Eden Westbrook’s parents found dead in Tasmanian park prompt new search

Eden Westbrook's parents found dead in Tasmanian park prompt new search

The devastated parents of a teenage girl found dead in a small town on the Tasmanian coast are adamant she did not take her own life and are still fighting for answers eight years on.

Eden Westbrook, 15, was found in the early hours of February 18, 2015, at Fisherman’s Memorial Park in St Helens, in the state’s north-east, two hours from Launceston.

Despite police arriving quickly and clumsily trying to shield the scene from public view, Ms Westbrook’s body was seen by several people, including a bus full of schoolchildren, due to its location in a tree.

Word spread through the town of about 2,200 people and reached Eden’s parents, Jason and Amanda Westbrook, who ran to the park with their little girl for a public demonstration, not wanting to disturb the police scene.

Eden had stormed off the previous evening after an argument over his mobile phone and they had spent many nights on the road for him.

Eden Westbrook, 15, was found in the early hours of February 18, 2015, at Fisherman’s Memorial Park in St Helens, in the state’s north-east, two hours from Launceston.

Eden’s parents, Jason and Amanda Westbrook, encountered the haunting sight of their 15-year-old daughter at Fisherman’s Memorial Park.

Coroner Olivia McTaggart ruled in September 2016 that Eden died by suicide.

The coroner was not inquiring, relying solely on information from the police inquest.

His parents strongly believe he did not take his own life and are critical of the investigation, saying important information was overlooked by police.

They also claim that more information has come to light over the years that cast more doubt on the circumstances of their daughter’s death.

Tasmanian newspaper The Mercury has been following the case consistently and earlier this year published a sensational claim that an anonymous man had visited the Westbrooks at their home and told them he knew what had happened to Eden.

The couple were in their garden after moving to St Helens from NSW a few years ago to run a landscaping business, when the man walked up their driveway.

He told them he had been drinking with a friend and they talked about Eden.

The man told them the teenager had not taken her own life but had gone to a party, overdosed and staged the way her body was found.

Mr Westbrook called his friend, Sydney-based lawyer Peter Lavack, who flew down to meet them and recorded the man’s claims on audio.

Eden Westbrook died in February 2015. Her death was ruled a suicide but her father Jason believes it may have been foul play

Eden’s parents are pushing for a new search which they hope will help put her memory to rest and heal a wound still lurking beneath the surface in the remote Tasmanian community.

In the recording heard by the newspaper the man, who is well known in the fishing community, said he had been with someone in Launceston a few weeks ago.

‘(My friend) heard there was more to the story and supposedly there were two people involved in getting him to plant that tree … a man and a woman.’

‘They used a rope from one of the boats … down on the pier.

‘(Whoever knew) the man who put Eden on the tree passed this information on to the person I was talking to.’

The visitor provided the names of a man and a much younger woman, who are known in the city but have not been named by the media.

He explained that the man confessed his involvement to his then-girlfriend, who told her mother who told the visitor’s friend.

The Westbrooks’ said the young girl identified by the visitor had been known to act increasingly erratic in the years since Eden’s death and would occasionally approach family members to say she was ‘sorry’.

Mr Lavack spoke to a Tasmanian police inspector and offered police to interview the visitor, but when he refused to allow a lawyer to attend, he withdrew the offer, The Australian reported.

Mr Westbrook told the newspaper this week that he believed one of the reasons he had struggled in his push for further investigation into Eden’s case was because he was considered an outsider.

A memorial in the foreshore park where Eden was found in St Helens, Tasmania

The Year 10 student was well-liked by both his fellow students and teachers

The couple, who have seven children and are originally from the Sunshine Coast, moved to the town in the early 2000s but are still not considered locals, according to Mr Westbrook.

“We just keep attacking our character as mainlanders who come to Tasmania and are troublemakers,” he told the publication.

‘So we’re kind of humiliated with any attempt to get to the truth.’

In his inquest the coroner said Eden was a caring person who had been doing well for 10 years and was highly respected by both his pupils and teachers.

But he noted that his school’s Internet search history showed, perhaps not unusual for a teenager, searches on topics such as unprotected sex, depression and drugs.

He believes Eden was depressed, had previously tried to harm herself and had written a note six months earlier indicating her ‘intention to end her life’.

Mr Westbrook strongly denied it was the case that ‘at no stage did Eden attempt to take her own life’.

Despite the large gap between the teenager leaving her parents’ home and arriving at the park, the coroner said he was ‘satisfied that there were no suspicious circumstances or other persons involved in Eden’s death’.

Westbrooks is pushing for a new open and transparent investigation that will examine new information and interview new witnesses.

They hope it will not only get them answers, but help lay Eden’s memory to rest and heal the wounds still lingering beneath the surface of the remote Tasmanian community.

Read Full News Here


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here