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Grieving father of 13-year-old boy who died crashing a stolen car has hit back at online trolls

The grieving father of a 13-year-old boy who died in a horror car crash has lashed out at online trolls who tried to blame him for the incident.                          

Troubled teenager Bailey Pini died instantly after slamming the stolen car into a tree at an intersection in Bowen, North Queensland, last Wednesday. 

The vehicle rolled and caught fire, but Bailey's 14-year-old friend in the passenger seat was pulled from the wreckage alive and taken to Townsville University Hospital. 

The boy's father Jonathon Philpott hit back at trolls on Wednesday who criticised his decision to put the boy into the care of the state as he grieved the death of his mother. 

The father of Bailey Pini (pictured) has hit back at online trolls who criticised his ability as a parent after he decided to put the troublesome teen into the care of the state

Mr Philpott said he had been inundated with insults from hundreds of trolls, judging him and his family as they struggle to come to terms with the tragedy. 

One comment in particular stood out to the devastated father, which criticised him for visiting his local pub on the day after he learned of his son's death. 

Mr Philpott said the family tried everything to pull Bailey into line, from trialing the teenager with total freedom as well as disciplining him with tough love. 

After the death of Bailey's beloved mother Sonia, 54, who lost her battle with cervical cancer last July, the teenager lived with his father in Airlie Beach but constantly ran away.

The father said the decision to move the teen into a foster home had come as a last resort and was always going to be a temporary measure. 

'The whole family made the decision together, and we all agreed that we would review things in a few months' time,' Mr Philpott said.


Bailey Pini, 13, (right) who died in a horror fireball when he crashed a stolen car into a tree on Wednesday was nursing a broken heart after cancer killed his mother, Sonia, 54 (pictured)

Mr Philpott said the loveable but traumatised teenager struggled to let anyone in after he lost his mother, despite being cherished by everybody. 

'It was like he didn't want to be loved. The harder you tried, the more he'd push you away', he explained.

He said his tight-knit family had fallen victim to the blame game, naturally asking themselves if they could have done more to stop Bailey spiralling out of control. 

'I keep going over it, and the more I do, the more I beat myself up', he said. 

Mr Philpott said he struggled to look at Bailey's personal items like his fishing rod without being reminded of their father-son outings from happier times. 

He is still waiting for his son's remains to be returned to his family so they can officially lay the teenager to rest.  

The young boy's older sister Troydon Pini, 30, previously told Daily Mail Australia Bailey had watched his mother slowly lose her battle with terminal cervical cancer. 

'She was barely eating, in bed the whole time and because of Covid, we were home-schooling so he was home all the time', she explained. 

'He watched her decline and slip away, first hand, until I couldn't cope any more physically and mentally with what was about to happen so she had to go into hospital.

His father said Bailey Pini (pictured) struggled to let anyone in after the death of his mother, despite being loved by everybody

'When I told him she had died, I grabbed him in my arms and I was crying - and this is how big a heart he had - he hugged me so tight and kept it together himself.

'He told me: 'It's all right, we're going to be okay because we have each other.' 

'And that just blew me away, because I thought, I'm the adult, you're the child and you are trying to comfort me when I should be the one to comfort you.' 

Bailey was described as a little tearaway who would sneak into the lolly jar but loved fishing and studying the stars in the night sky and telling his family random facts about the solar system.

But in the wake of his mother's death in July, his behaviour went downhill.

'He was always a bit mischievous - but he wasn't criminal', Troydon said. 

'He had never even driven before he went into that home, never mind steal a car. I don't know how he made it as far as he did before he crashed.'  

Bailey's parents split up when he was a baby and for eight months after his mother's death, he lived with his sister and her four daughters, but struggled to fit in with her family's routines.

After he ran away from his sister's home, he moved in with one older brother and then another before being taken into residential care last month when none of the family could look after him any longer. 

'We actually thought it would do him good,' said Troydon. 'We thought he'd have to abide by rules and it would be a wake up call for him.

'But it wasn't. He was only in there for a month and shared it with three other 14-year-old boys - but he liked it for the wrong reasons.' 

'I am 100 per cent certain that Bailey hadn't driven before he got to that house,' said Troydon. 'I don't know if that was the very first time he drove.'

His body has now been flown to Brisbane for formal identification by his dental records while his family plan his funeral.

Bailey Pini is believed to have stolen the car from Sarina around 4am last Wednesday but crashed into a tree in nearby Bowen around 6.45am. Pictured: A tribute at the crash scene

'Because he was so severely burnt in the accident, they couldn't do much in Townsville,' said Troydon. 

'Once we get his body back, we plan to have him cremated and bury his ashes with his mother on the anniversary of her burial on July 3.' 

Teachers and pupils at Bailey's Sarina State High School have been offered counselling as they deal with their grief at the teenager's death.

Principal Jane Grieger said: 'Our thoughts and sincere sympathies go out to both their families, carers, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.'

The 14-year-old passenger remains in a stable condition at the Townsville University Hospital.  

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