20 years on, mother remembers fallen Gosnells policeman Peter Ball
“HE was fine, he was happy, we waved and he said ‘bye mum, I love you’ – and that was the last thing he ever said to me.”
It has been 20 years since Constable Peter Ball was killed while arresting a suspected car thief in Cannington, but the pain still lingers for his mother.
A passing vehicle struck the Gosnells police officer as he restrained one of the suspects and he died during surgery in the early hours of August 7 1998.
Lesley York still remembers her son’s last visit on the day he died, receiving the news he’d been in an accident and being at the hospital when he passed away.
“He was on the afternoon shift and he came at lunch with his daughter,” she said.
“I used to look after her until his wife finished work when he was on an afternoon shift.
“He brought her here, he had lunch and then off he went and that was the last time I saw him.”
Time may have passed, but Mrs York said her son’s death would stay with her forever.
“It doesn’t go away. Never. You learn to live with it because you have to, you get on with your life because that’s what we have to do, but this time of the year is a hard time,” she said.
“He was my first born and I’ll miss him until the day I die.”
Mrs York said her son was passionate about his job and had a caring soul.
“I met an old Aboriginal lady not long after Peter was killed and she said ‘He was a good man. He brought my grandson home one day, he was in trouble and he just brought him home,’” she said.
“That’s the kind of guy he was, he took the kid home instead of charging him.”
Const Ball was firmly entrenched in the local community, having attended Gosnells High School and moved into a house a couple of streets away from the one he grew up in.
His mother said he was a family-oriented man who would often pop in to say hello during shifts.
“He would pull up here if he was in the area with a police car, and say ‘hi, what’s in the fridge’,” she said.
“He’d raid the fridge for him and his mate and off again he’d go.”
A remembrance service was held at Gosnells Police Station on Tuesday to mark the 20th anniversary of Const Ball’s death.
His widow Tracey and his 21-year-old daughter Brianna, who was only 18 months old when he died, were among the attendees.