involved were both staff and patrons.

”Soon after, Senior Constable Damian Leeding was shot in the head with a shot gun.

”He is in a critical condition in the Gold Coast Hospital. His family are with him — his wife is by his side.

”We hold grave concerns for his overall condition.”

The commissioner said the dog quad officers tracked two offenders and the scene and a third person was located later.

He said there may still be other offenders with a long way to go in the investigation.

Assistant commissioner Paul Wilson praised the first aid efforts of Sen Const Leeding’s female partner on the job who kept him alive.

Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said Sen Const Leeding may have only been an officer for eight years but he has quickly risen through the ranks to work in the plain clothes division.

”The family is at the hospital now and conducting a vigil,” Mr Atkinson said.

”He’s put his safety at risk to protect the public.

”We pray he is OK, but he is in a critical condition.”

The shooting comes after a call for a specialist armed robbery squad on the Gold Coast following a spate of hold-ups this year.

Mr Atkinson said this incident would raise further questions about the need for a specific armed robbery squad on the Gold Coast.

”Nothing’s off the table,” Mr Atkinson told reporters.

”We review the staffing needs of this area constantly and particularly each year.

”This was a higher end type armed robbery.

”It occurred around closing time and people were taken effectively hostage.”

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25 thoughts on “Police officer Damian Leeding’s life support to be switched off

  1. This is a horrific story. Thankfully they have caught 3 alleged offenders. It appears there will be 2 babies who will grow up never knowing their father – just horrific.

    My thoughts go out to his family and also the female police partner, who on the night kept her buddy alive. How traumatized she must be, and how easily it could have been her instead or also.

    If found guilty these well into adulthood men should be sentenced to life, without any prospect of release, and die in jail. It would not be a first offence for any of them, and it is high time that law and order legislation toughened up, and got these types off the streets, as soon as lesser crimes were evident in their makeup. Sooner or later, violent criminals progress to murder, in order to save their own worthless skins.

    This story is very distressing.

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    • Kathy – just wondering how you came by the opinion that “it would not be a first offence for any of them”? I’m also curious as to why you have only specified that the men should be imprisoned for life but not the woman. Hypothetically, she could have been the mastermind and it could have been a first foray into crime for all of them going by the info posted here…

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      • To perplexed

        I will elaborate on what I meant.

        It is my personal belief that it would not be a first offence of violence for any of them. If it does turn out to be so, (a first offence of violence), I will be very surprised and I will stand corrected. Violence usually escalates – from schoolyard bullying to assaults of greater violence and harm, then often to murder. I find it hard to believe that 3 people would decide to commit a crime of this proportion as their collective first offences.

        I was not aware until I read further news that one of the offenders was a woman. My comments regarding age (well into adulthood) and punishment apply equally to the female offender if found guilty. I certainly hold no gender discrimination.

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  2. Sad Story.
    Not a good outcome for the Officer Concerned.
    On the Overhand, that is the danger they face, in the job they do.
    Its the cold hard fact of their job. Every call out thy receive they cannot foresee what is going to happen.
    Its good they have caught the ALLEGED OFFENDERS.
    Now its up to the courts & Justice system too do their bit, as little as it may be??
    Seems to me the offenders a desperate DRUGGIES after quick money.
    Druggies if they were??
    Should not be used as a defence!!
    They THE OFFENDERS decided, & then carried out the offence, Obviously planned.
    But they didn’t plan to come face to face with the law.
    As far as I’m concerned, all should be charged & face the same offence, whether they pulled the trigger or not. Its the higher runs on the ladder of the drug trade that get away with Murder!!
    Bigmouth..

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  3. It’s a tragedy.Every day here on the Gold Coast is a nightmare.The amount of crime is getting beyond a joke.We really do need a special unit here just for armed hold ups.As per usual it’s all about politics, while a young man has lost his life.I don’t like living here anymore.Between the schools having lockdowns because there are idiots on the run after they commit hold ups and the lack of police officers I am over it.

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    • Hi Goth, as you are speaking from personal experience, it certainly is not the ideal environment for anyone, but the community and children in particular should be safe from lunatics running amok in the community.

      Sadly though it is creeping into our society in all states and in what were once so called safe neighbourhoods, communities whatever we like to call it. The Police are so under funded and under manned in this country is is a disgrace. All these bloody millions they are reaping from revenue raising cameras etc.

      Well every last red cent needs to go directly in enforcing the law and supporting the coppers in this country who are out there on the beat.

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  4. Such a sad and tragedy fo rthis brave Police Officer. I would really support to bring back the death penalty back in Australia justice system. Why we have to give second chance or even wasted out our tax money with rehabilitation for these kind of people. I’m sorry if my statement might offend anyone. Being civilised got nothing to do with death penalty – if only the terms sounded inhumane – then Im sure a more appropriate term can be utilise to describe this penalty such as Judiciary Humanely euthanise penalty…

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  5. Singapore is a very civilised and safe country and I might say out loud free of drug dealers because of the DEATH Penalty.

