Tribute to murdered children

By Adam Harvey

THE worst has passed. There was no time for anger at the funeral of Peter Poulson and his two young grandchildren yesterday - there was room only for grief, love and even a little laughter.

Mourners wore tri-coloured ribbons: blue for Sebastian (Bas) Kongsom, 23 months, teal for Peter Poulson, 60, and pink for Marilyn (Malee) Kongsom, 4.
Bas and Malee were murdered by their father, Phithak Kongsom, last Monday. Mr Poulson was stabbed when he tried to save the children. Kongsom killed himself.

Bas's yellow toy truck sat on a graveside table beside a pair of blue gumboots. Next to it, on another trestle table, was Mr Poulson's rural fire service uniform and hard hat.

In the early moments of the service, three emergency service helicopters flew in formation above the 400 mourners at Springwood cemetery.

The children's mother, Ingrid Poulson, was at the funeral but did not speak. She wrote an address that was read to mourners by her mother, Janice Poulson.

Malee was loving, and fiercely protective of her little brother, wrote Ms Poulson. She was also a mirror of her mother.

"I don't know where one of us ended and the other began," wrote Ms Poulson.

Bas was a generous little boy, full of enthusiasm and energy, mourners heard.

"Bas was great at escaping," wrote his mother. "As soon as you were distracted, he'd bolt for the doors, shoes on or not. You'd always find him outside racing his yellow truck or sitting in his grandpa's truck."

Things in the house weren't broken - they were "Bas-ed". One of his favourite games was to grab an egg from the fridge, say "egg" and throw it on the floor.

He helped adjust the appearance of his Uncle Damian's car - by banging it with a spanner.

"But you could never stay angry with Bas for long," Damian said yesterday.

His contrite little pout won everyone over.

Bas inherited much of his personality from his grandfather, mourners said. Peter Poulson had the same restless enthusiasm. He had worked at everything from coal mines to ice-cream making to academia and fire fighting.

He had a philosophy on everything from parachuting to rock climbing to bypassing the bureaucrats who stood in his way.

He could help world-weary young men see the bright side of their situation. He believed his daughters were capable of anything, and he always made his children proud.

A friend spoke of arriving home to find Mr Poulson chopping vegetables for dinner. He'd take a short break to chat to his audience.

"An hour later, the vegetables still wouldn't be ready, but you knew a lot more about what Peter was thinking," the friend said.

Mr Poulson was about to launch into another career, as a public speaker, said daughter Becky.

He would have attacked it with the same enthusiasm as the rest of his life, and he would have been a great comfort this week.

"All I can think about at the moment is, 'I want my dad, I want my dad'," she said.

Ingrid Poulson finished her speech with a direct address to her children: "I thank you for giving me so much joy. I have lost a part of myself but I will never lose the love that you gave me."

She threw two flowers onto the children's shared coffin, and a lily into the grave of her father.

© Herald and Weekly Times