Tom McLuckie remembers every movement he made the morning he found out his son was killed in a head-on collision.
It was 7 am on Friday (20 May) when Tom opened the fridge as he prepared his morning coffee.
“I noticed his dinner. It was still in the fridge. He’d come home from work and heat it up [but] it was still there,” he said.
“I looked out the window and his car wasn’t there … I joked with my wife ‘maybe he’s got a girlfriend’, because he was very private.”
Matthew was driving home from work on Hindmarsh Drive on Thursday night (19 May) when he was hit by a speeding car on the wrong side of the road.
But the thought something bad had happened didn’t enter Tom’s mind as he called the 20-year-old to see if he had decided to spend the night at his mother’s house.
“I phoned him at twenty-past-seven, saying, ‘hey son, I’m just wondering if you went home to your mum’s’. Then I texted Amanda, his mum, saying ‘did maybe Matt come to yours?'” Tom said.
“I jumped in the shower to get ready for work and a man turned up at the door.
“It was the police.”
The Scotland-born Matthew was completing an Advanced Computing degree at ANU and worked at Canberra Airport.
Tom described his son as a “home bird” who loved his family and had no plans to leave them.
“I had a chat with him about two months ago. I said, ‘Matt, do you want to, when you finish university, spend a year travelling and visit your cousins?’
“[Matthew] didn’t want that. He just wanted to be around those he loved and his family.”
It’s believed the car that smashed into Matt’s was taking part in a street race. Police are still searching for a third vehicle and its driver.
It’s something Tom has struggled to comprehend, describing the actions that led to his son’s death as “senseless”.
“We’ve all done stupid things, but that to me is just wilful and purposeful recklessness,” he said.
“If you want to wrap your car around a tree and kill yourself, great, but deliberately driving up the wrong side of the road at those kinds of speeds, you’re not giving another person a choice.
“I think you’ve murdered my son.”
The female driver of the other car was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. No charges have been laid at this time.
Tom pleaded with the driver of the third car, and those who might know the person behind the wheel, to come forward.
“Think about the people whose hearts you’ve broken,” he said.
“Take responsibility for what you did. Come forward, give us some justice, give us some peace.”
Tom and his family have left flowers for Matthew on the bend of Hindmarsh Drive where he was killed.
They are deeply grateful for the support they’ve received from friends and the Canberra community, but Tom said the mornings were the hardest.
“You wake up and it’s the first thing you think about,” he said.
“You think about the accident. You think, ‘he was all alone on Hindmarsh Drive’.”
Tom urged all parents to take every moment they could to let their children know they are loved, as you cannot know if they will walk through the front door again.
“Always tell them you love them, give them a cuddle when you can, even when they turn their back and they get embarrassed, just always show how much you love them,” he said.
Matthew’s family has been given some remnants from the crash – a broken red P-plate, smashed lights and a parking stub from his university.
“That’s all that’s left of our son,” Tom said.
“A broken body in the coroner’s office. Bits of car on the side of the road.”
But Tom chooses to hold on to happier memories of Matthew. In particular, the first day the family arrived in Australia when Matthew was two years old, jet-lagged and having breakfast in Circular Quay.
“He was just a beautiful, happy little boy. That will always stay with me. I’ll always think of that first day in Australia,” he said.
“He’s beautiful and I’m going to miss him so much.”
Anyone who has dash-cam footage of the crash, captured any vehicle driving in an unusual manner in the area around the time of the collision or with any information about the incident, is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Quote reference number P2075137.
Original Article published by Claire Fenwicke on Riotact.