The tragic chain of events that led a 13-year-old boy to steal car and die after slamming into tree


The tragic 13-year-old boy who died in a horror fireball when he crashed a stolen car into a tree on Wednesday was nursing a broken heart after cancer killed his mother.

Tearful relatives revealed traumatised teen Bailey Pini spiralled out of control in the wake of the family tragedy, which ultimately led to his death in Bowen, Queensland.

When he finally proved too much to handle last month, Bailey moved into a care home where his family hoped the youngster would learn some discipline.

But he shared the home with three other teens, and sister Troydon Pini, 30, revealed: ‘To him, it was like a holiday. Every day was a sleepover with his mates.’

Tragic Bailey Pini, 13, who died in a horror fireball when he crashed a stolen car into a tree on Wednesday was nursing a broken heart after cancer killed his mother, Sonia, 54 (pictured)

Tragic Bailey Pini, 13, who died in a horror fireball when he crashed a stolen car into a tree on Wednesday was nursing a broken heart after cancer killed his mother, Sonia, 54 (pictured)

She told told Daily Mail Australia: ‘He was always a bit mischievous – but he wasn’t criminal. 

‘He had never even driven before he went into that home, never mind steal a car. I don’t know how he made it as far as he did before he crashed.’

Troydon revealed how Bailey had last year watched on as his beloved mother Sonia, 54, was ravaged by terminal cervical cancer.

He and his mum moved in with older sister Troydon, 30, for the family to care for her in her final days but the mother-of-four went rapidly downhill.

Tearful relatives revealed traumatised teen Bailey Pini (picturede) spiralled out of control in the wake of the family tragedy, which ultimately led to his death in Bowen, Queensland

Tearful relatives revealed traumatised teen Bailey Pini (picturede) spiralled out of control in the wake of the family tragedy, which ultimately led to his death in Bowen, Queensland

‘Bailey saw the whole process,’ said Troydon. ‘She was barely eating, in bed the whole time and because of Covid, we were home-schooling so he was home all the time.

‘He watched her decline and slip away, first hand, until I couldn’t cope any more physically and mentally with what was about to happen so she had to go into hospital.

‘When I told him she had died, I grabbed him in my arms and I was crying – and this is how big a heart he had – he hugged me so tight and kept it together himself.

‘He told me: “It’s all right, we’re going to be okay because we have each other.” 

‘And that just blew me away, because I thought, I’m the adult, you’re the child and you are trying to comfort me when I should be the one to comfort you.’ 

Bailey was described as a little tearaway who would sneak into the lolly jar but loved fishing and studying the stars in the night sky and telling his family random facts about the solar system.

When he finally proved too much to handle last month, Bailey Pini (pictured) moved into a care home where his family hoped the youngster would learn some discipline

When he finally proved too much to handle last month, Bailey Pini (pictured) moved into a care home where his family hoped the youngster would learn some discipline

But in the wake of his mother’s death in July, his behaviour went downhill.

Bailey’s parents split up when he was a baby and for eight months after his mother’s death, he lived with his sister and her four daughters, but struggled to fit in with her family’s routines.

After he ran away from his sister’s home, he moved in with one older brother and then another before being taken into residential care last month when none of the family could look after him any longer. 

‘We actually thought it would do him good,’ said Troydon. ‘We thought he’d have to abide by rules and it would be a wake up call for him.

‘But it wasn’t. He was only in there for a month and shared it with three other 14-year-old boys – but he liked it for the wrong reasons.’

Bailey is believed to have stolen a car from Sarina around 4am on Wednesday before crashing into a tree in Bowen 200km away around 6.45am. 

He died in the crash, but a 14-year-old passenger was pulled alive from the wreckage.

‘I am 100 per cent certain that Bailey hadn’t driven before he got to that house,’ said Troydon. ‘I don’t know if that was the very first time he drove.’

Bailey Pini is believed to have stolen the car from Sarina around 4am on Wednesday but crashed into a tree in nearby Bowen around 6.45am. His family placed a cross at the scene yesterday (pictured)

Bailey Pini is believed to have stolen the car from Sarina around 4am on Wednesday but crashed into a tree in nearby Bowen around 6.45am. His family placed a cross at the scene yesterday (pictured)

His body has now been flown to Brisbane for formal identification by his dental records while his family plan his funeral.

‘Because he was so severely burnt in the accident, they couldn’t do much in Townsville,’ said Troydon. 

‘Once we get his body back, we plan to have him cremated and bury his ashes with his mother on the anniversary of her burial on July 3.’ 

Teachers and pupils at Bailey’s Sarina State High School have been offered counselling as they deal with their grief at the teenager’s death.

Principal Jane Grieger said: ‘Our thoughts and sincere sympathies go out to both their families, carers, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.’



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