The Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta is mourning the loss of a much-loved pupil killed in last week’s Barcelona terrorist attack.
The federal government confirmed on Monday that Julian Cadman, 7, was killed when a van ploughed into crowds in the city's Las Ramblas district. The confirmation followed a desperate call on social media by family members in Australia on Friday to help find the boy.
Julian’s mother Jumarie was injured in the attack and remains in hospital.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has released a statement on behalf of the family.
“Julian was a much loved and adored member of our family. As he was enjoying the sights of Barcelona with his mother, Julian was sadly taken from us,” the statement said. “He was so energetic, funny and cheeky, always bringing a smile to our faces.
“We are so blessed to have had him in our lives and will remember his smiles and hold his memory dear to our hearts. We would like to thank all those who helped us in searching for Julian.
“Your kindness was incredible during a difficult time. We also acknowledge we are not the only family to be affected by the events, our prayers and thoughts are with all people affected. We will not be making any further comments on this tragedy and ask everyone, especially the media, to give us the privacy we need to grieve away from the public eye."
In a statement on the school’s website, acting school principal Phillip Kapitanow said: “We received the very sad news that Julian Cadman, a year 2 student here at St Bernadette’s, lost his life in the attack in Barcelona last Thursday evening.
“I have written to all parents to relay this news. The Cadman family have asked for privacy at this very difficult time. We encourage everyone to honour this request.”
Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta executive director Greg Whitby said Julian was much loved by teachers and fellow pupils.
“Julian was a delightful little boy - curious and energetic with a kind and generous heart. The school community is feeling his loss deeply,” Mr Whitby said.
“Together with the St Bernadette’s community, we pray for Julian’s family, particularly his mother Jumarie who was seriously injured in the attack, his father Andrew, and for all those affected by this terrible event.
“The Diocese of Parramatta stands ready to provide the family and the St Bernadette’s community with any assistance needed. Counsellors will be at the school this week, and for as long as they are needed, to support students and staff.”
Julian and his mum were in Spain for a family wedding.
Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali described the attack as senseless and offered his condolences to the family.
“This is the first time terrorism has directly affected Blacktown,” he told the Sun.
“For a such young boy on the trip of a lifetime to be killed so tragically is heartbreaking. We need to stand together with the world against terrorism.” Cr Bali will respect the family’s plea for privacy before the council considers further tributes.
Greenway MP Michelle Rowland described the news as “absolutely devastating”.
“The pain and despair of his parents is unimaginable,” she said. “For his classmates and teachers at St Berndadette’s Primary School, this is a tragedy they would never have anticipated.
“The once easily understood concept that our children are safe in our care is shattered at times like this, when we are confronted by the reality of evil people committing atrocities against the innocent.
“For those left behind, our only reassurance is that heaven has a new angel and Julian will live on in so many hearts and minds. The thoughts and prayers of all Australians are with Julian’s family.”