“We tried to help him, we all did. But you can’t help somebody who can’t help himself.”
Damien Little, 34, secretly battled inner demons as relatives and close friends noticed a change in his demeanour and personality.
In a tragic turn of events that has left his family devastated, and the nation reeling, after he drove his white Ford station wagon off the main wharf with his two young boys inside.
His grieving parents, Sue, 58 and Ken, 67, yesterday told The Advertiser of their distress after their son spiralled into a “dark” space from the fun-loving and “vibrant” young boy he once was.
Speaking at their Port Lincoln home Mrs Little urged others with depression, or any other mental illness, to seek help. “He was a much-loved member of the community and very much loved by his family … I just don’t think he realised how much people loved him.”
“He was very particular about everything he did. I think he wanted to be perfect — he wanted to be a perfect father and husband. He wanted to do everything right. He was very hard on himself. He wanted to live a perfect life. Over the past three years he had a bit of a problem, we had noticed a change. When we saw (it) the whole family tried to help him. He had a lot of people offering help. We tried to help him, we all did. But you can’t help somebody who can’t help himself.”
Mrs Little said the events of early Monday morning were unfathomable. “He obviously wasn’t himself that day. No one will ever know why he did it. But he is our son and we loved him dearly. He was a beautiful kid, loving, caring. We are just broken. He had a wonderful relationship with his wife. She really is a wonderful lady and a wonderful wife to him. My heart goes out to her. She has lost everything. I never heard him say a bad word against her. They were amazing parents and she was one of the old- fashioned mothers, in the very best way.”
Victims’ Rights Commissioner Michael O’Connell said it was important not to speculate or jump to conclusions regarding the incident, and people should be careful not to victim-blame. He said: “The investigation is ongoing; and it likely will ultimately reveal why this happened.”
The Daily Mail reports that locals have spoke of their concerns about Mr Little being depressed as the family’s plans to build a house on the block had not come to plan.
“He [Damien] asked me to rip up his paddock around two years ago, but I had not really seen much work on their property since,’ neighbour Ashley Flint told The Daily Mail.
“He has been a little depressed for the past two years, but we thought he was coming good.”
A close friend of Mr Little told reporters “He was obviously struggling and was going through some terrible issues,” the friend said.
“Someone should have stepped in. He should have been supported.”
The portraits of Damien, his wife Melissa, 30, and their two young sons, Koda, 4 and 10-month-old Hunter were released by the family.
Anyone experiencing personal difficulties can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au