Detective Sergeant Mary Waugh.
Detective Sergeant Mary Waugh. FILE

Murder shocks retired officer

DESPITE 37 years in the police service — 33 of them in the Child Protection Investigation Unit — former Detective Sergeant Mary Waugh was horrified over the abduction and murder of eight-year-old Bundaberg girl Trinity Bates this week.

“For something like this to happen in a place like Bundaberg is really shocking,” she said.

“I go back 30-odd years in the police and we had some shocking things, but I can’t recall anything like this.”

She said there had been murders of children in Bundaberg before.

However, she said she could recall nothing of this nature.

“This has brought the focus on to Bundaberg, but it’s not the kind of focus we really want,” she said.

“This is a very tragic thing to happen and it has a devastating effect on the community.

“I just can’t imagine that something like this can happen.”

Ms Waugh said her thoughts went out to the family of the murdered girl and to the police officers taking part in the investigation.

“Many of them would have children, but they have a job to do and I know they will be very professional doing it,” she said.

She said although Bundaberg was a city, it was a small one and the community was very close-knit.

“This is devastating for the parents, I can only imagine what they’re going through,” she said.

Ms Waugh joined the police service in Mundubbera nearly four decades ago, but spent the majority of her career working in Bundaberg.

After a short time in the traffic unit she found her niche working with troubled youths in the child protection unit.

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