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Locals living in fear have raised concerns the murder of a mother could be linked to youth gangs terrorising Brisbane amid a spate of home invasions across the city.

Emma Lovell, 41, and her husband Lee, 43, were stabbed while fighting to protect their property and two children from intruders who forced their way inside their North Lakes home about 11.30pm on Boxing Day. 

The pair who, moved to Australia from the UK years earlier, were rushed to hospital after paramedics performed emergency surgery on Mrs Lovell at the scene. She died not long after she was admitted. 

Police dog squad officers arrested four males, aged 18, 16 and two aged 17, nearby about four hours after the home invasion.

The two 17-year-olds, from Zillmere and Holland Park, have been charged with murder, attempted murder and entering a dwelling with intent on Tuesday.

They have been refused bail and are set to appear in Brisbane Childrens Court on Wednesday. The oldest and youngest males, who were also arrested, are still being questioned by detectives.

‘Emma was the glue in our family, she was funny, smart, so caring, would do anything for anyone,’ Mr Lovell told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday.

‘She died trying to protect me and our family. We’re all devastated by what has happened. I miss her so much.’

Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested and charged over a home invasion on Monday night that resulted in the death of Emma Lovell, with locals raising concerns that the alleged murder could be related to youth gangs terrorising Brisbane amid a spate of home invasions

Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested and charged over a home invasion on Monday night that resulted in the death of Emma Lovell, with locals raising concerns that the alleged murder could be related to youth gangs terrorising Brisbane amid a spate of home invasions

Emma Lovell, 41, was killed when two teens allegedly broke into her family's North Lakes home on Monday night

Emma Lovell, 41, was killed when two teens allegedly broke into her family’s North Lakes home on Monday night

The father explained he and his wife were alerted to the presence of the two intruders via a home security application.

‘We heard our two dogs barking, Emma checked on our Swann security app and saw the front door was open,’ he said.

‘We both rushed out of our bedroom door, Emma behind me, and saw two people in our house.

Cities under siege: Shocking QLD crime statistics 

Youth crime statistics post-pandemic show a significant increase in teenagers breaking into homes and joyriding in stolen cars in south-east Queensland.

There has been a 77 per cent spike in home invasions by youths aged 10 to 17 in the first four months of this year compared to 2019, according to statistics from Queensland Police.

The data also shows a whopping 152 per cent increase in young offenders driving dangerously in stolen cars.

Police revealed that less than 400 juveniles were responsible for half the crime occurring in the area.

‘I didn’t even know there was an issue until my daughter spotted her mum was bleeding.’ 

While the tragedy shocked many Whitfield Crescent residents, who described the street as ‘typically quiet’, a woman, Natalie, who lives nearby said she had heard of several break-ins in the area as rival youth gangs – from opposite sides of Brisbane – commit violent crimes.

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‘There is a Northside and a Southside gang, they operate on either end of the city,’ Natalie said.

‘What is Australia coming to? It’s becoming like America,’ she added

‘Something has to change… people should feel safe in their homes.’

Brisbane’s Northside gang have made recurring headlines over the past few years for their brazen antics – which involved stealing luxury cars, violence, and breaking into homes, then boasting about their ill-gotten gains online.

The gang, which typically targets the elite northern suburbs of Ascot and Hamilton, has been active since 2013 – with some of its youngest members aged just 12.

Meanwhile, their competitors in the south, have been engaging in similar crimes – also bragging about their illicit lifestyle on social media, as they focus on tyrannising Logan and the city’s south.

Photos posted online by both the gangs include them posing in front of stolen vehicles, wads of cash lined up on the floor – or in one instance live-streaming a joyride in a stolen car.

In August, two rival gangs were linked to a series of shootings wreaking havoc across the southside as tensions spilled into the streets.

Some of the incidents involved handguns, shotguns, as well as Molotov cocktails. 

A woman from a nearby suburb who dropped off flowers at Mrs Lovell’s home spoke about two youth gangs on opposite sides of Brisbane

Brisbane's southside gang have been committing crimes and bragging about their illicit lifestyle on social media (pictured, two boys pose with cash in a post from social media)

Brisbane’s southside gang have been committing crimes and bragging about their illicit lifestyle on social media (pictured, two boys pose with cash in a post from social media)

When asked whether detectives were investigating whether Mrs Lovell’s death was related to youth gangs, Queensland police said they were unable to comment on the matter now that it is before the courts.

The alarming rise of youth crime comes amid reports of a number of break-ins across the city’s north in recent months.

In a post earlier this month, security company Smarter Homes Australia said police had reported an increase in property crimes in Brisbane’s north as well as statewide.

‘The vast majority of break-ins are opportunistic and preventable, with cars and houses being left unlocked. Perpetrators are searching for things they can quickly grab,’ it reads.

The company said police had offered several tips to homeowners during a recent community night initiative for how they can keep their homes safe.

‘The top tips from the police were… Lock your doors, windows, and garage – even when home, don’t leave your garage clicker in your car, don’t leave your car keys and valuables near the front door or in obvious places.

‘[And] don’t leave your “keyless entry” car key fob near the front door as they can be scanned from outside the house.’

These gangs will often post their criminal activity online or share images where they're brandishing weapons or drugs (pictured, teens posing with illegal drugs, bongs, designer labels and jewellery)

These gangs will often post their criminal activity online or share images where they’re brandishing weapons or drugs (pictured, teens posing with illegal drugs, bongs, designer labels and jewellery)

The rise of youth crime comes amid reports of a number of break ins in Brisbane's north (pictured, teens pose with weapons for social media)

The rise of youth crime comes amid reports of a number of break ins in Brisbane’s north (pictured, teens pose with weapons for social media)

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Neighbour reveals the aftermath of the attack

By Tita Smith 

Neighbour Julie Balhatchet told Daily Mail Australia her daughters were in the second floor of their home when they saw the commotion unfolding across the road.

