Murdered backpacker’s family help thousands to travel safely; safer travel app
15 years ago this week, 19-year-old Caroline Stuttle, whose family live near York in England, was killed while backpacking in Australia. The family’s travel safety charity Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation has since helped thousands of youngsters explore the world more safely.
Caroline was enjoying the trip of a lifetime, travelling with a friend in Queensland. But Caroline’s trip and her life were brought to a violent and senseless end.
Returning to the caravan site in Bundaberg after telephoning her boyfriend in England, she was approached by a man. Ian Previte was 32 and a drug addict. He tried to grab Caroline’s bag, she fought back but was pushed from a 30ft high bridge.
Caroline fractured her skull and severed her spine as she hit the ground. She died instantly. Previte was later jailed for life and was told he would serve at least 15 years before he is eligible for parole. That means he could be free in a few years time.
Since the trauma of Caroline’s death and the following trial, her family established the charity to try and ensure a positive legacy in Caroline’s memory. The foundation in her name helps raise awareness of travel safety and gives advice to young people going abroad.
Her brother Richard has given numerous talks to schools. And now a smartphone safety app developed for the charity has been downloaded thousands of times. It provides vital information about key travel destinations – so far 400 cities worldwide are covered.
Richard and his mother Marjorie want young people to travel, but with the know-how to stay safe. Go and see the world, push yourself, do things that you wouldn’t normally have done, do so as safely as possible. I think she would have been proud and I think she’d have felt it was doing something important and you don’t realise what inner strength you’ve got until you have to face something. It doesn’t take the pain away, but it does give you the inner strength and focus to help other people.
The family know Caroline’s killer could be freed from jail in just a few years time, but accept there is nothing they can do to stop him being released.
Richard said: “It’s not something we try to dwell on too much, but as a brother and a protective brother, you always want a sense of revenge, if that’s the right word – and justice. Is 15 years in prison enough? In my eyes, probably not.”
The family’s focus though is on Caroline and harnessing the energy of her spirit – to try and ensure this generation of backpackers enjoy their big adventure and return home to their loved ones enriched and safe.
Can our sector do more here? Could point of arrival hostels (and other businesses) help by promoting the Foundation’s Safer Travel App! Is 15 years jail enough for taking a life and should Ian Previte be released? Or rot in jail! Have your say, do more
Sourced by Chris Harrison