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Sunday 22 September 2019

Family who lost son in house fire cause €67k damage to luxury home businessman rented for them

Roman Campbell (2) who died in a house fire
Credit:Facebook/Logan House Fire Support Network
Roman Campbell (2) who died in a house fire Credit:Facebook/Logan House Fire Support Network

Sarah-Jane Murphy

A couple who lost their young son in a house fire are alleged to have trashed the luxury holiday home that a generous businessman rented on their behalf after hearing of the tragedy.

The generous billionaire mining magnate, Clive Palmer, could now face a repair bill of $100,000 (€67,060).

The story of Jaryd Campbell and Belinda Warwick triggered a nationwide outpouring of sympathy in Australia when they lost their two-year-old son Roman and all their possessions in a house fire in Brisbane in May 2015.

One of the many people who assisted the couple in their time of need was Mr Palmer, who undertook to pay $1000 (€670) a week in rent for a luxury Gold Coast home for them and their remaining four children.

When the lease on the property ended this week the real estate agent carried out an inspection of the home and estimated the damage to be in the region of $100,000 (€67,060).

Mr Palmer said the situation was "disappointing", however, he said it was important to remember they had suffered an extraordinary tragedy.

"It's a little bit disappointing that people have acted that way when we sought to help them.

"But we have to remember these people are under great stress and we'll do all that we can to restore the house.

"To lose a small child like that will put your life in great chaos. We have to do what we can.

"I don't think people should regard this incident where we should stop trying to help people who need our help and support," he said.

Louie Naumovski, founder of the Logan House Fire Support Network, the charity that sourced the home following little Roman's death, said the state of the house was "extremely disappointing".

"All of Australia, they were touched by this and its very disappointing this is the outcome after six months," he told 4BC Radio.

"People grieve in different ways but this is not acceptable."

In addition to the damage to the house, the family abandoned boxes of toys and other goods donated to them by people touched by their story, along with two cats, which had soiled the floors.

A car Mr Palmer had donated was also damaged and left behind, also filled with donated items.

Mr Naumovski said the charity had decided that the remaining funds donated to the family would be put towards the repair costs.

However, he said the funds were unlikely to cover the repairs that were required.

"We will meet the owner this afternoon to basically reassure them their beautiful home will be presented the way they left it before they went overseas," Mr Naumovski said.

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