Cobram stabbing prompts talks of racial tension 

THE Moira Council is taking steps to counter talk of racial tension in Cobram after this month’s stabbing death of Hayden Atkinson-Thring.

It will hold a public support session tomorrow that police hope will combat social media commentary about the killing.

Mr Atkinson-Thring, 20, was killed outside a Cobram service station two weeks ago and Raad Kamil Ajil, 27, of Cobram, has been charged with his murder.

Police, including Wangaratta police Inspector Dave Ryan, and representatives from Primary Care Connect, Mission Australia, Uniting Care Cutting Edge and Family Care will attend the support session.

Insp Ryan said Mr Atkinson-Thring’s death was an example of a violent incident that could rock communities to the core.

Insp Ryan said those leading the session would take the opportunity to warn young people to think before they posted on social media about Mr Atkinson-Thring’s death.

“It has the capacity to impact on trials,” he said.

“The whole idea of the session is to reassure people. While we can’t talk specifics of this incident, what we can do is point out that this is not an issue that ought to be on-going in the community,” Insp Ryan said.

“It’s a highly isolated situation and the tension between our particular groups in the community is not an issue.

“The Afghani community is affected and the family are certainly at pains to dismiss any notions of racial involvement in this in any way.”

Moira Council’s youth development officer Maryanne Ryan said the session would provide the means for young people and parents to access help they needed on a confidential basis.

“If anyone has concerns about a young person who may have been affected, this session provides an opportunity to hear about the various support services available,” Ms Ryan said.

Ms Ryan said those who saw the fight involving Mr Atkinson-Thring and others who needed more support were encouraged to attend the session.

Tomorrow’s forum will be held from 10am to 12.30pm at Cobram’s civic centre.

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