YOUNG classmates of seven-year-old Barcelona terror attack victim Julian Cadman are still unable to comprehend what has happened to their friend.
Early this morning Australian time, Julian was formally confirmed as one of the 14 people killed in a terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain.
Julian’s mother Jom is recovering in a Barcelona hospital, while her husband Andrew, who arrived into Barcelona from Sydney on Saturday, is by her side.
He was in Year Two at St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School in Lalor Park
Parent Doug Miggins said his six-year-old daughter Pearl, who was in the same grade but a different class to Julian, noticed his picture appear while watching television on Saturday.
“She just wanted to know why he was on the news,’’ Mr Miggins said.
“She knows Julian has died and that he was in Spain and some bad men were responsible. I think that’s all the kids need to understand.
“I never knew the parents very well, I’ve met them once or twice but it just brings it home. It’s hard even when you’re on holidays, no one’s really safe.’’
His devastated family have paid tribute to Julian in a heartbreaking statement.
“Julian was a much loved and adored member of our family. As he was enjoying the sights of Barcelona with his mother, Julian was sadly taken from us,” the statement released by Foreign Affairs officials said.
“He was so energetic, funny and cheeky, always bringing a smile to our faces. We are so blessed to have had him in our lives and will remember his smiles and hold his memory dear to our hearts.
“We would like to thank all those who helped us in searching for Julian. Your kindness was incredible during a difficult time. We also acknowledge we are not the only family to be affected by the events, our prayers and thoughts are with all people affected.”
Mr Miggins had just left a morning tea and assembly with other parents and students who embraced each other as they grieved.
“The principal talked about what happened and prayers and thoughts for the family,’’ Mr Miggins said.
“We can all feel for the parents. They’ve got a real tough patch ahead.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of support for parents over the coming week and that’s going to extend to the parish church. Everyone’s going to want to support them; the school’s good like that.’’
Mr Miggins said St Bernadette’s parish gathered for Sunday Mass when prayers were offered Julian and his family ahead of confirmation he had died.
Speaking outside the school this morning, mother Karuna Nicodemus said her son Manus played regularly with Julian and was “still not able to understand” what had happened.
“We saw him every day with his grandmother at the bus stop,” Mrs Nicodemus said.
“The children are really upset because it’s very sudden news. They play together; it’s very sad,” she said.
“As a mother I can’t explain how horrible it is. It’s such a devastating experience, such a lovely boy. You’re scared even to go to public places. “
“Julian was a very playful boy.”
Grappling with how to help its students understand the death, the school held a special assembly paying tribute to the “lively and spirited” Julian.
“Teachers are speaking to children in their stage groups, and counsellors are on hand today and in fact all week,” the Catholic Education Diocese’s Mark Rix said.
“Today the staff came together early to support each other. They are obviously devastated.
“He was a little boy who would give his teachers a hug every day when he arrived at school, he was much loved.
“It’s a terrible day in this community, they are feeling it deeply. Julian is a beautiful little boy, he’s in year two and has been here since kindergarten.
“It is very challenging for adults to comprehend, let alone children. We will do our very best to make it as easy as possible for them,” he said, adding that the school has called in specialist counsellors in the wake of his death.
“The community is staying together and trying to support each other at this very challenging time.”
The Miggins family was in Paris shortly after the November 2015 attacks when armed security dominated the streets.
“It brought it home because we had a lot of the army guys walking around the metro with their machine guns,’’ Mr Miggins said.
“My daughter was walking around hugging my legs.
“I think that’s the thing with kids — you can’t hide it away. We have to make them aware and understand.’’
The Girraween Eagles football club has paid tribute to the seven-year-old on its Facebook page.
“Sadly not the outcome we were hoping for on this and our thoughts are with family and friends and the St Bernadette’s community,” the club wrote.
“Please remember children can react in a range of ways to grief and take note of advice from schools and counsellors on ways to discuss this sad news.”
Club president Paul Thoms said that while Julian didn’t play for the club, many of his classmates and friends did.
“We put that up out of respect,” he explained.
St Bernadette’s also paid tribute to him on Facebook yesterday, with the school posting about his death.
“Today we have received the very sad news that Julian Cadman, a Year 2 student here at St Bernadette’s, lost his life in the attack in Barcelona last Thursday evening,” the school wrote.
Parents from the school were quick to share their grief.
“that is soo sad. God speed to all the family,” wrote Leigh Filipakis.
“Our thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of this dear little man may he rest in peace,” added Jodee Vincent.
Actors Rob Shehadie and Melissa George joined a chorus of people across the globe mourning the Australian boy.
“Rest in peace little guy,” Shehadie wrote on an Instagram photo of Julian.
“Killing this young boy and all those innocent victims was just wrong,” he added.
“Sweet beautiful boy #juliancadman #rip,” wrote George.
Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali said Julian’s death deeply touched the city.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with Andrew, the father, and the family as they go through this harrowing time,” he said.
“Julian, you were much loved member of our local community those life were tragically cut short, may you rest in peace.”
Greenway federal Labor MP Michelle Rowland said heaven had a new angel and Julian would live on in so many hearts and minds.
“The pain and despair of his parents is unimaginable,’’ Ms Rowland said.
“For his class mates and teachers at St Bernadette’s Primary School Lalor Park, this is a tragedy they would never have anticipated.
“The once easily understood concept that our children are safe in our care is shattered at times like this, when we are confronted by the reality of evil people committing atrocities against the innocent.
“The thoughts and prayers of all Australians are with Julian’s family.”
Executive director of Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Greg Whitby said the school community was “feeling his loss deeply”.
“Julian was a delightful little boy — curious and energetic with a kind and generous heart. He was much loved by his teachers and fellows students,” he said.
“Together with the St Bernadette’s community, we pray for Julian’s family, particularly his mother Jumarie who was seriously injured in the attack, his father Andrew, and for all those affected by this terrible event.”
Mr Whitby said the Diocese would provide the family and the school community with assistance.
“Counsellors will be at the school this week, and for as long as they are needed, to support students and staff,” he said.
The Civil Safety Agency of Catalan also confirmed one Australian-British dual national child, along with one Italian and one Belgian, had been confirmed deceased.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday, August 20, announced plans to protect the public from vehicle attacks by extremists. During the press conference he said Sydney boy Julian Cadman was still missing after the Barcelona attack. Turnbull listed the Barcelona van attacks, Bourke Street attack and London Bridge attack as catalysts for his new “Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism”, to be rolled out to venue owners and councils across the country. Turnbull stated a good example of crowd safety was bollards placed at Pitt St Mall in Sydney, preventing cars from entering the pedestrian thoroughfare. Turnbull stated the new strategy was available online and included an audit and tools for venue owners to evaluate their property’s safety and vulnerabilities. “The best mitigations are done at the design stage,” Turnbull said. The strategy can be downloaded here. Credit: The PMO via Storyful
Australian PM Turnbull Announces Public Safety Plans After Recent Attacks, confirms Australian Boy Still Missing in Barcelona. Credit — The PMO via Storyful
Australian and British consular officials are assisting Mr and Mrs Cadman, and several family members have arrived in Barcelona to support them.