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Anthony Albanese labels Cassius Turvey's alleged murder 'racially motivated'

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Indigenous leaders in Western Australia have condemned the "cowardly, racist" killing of Cassius Turvey as the boy's accused murderer faces further charges.

Cassius, a 15-year-old Noongar Yamatji boy, was allegedly bashed with a metal pole while walking home from school with friends near Perth earlier this month.

He suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital on Sunday.

Jack Steven James Brearley, 21, has been charged with his murder and is due to face a Perth court next month.

West Australian police on Friday revealed Brearley has also been charged with bashing one of Cassius's friends, who had been on crutches.

It's alleged Brearley struck the 13-year-old boy across the face with a metal pole, believed to be a shopping trolley handle, before stealing his crutches and his cap.

He has been charged with aggravated assault and stealing.

Noongar leaders have expressed anger over comments by police chief Col Blanch, who this week declined to weigh in on allegations racial slurs were made towards Cassius and suggested he may have been "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

"We know that if a white child was killed like this, it would be different," the Noongar Nation group of elders said in a statement.

"Cassius was not 'in the wrong place at the wrong time'. He was in his school uniform with his friends in broad daylight.

"The premier and police commissioner are telling us to be quiet ... they are minimising this horrific killing of young Cassius.

"We as a Noongar Nation are outraged by this mindless, inhumane, cowardly racist act against an innocent child. We call on government to meet us now."

Mr Blanch said he regretted any offence caused by his comments.

"My focus is justice for Cassius. Let's focus on that as a community," he told reporters on Friday.

"Let's achieve that outcome. Because together, that will then generate a good discussion around racism in our community and making sure we stamp that out as well."

Police say Cassius was walking with friends on October 13 when they were approached by Brearley, who had been a passenger in a ute.

It's alleged he chased the youths before attacking Cassius with a metal pole.

Detectives have identified four people they believe were inside the ute but are yet to charge anyone else in connection with the incident.

The police commissioner defended the pace of the investigation, adding that further charges could be laid.

"This is a significant investigation with multiple witnesses. The police must get this right," he said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese earlier paid tribute to Cassius' family, saying the alleged murder was "clearly" racially motivated.

"We are a better country than that, and my heart goes out to the family and the friends," he told reporters.

But Premier Mark McGowan urged caution, pointing to the dismissal of a jury in the ACT trial of Brittany Higgins' accused rapist Bruce Lehrmann.

The judge overseeing that trial has warned the media to "fall silent" to ensure Lehrmann could have a fair trial.

"You don't want to intervene in these things. You've seen something happen over east today whereby people say or do something they shouldn't, and trials are abandoned," Mr McGowan said on Thursday.

"I just feel so much for the family of that little boy. He looked like a beautiful little boy. They are going through a lot and it's unimaginable, really."

Cassius has been remembered as a loving son and a role model to his friends who started his own lawnmowing business and was invited at age 11 to deliver an acknowledgement of country at the WA parliament.

His alleged killer is due to face Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court on November 9.

Story by Michael Ramsay


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