THE terrified mother at the centre of Beerwah’s fatal home explosion says the blast was meant for her.
Personal banking assistant Caroline Moss said the ex-boyfriend used three nine-kilogram gas cylinders to set a bomb in her house, and then waited for her to come home.
Her 12-year-old daughter, Georgia, came home from school first.
The 32-year-old Ms Moss was shocked to hear his voice when she rang home to check on Georgia and her boyfriend answered. The couple had split two years earlier.
Her boyfriend said he had Georgia, but it was what he said next that chilled Ms Moss.
“If you get the police, I’ll light this place up,” she was told.
“He was expecting me, but Georgia came home instead.”
He was a man she had had a brief relationship in 2009.
In the time since, Ms Moss said she had spoken several times with police about her ex-boyfriend’s frightening behaviour.
She said that on several occasions, “I saved his life” from self-harm behaviour.
It all took an unimaginable turn at 3.40pm on Tuesday afternoon.
“I called once at 3.30pm and there was no answer, but we had only just got new phones and I had left a note on the television for Georgia to plug in the phones so I could call,” she said.
She made a second call from her work 10 minutes later which was answered by her former partner.
The man told the increasingly worried mother, “It’s all right, Georgia’s okay, I’ve got her in the spare room”.
Georgia, he said, was taped to a chair and there was a home-made bomb in the house.
Ms Moss attempted to tell a colleague to call the police, but the bomber heard her pleas and warned her against that action.
“I just kept saying ‘let me speak to Georgia’, so he must have put the phone up to Georgia and she said “Mum, it’s true, he has everything.”
Ms Moss was advised by her colleague, who was speaking with police, to keep the kidnapper calm and talking.
But then it would reach a frantic new level.
“I heard him say suddenly, “well here they are”, and then just these horrible screams from Georgia saying “No, No, No!”
Ms Moss’s eyes filled with tears and she held her head in her hands.
Georgia sat nearby with one of several school friends who have been frequent overnight guests at their quiet sanctuary outside the Sunshine Coast.
“She’s my life, she’s my family and everything that I am,” Ms Moss said in a quiet voice.
A short time later, the single mum, desperate to get to her daughter, started walking to her car.
And then she saw Georgia.
“She had run all the way to me ... (she was) across a busy road and I just remember yelling at her to stop, worried that she was going to run into the middle of traffic,” she said.
“I am so grateful that the police there let her come to me and didn’t let her stay around for what happened next.”
Ms Moss said she and her daughter were sitting down and there was a loud blast. Everything shook.
“Everything just shuddered and the windows shook – we knew instantly what happened,” she said.
Ms Moss said the past three days have been a blur but she will be forever indebted to her ex-husband, Georgia’s father, and his new family, her colleagues and police officers Senior Constable Peter Wells and Paul Kethro who saved her daughter’s life.
“It’s been really hard to accept the help being offered even though we have lost everything because we are tough and we are survivors,” Caroline said.
“But that’s what got Georgia to me, she is fiercely brave and stubborn, and it’s having each other that will get us through.”
Anyone needing support or information about suicide prevention should contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 and those affected by suicide can contact StandBy Response Service on 0407 766 961
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