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  6. The death penalty is not the answer. Oh, I’ll admit freely that if somebody (particularly somebody I knew) molested or murdered either of my kids I would probably kill them myself, but that is very different from state sanctioned killing. Call me a hypocrite if you want – water off a duck’s back. The thing is, people who know my family KNOW that this would be the case. So from that angle my kids are somewhat safer than those of people who are known to be forgiving pacifists – at least from people we know. And as everyone here is probably aware, molestation (at least) is less often committed by strangers than by relatives and friends of the victim’s family… Anyway, that went a bit off-topic.

    Back to my point –

    Have any of you who advocate the death penalty actually looked at the stats for people on death row who have been exonerated? Or found to be innocent after their death? Here’s a quick link to the Wikipedia page regarding this exact issue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_exonerated_death_row_inmates
    Now, I know that Wikipedia is not an indisputable authority, but with regard to lists like this, I think it may be considered to be reasonably accurate. Would death penalty advocates be happy to accept the deaths of these innocent parties? The sheer number of exonerations just since 2000 and only in the US is quite astounding and I think people who reactively propose bringing back the death penalty should think about how they would feel if their name or the name of someone they love was on that list – especially if it was one of the names that has (died prior to exoneration) written after their name.

    Just my $0.05 worth – yep, inflation costs us all, hey?

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    • Sorry, ‘perplexed’, but I fail to see the wrongful conviction (and subsequent execution) of innocent people, as justification for not reintroducing the death penalty. The wrongful convictions and executions are due to flaws in the judicual system, not the fault of the death penalty itself. I see no reason why the death penalty should not be introduced for the worst crimes, when they are proven beyond all reasonable doubt.
      You raise a vaild point that people have been wrongfully convicted (and executed) in the past, and you link verifies that, to a degree. However, I’m sure if we compared the wrongfully convicted numbers to those proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, you will see that the wrongfully convicted numbers would be in the definite minority. Whilst this doesent detract from the fact innocent people have been executed, I feel there is a place in our community for the death penalty for certain crimes, when proven beyond all reasonable doubt.
      Regular readers will know that I worked in the Correctional environment for nearly 10 years, dealing with the worst of the worst. The way criminals are treated inside is a travesty of justice, and incarceration is in no way compensation for the hurt and pain some of these people have hurt.
      I also find you point that you would ‘kill them yourself’ interesting- you dont sanction state executions, yet you are happy to mete out the same punishment yourself.

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      • Like I said – I’ll cop the label of hypocrite any time if it relates to my kids, no problem. And you have actually reinforced my point, the death penalty would be administrated by humans. And humans make mistakes, have biases and in some cases are plain stupid or bloody minded. Arguing that the “death penalty itself” is not responsible is ridiculous. It is not the potential punishment that I am criticising, it is the administration thereof. Until there is a method that can be absolutely proven to be 100% accurate in determining guilt 100% of the time I will be opposed to state administered death penalty. Even confessions have been shown to be inaccurate in some cases. There are simply too many situations where the death penalty can be abused for individual or political gain. A classic example of this is the case of the West Memphis Three. Look it up.

        I agree with you (believe it or not) that the prison system is too easy on the worst of the worst, as you call them, but I don’t think that the death penalty (or its administration, if you prefer) is foolproof enough to be reintroduced here. Have you heard of Ronald Ryan? He was the last person to be executed in Australia and there is quite a bit of disagreement over his being guilty of the crime for which he went to the gallows.

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  7. why do people want to hurt and kill the police thay are keeping us safe and helping the comunity and puting away crooks and helping people but when scumbags hurt and kill cops thay should rot in jail with no food and water when when the police catch them put them in jail no fucking court or dont feel sorry for them because thay have a mentle problem .

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    • ‘Perplexed’, I agree with you about Ronald Ryan, and – yes- I am aware of the doubt surrounding his conviction. This is why I reiterate the fact that anyone sentenced to death must be proven guilty beyond all doubt. You have to admit that- since Ryan’s execution in 1967, forensic techniques have advanced to the point where ‘beyond all doubt’ can be justified.
      Administering the death penalty should in no way be taken lightly- every precaution should be taken to ensure the guilt is proven beyond any doubt. Yes- I can predict your argument, re: the authorities were ‘sure’ of Ryan’s guilt also….but this was a time before DNA, and proving a crime was based upon more circumstantial- rather than scientific- evidence.

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  8. I agree with you Tony. Our prison don’t have enough place to accommodate these scumbags, and some scumbags I had came across just treated these institution like a club med or a place to network and came out more evil
    Perplexed why you think of the feeling of those family of the crooks?? Put yourself on the other side of the fence – the feeling of those victim families…Im sure the penalty would give them a complete “closure” instead of having the thoughts at the back of their mind after losing their families member (someone they loved) and yet these type of criminals/ murderer could be release again to the society via parole etc then the cycle will repeat again

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    • Agree 100%.
      It is a known fact that 99.9% of all prisoners will be freed someday. Tell me, Perplexed, how this gives closure to the victim’s family…?
      Proven guilty beyoned all doubt = death.

