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Town rocked by rugby star's mystery suicide

by Erlinda Bignold (2020-10-13)


A small country town was rocked by a promising football player's mystery suicide sparking a tragic chain of events that culminated in his mother taking her own life four months later.

Billy Hale, 21, was a fit, healthy young man who was a star player for his local team in Goolgowi, 50km out of Griffith in central New South Wales. 

He had just finished a plumbing apprenticeship, was in a relationship with a beautiful young woman and has been described as the 'life of the party'.

But on March 28 the popular 21-year-old unexpectedly took his own life.

'On the morning of Saturday, March 28, the heartbreaking news we had lost such a bright shining star begin to shatter the world of his family, and friends,' his dad Geoff, 47, wrote on Facebook.

Billy Hale, 21, (pictured middle with his dad Geoff and mum Donna) was a fit, healthy young man who was a star player for his local team in Goolgowi, 50km out of Griffith in central New South Wales

He had just finished a plumbing apprenticeship, was in a relationship with a beautiful young woman and was often called the 'life of the party' (Billy is pictured with his mum Donna)

Geoff often posts touching tributes to his son, expressing his shock and how much he misses Billy. 

'My baby boy, my best mate, WHY? We all loved you so much,' he wrote the day Billy took his own life.

'We will never ever understand it mate, but you must have had your reasons.' 

Geoff often said the family had been 'broken' by the loss of his 'perfect son'.

The family lay Billy to rest on April 11 at his beloved football field with Geoff posting the eulogy online for those who couldn't make it due to COVID-19 restrictions.

'Football became his greatest passion, and even at the age of 21 he was rarely seen without one even outside of playing, and training,' he said.

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'"Billy the kid" showed great potential at rugby league.'

Geoff described Billy as having a 'great, big, kind, beautiful heart' that flourished in high school as he always 'considered other people's feelings'.  

'Bill-Bo would jump to anyone's aid in a flash, he would never ever consider harming a living thing, and his kind-hearted nature would also see him be held in high regard by the majority of his peers,' he said.

'Anyone that had anything at all to do with him was undoubtedly all the better for it.

'Younger kids just looked up to him.'

Geoff and his wife Donna had to identify their son's body, and it was that moment that sparked her spiral into darkness

The mystery of the successful young man's death shocked his family and sparked a shocking chain of events that left the small-knit country town of Goolgowi reeling

Geoff told there were no signs that anything was wrong, with Billy leaving no note behind.

The mystery of the young man's death shocked his family and sparked a chain of events that left the small-knit country town of Goolgowi reeling.

'There was not a thing with Billy, everyone thought he led a perfect life, young boys idolised him, wanted to be him,' Geoff said. 

Billy had been dropped home after a night out with friends when half an hour later he was dead - no one knows how or why.

Geoff said the hardest part was cleaning out his house as there was nothing to be found there or in his phone.

'I've talked to so many of his friends that were with him that night and his partner, but there was just nothing, not a thing,' the devastated father said.

'On the morning of Saturday, March 28, the heartbreaking news we had lost such a bright shining star begin to shatter the world of his family, and friends,' his dad Geoff, 47, wrote on Facebook

Geoff and his wife Donna had to identify their son's body, and it was that moment that sparked her spiral into darkness.

Donna was 'destroyed' by her son's death and constantly posted on social media about how much she missed Billy. 

'I miss you sooo much my baby and would love to hold you tight, I'd make sure you'd never be alone again at night, I'd keep you safe, and heal your heart, I'd do anything for you if it ment (sic) you didn't have to part,' she wrote on July 14.

Just eight days later on July 22 Donna took her own life in the middle of the night.

Geoff thinks that having no answers about Billy's death is what prompted his wife of 29 years to commit suicide.

He believed his wife wouldn't have wanted to leave her family but 'she couldn't recover from losing her son'.

While the family did counselling together Geoff thinks his wife had already made her decision as she had been struggling with mourning Billy.

Geoff said she appeared to be the 'strongest' out of all of them but it is now evident she was masking the pain. Should you loved this article and you would want to receive more details about you'll be working with a seasoned professional capable of meeting your needs and fully committed to exceeding your expectations. Choosing us for your plumbing and comfort needs also means you'll benefit from: (Www.businessrater.com) generously visit the website.  

On July 22 Donna (pictured with Geoff) took her own life in the middle of the night

Geoff thinks that having no answers about Billy's death is what prompted his wife of 29 years to commit suicide 

Geoff repeatedly posts to Facebook in tribute of his wife Donna, who took her own life

Donna posted a poem on Facebook on July 4 which read: 'To have and to hold you, I wish I could again, just to see you and hear you might just help my pain. The hurt is so hard, it will never go away, I need you and miss you every single day. I love you my baby boy Billy'.

On July 22 Donna hadn't gone to bed and Geoff feared the worst.  

Donna was found down at Billy's football field - the same place they held his 21st birthday and his funeral.

'There is an easy way out, but the devastation that is left behind, I can only think they were not in their right frame of mind, they knew the damage that is left behind and Donna knew that especially, she could not have done it if she was in the right frame of mind,' Geoff said.

The family moved to Goolgowi, with a population of just 260, 17 years ago when they took out a five year lease of the pub.

Geoff said they fell in love with the little town and made so many friends they decided to stay.

Now the Goolgowi community has been left devastated by both deaths and have rallied behind the family with residents coming together to find better services for people who are struggling. 

For confidential support call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

For domestic violence support call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)