Emotional tributes from heart-broken relatives and friends have been read at the Hunt family inquest.
Kim Hunt’s mother, Heather Blake, wrote she had lost interest in almost everything as a result of the tragedy, while her sister, Jenny Geppert, said her life had been transformed forever.
Geoff Hunt’s brother Allen and sister-in-law Renae wrote in a statement read by Melissa Bebber they could only imagine the despair, pain and isolation he must have felt.
“We now live with the pain of regret that maybe we could have done more to help him,” they said.
Mrs Hunt’s cousin, Jane Blake, complained of the “obvious ineffectiveness of our mental health system” in relation to Mr Hunt, who is believed to have killed his family and himself with a shotgun in a murder-suicide.
She said equal support for main carers like Mr Hunt was totally unrecognised.
“Unfortunately, the balance of support was unequal,” she said.
“We consider this to be a significant contributing factor towards this tragedy.
“It is too late for our family, but ultimately it does not have to be for another.”
Choking back tears, Mrs Geppert said to members of Mr Hunt’s family sitting only a few metres away in the Wagga courtroom: “We have all suffered enough from this tragedy. I hope we can all consider each other with mutual respect and fairness in times to come”.
Heather Blake said she had lost half her family.
“I don’t draw, paint, play music or write poetry anymore,” Mrs Blake said.
Mrs Blake said her daughter was a wonderful mother and a dedicated nurse with much knowledge, empathy and a wicked sense of humour.
“Geoff was a good husband and father who was under great pressure with family responsibilities and outside occurrences,” Mrs Blake said.
Mrs Blake described her grandson Fletcher as a boisterous boy who loved animals and digging in the dirt.
“He was a very skilled motor bike rider and a potential footballer, kicking five goals the week before he was shot,” she said.
“Mia was such a sensitive, caring and intelligent child, artistic and an avid reader, the quiet achiever, a willing helper and a healthy food fanatic.
“Phoebe was a happy, talkative child always willing to help with chores and a passion for lollies.
They still laughed together and enjoyed many happy times together. This inquest has been but a mere snapshot of the worst times- Jenny Geppert
“These beautiful children never had the chance to grow up and reach their full potential.”
Mrs Geppert said she and her sister was “as close as they come”.
“I made her promise me once that she would never let anything happen to her because I couldn’t image how I’d live my life without her,” Mrs Geppert said.
“I wish she could have kept this promise.
“Now she is gone.”
She described her sister as an incredibly caring and considerate soul.
Mrs Geppert said the three Hunt children were not just neices and nephew to her.
“These children were an integral part of our lives,” she said.
“They were so full of life, and love and energy.
“We miss them dearly.”
Mrs Geppert stressed that while much of the evidence at the inquest focused on what had troubled the Hunt family, there was still happiness within them.
“Despite what has been presented here through specific medical reports, Kim and Geoff still enjoyed many happy times together pre and post-accident,” she said.
“They still laughed together and enjoyed many happy times together.
“This inquest has been but a mere snapshot of the worst times.”
Mrs Geppert described Mr Hunt as a “daredevil, a charming character, a perfectionist, a joker and extremely competitive.”
In their statement, Allen and Renae Hunt wrote: “Words cannot begin to express the deep sadness we feel regarding the tragic and sudden loss of our beloved family.”
“As we try to pick up the pieces of our shattered lives, we will look to memories of happier times shared with our precious family.
“Somewhere between right and wrong there is a garden, we will meet you there.”
Family friend Noreen Richards said Mrs Hunt was an outstanding individual whose level of personal integrity and moral standards stood high within the Lockhart community.
“Kim was a professional skilled intensive care nurse at Wagga Base Hospital and was highly regarded with the work colleagues,” she wrote
“However, Kim would believe her greatest achievements in life were being a wife to a loving husband Geoff and mother to three beautiful children, Fletcher, Mia and Phoebe.
“Although Kim had a severe brain injury her empathy and compassion never changed towards people.”
Please call any of the following numbers if you or someone you know requires help:
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.