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    • Mrs morris – where exactly do I say anything about the families of the criminals? If you read my comment correctly and look at the link I provided, you’ll see that I am referring to people who have been found guilty “beyond reasonable doubt”, placed on death row and later found to be innocent. How would you feel if an innocent member of your family was on death row? As for “closure” – if anyone thinks that the execution of a killer makes the family of the victim grieve any less, then I think their priorities are a bit skewed. Yes, I would kill the killer/molester of my child. But I freely admit that would be revenge and anger. “Closure” is a pop psychology concept that had been blown WAY out of proportion by the media/movies franchise. Getting over any death (of a loved one) isn’t as simple as that.

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  9. Perplexed I apologised if I misread your statement, however it is part of the process of grieving via anger, sadness and other elements including yes revenge an eye for an eye, especially for murder victim which their life was taken so sudden and brutal. if Closure is not the word then maybe “Final Peace of mind” for victim and his or her family to know that this type of evil monster would never harm another person again including even a fellow prisoner. Death penalty only should be impossed via Proven guilty beyoned all doubt = death as Tony’s statement.
    At the end of the day, I would not think that your view is less or more important than mine just because you don’t see eye to eye with me. However I think all these political correctness which had twisted our society point of view just because we are a society of civilised human being and even the judiciary system to be too soft for the hard criminals. As a matter of fact they are worse than aggressive animals and there is no rehabilitation for aggresive animal or animal which bite/killed people, is it? even if the people proven to invaded or treat them wrongly – the animal who killed will be humanely euthanised – so there you go.

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    • Good point, Mrs Morris. I have personally known criminals who have murdered again whilst in jail, simply because 1) someone inside pissed them off, and 2) their sentence is seen to be so ‘crushing’, that they see no hope of release for 30-40 years. They know if they are convicted of a second (or even third) murder whilst in prison, they will recieve a concurrent sentence, ie: you can be sentenced to 30 years in prison twice- but only serve 30 years in total. It works like this: while you are serving your first sentence, you are also serving your second sentence at the same time. An example: one murderer I know was convicted of three murders, and was sentenced to 35 years on each charge, to be served concurrently.
      This doesent mean he gets 3 x 35 year sentences- he serves 35 years, and gets out to do it again. When you’re talking about 18 year old kids committing these crimes (as is the case in the recent Kapunda killings- although the accused is still innocent at this stage), you must agree that being free to walk the streets again at 53 years old hardly seems appropriate punishment for taking three lives.

      Anyway- back to my point. I’m not sure how you would feel, ‘Perplexed’, if it was your son or daughter that was killed whilst in prison by someone serving such a sentence. People make mistakes, and people get imprisoned for them. However this does not mean they deserve to be killed whilst inside, by someone with nothing to lose.
      The death penalty would solve this dilemma, and would eliminate the risk of another family grieving the loss of a loved one, killed by someone we locked away to protect society.

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  10. Kathy/Perplexed

    A Google search of the shooters name will bring up a 2006 Qld Coroners Inquiry report that shows his association with a 1994 prison murder (David Longland Maximum Security). The two convicted for the murder are mentioned on this site somewhere.

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  11. Does Capital Punishment work in the USA??
    DOES THAT STOP KILLINGS THERE??

    BRING BACK THE PILLORY.
    To be sentenced to the pillory was a sentence of public humiliation. The pillory was a round platform that could be rotated. The person to be pilloried would be secured to the pillory in a number of ways. In some instances he or she was fastened with chains about the neck, hands ankles and waist and forced to remain in kneeling or half crouching stance. Other pillories had a chest high yoke where the head and hands were securely locked in place forcing the person to stand in an uncomfortable position. In most cases, the pillory was located in a market place or other gathering area. Many pillories were designed so that the platform could be rotated 360°. This allowed a good view of the person from all directions. Persons would often be sentenced to the pillory for a few hours or perhaps a day or two.

    Then give them a flogging with the Cat of Nine Tails??

    Prisons here In Australia are way too soft!!
    What 3 meals a day, TV, contact Visits, there basically a home away from home.
    Most prisoners get & have more rights than a pensioner.

    To me Punishment means punishment, whatever that may entail.
    But at what level do we as society Punish, & or Rehabilitate.
    That depends all on the crime committed.
    Prisons need to change!! That is just a cell, the basics of food, nothing else, something to read, & that’s it.
    Capital Punishment???
    Its just an easy way out for me!!
    Meaning the person who committed the Murder. Wont bring back the Victim.
    Proven beyond NO Reasonable doubt, Firing Squad, bullet to the back of the head, then donate their organs to people who need them to live??? ( MAYBE )
    What is the Answer??

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  12. Robbo, I went to a function last week and sat next to a guy from the qld sog who had earlier attended the funeral.
    He confirmed that the shooter had previously murdered a bloke in prison.

    Justice system????

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