They quickly told their dad who ran across the street to help.

‘When my husband ran over, it was dark, he had no idea she was injured,’ Mrs Balhatchet said.

‘She [Mrs Lovell] was laying face down on the ground bleeding.’

Mrs Balhatchet said after the scuffle in the street, her daughters saw the two alleged offenders running from the house.

While her husband and Mr Lovell worked to save his wife, another neighbour ushered the two daughters away from the traumatic scene.

Mrs Balhatchet was devastated to later learn Mrs Lovell died in hospital.

‘It’s just so so sad,’ she said.

‘Those poor girls and her husband. He was very distraught.’

Mrs Balhatchet said the random alleged attack had shocked the normally quiet neighbourhood.

‘I’ve lived here 19 years and nothing like this has happened.’

‘You think, why them? It could have been any of us on the street.’

 

Youth crime statistics post-pandemic show a significant increase in teenagers breaking into homes and joyriding in stolen cars in south-east Queensland.

There has been a 77 per cent spike in home invasions by youths aged 10 to 17 in the first four months of this year compared to 2019, according to statistics from Queensland Police.

The data also shows a whopping 152 per cent increase in young offenders driving dangerously in stolen cars.

Police revealed that fewer than 400 juveniles were responsible for half the crime occurring in south-east Queensland.

Targeting youth crime has proved to be a difficult obstacle for the Sunshine State’s under-pressure police force.

Early last year, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk introduced new laws in a bid to ‘crack down’ on youth crime.

It included laws to make bail more difficult for repeat offenders, putting GPS tracking bracelets on offenders, using wanding devices and police metal detection. 

But a follow-up review into the measures showed they did not result in any significant reduction in criminal activities. 

Former police detective and now Bond University criminologist Terry Goldsworthy said Queensland’s entire approach to youth Justice needs a major ‘rethink’ in the wake of Ms Lovell’s tragic death.

‘The minister and commissioner of the police need to go back to the drawing board to see how they’re going to address these issues,’ Associate Professor Goldsworthy told the Courier Mail.

‘There’s a lack of good governance around this… there needs to be a much deeper look at youth justice, with transparency.’

He admits that tougher policing on its own, may not be enough to fix the complex issue of why so many young people are getting caught up in gang life.

‘If you’ve got kids that don’t have a stable home, they’re victims of domestic violence, or drug addiction, tougher laws won’t fix that. We need funding into therapeutic responses; provide them with a counsellor, make sure they’ve got food to eat.’

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) introduced new laws early last year in an effort to address youth crime

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) introduced new laws early last year in an effort to address youth crime

He admits that tougher policing on its own, may not be enough to fix the complex issue of why so many young people are getting caught up in gang life.

‘If you’ve got kids that don’t have a stable home, they’re victims of domestic violence, or drug addiction, tougher laws won’t fix that. We need funding into therapeutic responses; provide them with a counsellor, make sure they’ve got food to eat.’

In one shocking example of the city’s out-of-control crime wave, a gang of young offenders filmed themselves in April breaking into a home in Brisbane’s north shore, armed with box cutters and knives.

The group stole several luxury items including a Louis Vuitton travel bag and also took off with the family’s Lexus SUV. 

It followed a similar near-tragedy in August, 2021, when three teenagers broke into the home of Wallabies legend Toutai Kefu and attacked his family.

Wallabies legend Toutai Kefu (left) and his family suffered serious injuries when a group of armed teens broke into their Brisbane home

Wallabies legend Toutai Kefu (left) and his family suffered serious injuries when a group of armed teens broke into their Brisbane home

Two youths stole several luxury items including a Louis Vuitton travel bag and also took off with a family's Lexus SUV during a home invasion in Brisbane in April

Two youths stole several luxury items including a Louis Vuitton travel bag and also took off with a family’s Lexus SUV during a home invasion in Brisbane in April

Kefu was stabbed in the liver and abdomen as he and his son fought off their attackers. 

A 15-year-old boy was later charged with four counts of attempted murder.

The latest alleged victim of Brisbane’s spiralling crime saga, Ms Lovell, had just celebrated Christmas Day with her family at the beach and returned from a holiday on the Sunshine Coast.

Just hours before the incident, her husband posted on Facebook to wish his family and friends a Merry Christmas, and shared a photo of the family together at the beach. 

‘So for the first time in 11 years we spent Christmas day on the beach and even managed to cook up some bacon and eggs!’ Mr Lovell wrote online. 

‘Hope everyone has a great Christmas day spent with loved ones and friends.’

The latest alleged victim of Brisbane's youth crime wave, Ms Lovell (pictured left with her family), had just celebrated Christmas Day with her family at the beach and returned from a holiday on the Sunshine Coast

The latest alleged victim of Brisbane’s youth crime wave, Ms Lovell (pictured left with her family), had just celebrated Christmas Day with her family at the beach and returned from a holiday on the Sunshine Coast 

Originally from the UK, Mr and Mrs Lovell fell in love when they first came to Australia in 2002 as they travelled along the east coast.

Within ten years, the couple had welcomed two daughters and returned to Australia to call Down Under their permanent home.

Mr Lovell’s social media is filled with photos of his family enjoying Queensland’s beaches and warm weather.

On a post about a visit to a distillery on Tamborine Mountain in the Gold Coast hinterland in February 2013, Mr Lovell recommended the life-changing move to interested friends back in the UK.

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