Thin Blue Line

January 7, 2010 photog blogs

My blog may have been out of circuit for a while, perhaps loss of transmission a more appropriate term of phrase.
Be it all, is back now, prompted by a need to express and an ongoing plethora of questions as to my absence.
I am on leave, and this week my slumber was woken not by birds in the trees, dogs barking or even the rubbish truck slowly making its rounds like some rancid creature from Transformers scavenging on waste.
Nope, it was one of my own kindred spirits, a colleague of the media trade we call News. I was not woken by the gentle and delicate hover of a butterfly at my window, but the roar of engines and blades, as unknown quantities of aviation fuel were consumed by a fellow Network helicopter hovering over my house.
As I wandered outside, squinting up at the helicopter to decipher the Network logo, I wondered what had bought this intruder to my neighborhood at this early hour. I knew what he was doing, having sat in the camera operator’s seat many times before myself, it was obvious, but the intended target was a mystery.
A quick visit to the net, a peruse of overnight news soon revealed what bought this helicopter to scour my neck of the woods, soon to be joined by another helicopter, now the roar of blades thumping the air in stereo.
All too often, as News Crews and Reporters we are exposed to crime that is always someone else’s problem, or is someone else’s neighborhood, someone else’s story. Rarely it becomes our own or is in our neighborhood. We often think of home as being not just the boundaries of the house or the front fence, but an extension that reaches to our street, the next door neighbors, our shops and the wider community.
This week, that changed. TV News helicopters, camera crews and reporters slinging microphones at unsuspecting neighbors, not to mention a very obvious Police presence and that thin blue line that divides my neighborhood from what I do at work and endeavor to leave there.
AT 4.30am yesterday, Kenneth Rolfe woke his 15-year-old grandson and asked if he had heard a noise.
As the pair heard another noise, they walked towards the back of Mr. Rolfe’s Bentleigh home where Mr. Rolfe went out to the backyard. His grandson, watched as Mr. Rolfe, 53, who also ran a local lawn-mowing business walked out to the backyard and was assaulted by another man. Within a few fleeting moments, Mr. Rolfe was dead, bludgeoned to death with a hammer.
By this time, Mr. Rolfe’s partner, 60-year-old Carol Hellman, had woken. She and the grandson shut the back door and ran to the lounge room, where she tried to phone police.
The grandson heard the smashing of the glass at the back door and with Ms Hellman’s help, he ran out the front door and down Field Street to raise the alarm.
When police arrived at the home, Ms Hellman was still conscious but had serious head injuries and had been partially paralyzed.
A Neighbor said he heard a row just after 4am but thought it was ”just a domestic”.
”Sometimes you do not know what you are hearing until it is too late,” he said.
”I just thought they were raised voices at the time. It makes you wonder who could do such a thing, he was a nice, quiet bloke who used to do odd jobs,” he said.
Yep, and it was a nice quiet suburb to, but things change. My street is only two away. I know the street, travel down it from time to time, but pay little attention. Until yesterday, it was like any other ordinary suburban street. Not anymore. Now like many other addresses around my city, it will always be a place where lives were shattered, futures were altered and great sadness took its toll.