‘Ashley wasn’t a monster’: South Hedland stabbing attacker’s mother speaks out — (Newsline)

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Newsline

with Heather McNeill

“We are really sorry for what’s happened,” Ms Fildes told 9 News Perth.

“I hope [the victims] heal. I believe they’re getting a lot of counselling.

“I can’t give the answers they seek. We are never going to find them, even for ourselves as parents.”

Ashley Fildes had been battling schizophrenia and depression but stopped taking his medication because he couldn’t cope with the side-effects.

He became erratic and unrecognisable, to the point where he was sent home from work for being too much of a risk just prior to the stabbing rampage, which only ended when the father of one was shot dead by police.

“He wouldn’t relent so the police did their job, and that was that,” Ms Fildes said.

“They are trained to do a job and that’s the job they did.

A horrified shopper photographed Ashley Fildes as he ran through South Hedland Square with a knife.Credit:Nine News Perth

“There is no blame at all. No anger.

“They’ve got a community to keep safe.”

Ms Fildes does however blame the system she said let her son and her family down, saying there was not enough support for families trying to keep loved ones with mental health issues on medication.

“He wanted to fix himself,” she said.

“He didn’t want medicine.”

And while it’s too late to save their son, the Fildes family is hoping to save others by developing a mental health first aid course that would help the community better understand the signs of mental illness.

And Ms Fildes wants her son to be remembered for more than his senseless rampage.

“Ashley wasn’t a monster,” she said.

“He had a huge smile, a big heart, threw himself into everything, loved his 4wd, fishing, growing chillies, eating chillies; he didn’t have a mean bone in his body.”

Premier Mark McGowan previously described the two officers involved in stopping the rampage as heroes.

“I spoke to both of the officers involved in the incident … and passed on the state’s gratitude and thanks to them for their heroics in dealing with an extremely dangerous situation in the shopping centre,” he said on May 3.

“It was extraordinary actually and they carried themselves with such courage and followed all the procedure and alike … it may well be the case they saved many lives through their actions the other day and I’d like to thank them for what they’ve done.”

 

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Parents of FIFO worker who stabbed seven innocent bystanders in shopping centre rampage ‘hold no grudges’ against the police officers who shot him dead — (DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA)

By LAUREN FERRI FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

PUBLISHED: 11:38 EDT, 4 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:40 EDT, 4 May 2020

Ashley Fildes was gunned down by police after the violent rampage on Friday

The 34-year-old, in hi-vis workwear, was seen pacing through a shopping centre

The rampage occurred at South Hedland Square in WA’s Pilbara region on Friday

His parents said they do not hold any grudges against the police who shot him

The parents of a FIFO worker who stabbed seven strangers with a large kitchen knife say they do not hold any grudges against the police officers who shot him dead.

Ashley Fildes, 34, embarked on the terrifying rampage at South Hedland in Western Australia – knifing five people inside the local shopping centre, plus a man at a nearby motel and another in a car at a McDonald’s carpark.

Officers opened fire on the father-of-one in what the police union described as a ‘textbook’ shooting, which was fatal.

Ashley Fildes, 34, was gunned down by police after stabbing seven shopper at South Hedland shopping centre in Western Australia on Friday.

In a statement to 7NEWS on Monday Fildes’ parents said their thoughts were with the victims and their families.

‘Our sympathy goes out to everyone in Hedland and all the victims, especially the man still in hospital,’ the parents said.

‘We hold no grudge against police.’

The father-of-one had been in an altercation with his boss just hours before the violent rampage, according to a distraught relative who did not want to be named.

Fildes had been suffering from a ‘deep depression’, his marriage had fallen apart and the AAA Asphalt worker had an altercation with his supervisor on the morning of the attack.

Following the dispute, a colleague drove Fildes from the work site and dropped him at the Lodge Motel where he had been staying. It was there the father-of-one grabbed the long knife and began his violent attack.

He chased motel staff and other guests with the knife before stabbing his first victim.

The 34-year-old, wearing high-vis workwear, can be seen pacing through the South Hedland shopping centre in Western Australia on Friday brandishing a large kitchen knife.

The violent rampage began at the Lodge Motel, where he was staying, before moving to the shopping centre

He then moved to the McDonald’s car park at the shopping centre where he stabbed a man in a car, before continuing through the mall and to Kmart.

Dramatic footage showed Fildes, who was dressed in hi-vis workwear, pacing through the centre brandishing the large kitchen knife.

The attack ended when Fildes was shot dead by police.

Major crime detectives are investigating the rampage in which seven people were stabbed, including a woman pushing her child in a pram.

They will seek to determine if Fildes experienced a psychotic episode. They are also waiting on a toxicology report to see if illicit drugs were a factor.

Fildes, who is the father of a young girl, was on his first week of a new FIFO swing.

David Derschow (pictured, right) said his girlfriend Esther Brooks (left) were stabbed by the knifeman on Friday morning at a Western Australian shopping centre

Esther Brooks (pictured) shared shocking pictures of her wound with Daily Mail Australia, after being stabbed in the back by a crazed stranger

His marriage had broken down in recent years and he suffered from depression.

A relative told The West Australian Fildes was a ‘beautiful, beautiful soul’ and the violent rampage was out-of-character.

‘He’s just not that kind of person. He’s just mellow and lovely. I know he had a lot of trauma in his life. The last few years have been really tough for him, but he’s not a violent person,’ she said.

‘There is just no way on this earth that Ashley could do something like this. He doesn’t hurt people — he helps people.

‘He was deeply depressed but never ever in my wildest dreams would I ever think he would hurt another human being.’

The stabbing rampage took place in South Hedland in northern Western Australia (pictured)

Pilbara district superintendent Kim Massam declined to comment on any potential motive for the attack or whether the offender had a history of drug use or mental health issues.

He said social media videos, as well as footage captured on CCTV and on police body-worn cameras, would form a key part of the investigation.

Up to 60 witnesses could be interviewed.

‘Those statements will be detailed,’ Supt Massam said.

‘They are there on behalf of our investigation for the coroner. The coroner will expect a thorough and intrusive investigation is undertaken in relation to the matter.

‘I think we’ll have a significant contingent of police officers and support staff in Hedland for the majority of this coming week.’