Jon and Meryn O’Brien travelled from Old Toongabbie in western Sydney to hear in person the verdict of the judges at the Dutch high security court near Schiphol Airport which found three Russians guilty of downing the MH17.
After eight years they finally got the answers to the culpability of the atrocity which claimed the life of their 25-year-old son Jack, among the 298 passengers and crew who died on July 17, 2014. He was on his way home after the 2014 football World Cup when the aircraft was shot down.
They heard the decision in a small court spillover room along with representatives of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Federal Police. Speaking from outside the court she told the Herald and The Age she felt relieved and that the judgement had been very clear in stating it was a BUK missile brought across from the Russian Federation.
“Even as [the judgement] was happening, I just felt so sad, I don’t think it changes the sadness and the grief but I still think alongside that there is a relief that a line has been drawn under this part and it has been a very clear judgement after a very thorough and meticulous process,” she said. “It just puts it out there for anyone who wants to hear what happened, which I guess is what we thought all along.
“It has been sifted now and the court has given their judgement about these three particular middle-ranking people being responsible and it has put to rest all the ridiculous conspiracy theories. We had confidence in the process and feel it was a strong judgement. We are really grateful to the Joint Investigation Team, and the Dutch and Australian governments for seeing this process through because it was an enormous amount of work over eight years.”
Jack had just completed a grand tour during the 2014 World Cup, taking in Iceland, Paris and Moscow, and to “pay homage” in Barcelona and was on his journey home.
O’Brien added: “He was an avid football fan and every time the World Cup comes around … obviously we follow the Socceroos. We will follow it this time when it starts in Qatar and we have Jack’s Socceroos scarf which we hang on the television or put around our neck.”
Their daughter Bronwyn, Jack’s sister, is to meet up with them in the near future and also visit the memorial site.