IT’S hot and tense in Coolbellup.
Days after the seemingly random murder of Ian Bosch at a Cordelia Avenue bus stop, there’s a palpable sense of anxiety at the local shopping centre across the road. A police forensics team searching for the murder weapon among the balga trees on Coolbellup Avenue’s hot and dusty verge is clearly stirring the disquiet.
“I heard about it, my friends are talking about it, but I don’t want anything to do with it,” a woman says, bowing her head and repeatedly pushing her hands away as if the physical act might banish the memory.
“It’s creepy, I just keep away from there,” she says, looking towards Cordelia Avenue.
Unsurprisingly, nobody wants their name used.
“George” arrives at the bus stop to add three red roses to a small memorial locals have created since Mr Bosch’s death at 7.30am last Saturday morning.
“They’re a bit wilted, but it’s better than nothing,” George says.
He didn’t know the victim but like others who’ve left messages he says it’s about sticking together. One note held down by a pot of geraniums begs the culprit to hand themselves in so the community can understand why it happened, another mentions prayers for Mr Bosch’s two young children. “Stay strong Cooby people,” someone’s written in texta along the bus stop’s metal frame.
“I’ve lived here all my life, and even I can’t find out anything,” George says, although he’s picked up that Mr Bosch may have been on his way to pick up one of his children from a sleepover when he was killed.
He’d also been harbouring a theory about a local bloke he’d heard about threatening to cut someone’s throat, but after seeing CCTV of the moments before Mr Bosch’s stabbing, decides the murderer is probably too tall to be the same bloke.
There’s been plenty of theories around the suburb which have spilled over to the Facebook page Cooby Now, much of which local Labor MP Peter Tinley says is “wild speculation”.
Mr Tinley wants locals to let the police do their job.
“People are threatening each other on there and claiming this and that, but it’s not helping anyone,” he says.
“I not only feel sorry for the victim, but for the community, as this kind of incident is not commonplace in the suburb and the crime stats back that up.
Call for calm
“The way some of the media have treated the residents down there is shocking and I’m calling for calm right now – from all parties.”
George agrees with Mr Tinley that Coolbellup has been unfairly portrayed as down and out.
While he admits his first thought after hearing the police sirens on Saturday morning was “another drug bust” he says the suburb’s far more genteel than a decade ago, with young, professional families moving in to take advantage of its large but affordable blocks.
by STEVE GRANT and STEPHEN POLLOCK