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Brave: 50 Everyday Acts of Courage to Thrive in Work, Love and Life by Margie Warrell

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—Chapter 40—

A period of great sadness in my life — and that of my family — began and ended with a phone call. I took the first one with my six-month-old daughter Madelyn on my hip. It was my mum on the other end of the phone. Her voice sounded shaken. She was speaking slowly. Too slowly. My youngest brother Peter, 20, was being detained in the Melbourne Remand Centre on robbery and assault charges. He'd been arrested by the police the day before. Twice. In one day. The first time for assaulting an elderly man and stealing his sunglasses. The second for attacking a young construction worker who was still in hospital after being injured while running away from Peter across a construction lot.

Disbelief. That's all I felt initially. Then horror. Pete, 10 years my junior, had been a bit slack when it came to his studies at university. He could be messy. He could be unreliable. But he certainly wasn't the kind of person who would beat up an elderly man or steal sunglasses off someone's head. It just couldn't be true. But the facts pointed otherwise: serious charges had been filed against him and he was locked in a jail cell.

In the days that followed we heard fragmented and incredulous stories about the mafia. How he'd been ordered to do what he did. It appeared to make sense to Pete. Not to us. A court-appointed lawyer mentioned the word ‘psychotic'. They would enter an insanity ...

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