Doujon Zammit’s Parents Tell How Homicide Victims Support Group Helped Them Survive Son’s Murder

August 28, 2015 10:30am Cathy Morris, Parramatta Advertiser

IN THE face of unspeakable tragedy, the family of murdered Australian man Doujon Zammit turned to other survivors to find hope.

Rosemarie and Oliver Zammit were forced to make the horrific choice to turn off their 20-year-old son’s life support after he was bashed by a nightclub bouncer on the island of Mykonos in 2008.

They then had to deal with a complicated court case in a language they did not understand on the other side of the world.

Oliver and Rosemarie Zammitt will be attending a Homicide Victims Support Group picnic in Parramatta Park this weekend.

Throughout the whole ordeal, they received support from the Homicide Victims Support Group.

“I think with the group, you see other families, that are five years or 10 years from their loss and they’re surviving and that gives you hope and that’s what you need,” Mrs Zammit said.

“That’s what the group is about – giving hope to other families. You can survive. A lot of the time you think you’re not going to make it.”

The group, set up in 1993 by the parents of murder victims Anita Cobby and Ebony Simpson, provided a lifeline for the Zammits in their darkest days.

Mrs Zammit said with the help of the group and a counsellor, they were given the tools that helped them navigate the legal proceedings in Greece

“We had never had anything to do with the law, so everything was very foreign to us,” she said.

“Our counsellor gave us so many tools that we used even in the courtroom. One of the things we were taught was that, when it gets too overwhelming, to take our minds to a different place.”

Mrs Zammit said the first day of the trial there had been screaming and drama in the courtroom and they had used those skills that they had learnt to help their two young sons also get through the situation.

“The thing with your children is that because Ollie and I were getting help, we could help them,” she said.

The Zammits will be among the families taking part in the annual Homicide Victims Support Group picnic in Parramatta on ­Sunday. There will also be a motorcycle ride involving more than 150 emergency service workers.

“We are all there for the same reason – to find peace,” Ms Zammit said of the event.

Since their son’s death, the Zammits have also become passionate campaigners for organ donation.

They had discussed organ donation with their son just weeks before he died.

Doujon’s heart was donated to Greek-Australian journalist Kostas Gribilas pictured here with his wife Poppy. “It can be very hard to honour someone’s wishes because you’re sad, you’re so traumatised and you’re in shock,” Mrs Zammit said.

“It took a lot of strength for us to say yes and let go of hope of Doujon coming home and handing it over to another family who needed it for their loved one.”

Doujon’s heart was given to Greek-Australian journalist Kosta Gribila and the story of both families’ plights is told in a new book, Doujon’s Heart, due to be released this week.

Details: hvsgnsw.org.au.