Trinity’s best friend Lily McCormack at Gooburrum State School.
Trinity’s best friend Lily McCormack at Gooburrum State School. DARRYN SMITH

Emotion flows for Trinity

GOOBURRUM State School principal Halli Cantrell looked at the little faces of her pupils and prepared to utter the most difficult words in her teaching career.

Tears welled in Ms Cantrell’s eyes as she told Trinity Bates’s classmates their eight-year-old friend had been murdered.

“Little children shouldn’t have to hear this information, but we’ve done it as delicately as possible,” she said.

“We obviously feel very deeply for the parents and family.”

Among the pupils is best friend Lily McCormack, who is struggling to come to terms with why “Trini” will not be there to celebrate her seventh birthday next week.

It’s even more difficult to comprehend because she saw her friend just last Saturday, smiling and laughing at the birthday party of Lily’s three-year-old sister.

The youngster told the NewsMail she had happy memories of her friend.

“I liked it when she painted with me,” Lily said.

“We played with our guitars and made up our own songs.”

Lily’s mother Maree Hall described the murdered eight-year-old as a lovable little girl who would meet her at the front school gate, wanting to hug and kiss her younger children.

They weren’t to know Saturday’s birthday party was the last time they would ever laugh with the bubbly youngster.

“Our deepest sympathies (go to the family),” Ms Hall said.

“I know nothing we can say can make it better, but we love them and we’re thinking of them.”

Ms Hall said Lily had been withdrawn after hearing the news. Former Gooburrum student Danielle Vickers, who said she felt like Trinity’s older sister, clutched a small bouquet of flowers and described the eight-year-old’s caring personality.

“She was always happy,” she said.

“She got a necklace for her birthday and gave it to me.

“I said ‘I can’t take it, I can’t take it’, but she wouldn’t take it back.”

The principal said relief teachers and guidance officers were at the school from yesterday to help the students deal with the tragic loss.

“It’s almost like what has happened is a nightmare situation for the children,” Ms Cantrell said.

“They are asking things like, ‘is our house safe?’”

A new building opened at the school yesterday and has become a shrine for the eight-year-old student who loved to sing.

Classmates have posted letters and other mementos on the walls and it has become a room where they can go to reflect on the life of their friend.

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