Sister of MH17 victim ‘felt nothing’ over murder charges

Jessica CuthbertThe West Australian
VideoRussia is resisting calls to hand over a group of military men charged with shooting down and murdering the passengers on MH17.

The sister of an Albany man killed in the MH17 tragedy says she has made peace with his death and is focused on the victims left behind, not the four men charged with his murder.

Five years ago on July 17, 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on-board.

This week, four men were charged over the disaster, including three with ties to Russian military or intelligence.

Lyn Schoof, whose brother Arjen Ryder died along with his wife Yvonne, said she felt no emotion after hearing the news of the international arrest warrants.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


“I felt nothing ... and I was really surprised that I felt nothing,” she said.

“Those men who were arrested. They mean nothing to me.

Lyn Schoof, the sister of Arjen Ryder who was killed in the MH17 disaster.
Camera IconLyn Schoof, the sister of Arjen Ryder who was killed in the MH17 disaster. Credit: Laurie Benson/ Albany Advertiser

“We have done a lot of processing and healing and we are genuinely in a good space about the whole situation.”

She said her time and energy was not to be spent on those responsible for the disaster, but instead on those who were left without their loved ones.

“For me, it’s so hard to even bring up a connection anymore because we’ve been dealing with the victims who are left behind,” she said.

“Even though Arj and Yvonne died, I don’t see them as the victims anymore, they are in a better place.

“The victims are their beautiful children and family they have left behind.”

She said the family had found forgiveness and healed with time.

“We have focused on getting together as a family, strengthening and encouraging each other through it all and seeing the positives,” she said.

“You don’t want to waste your energy on anger for people you don’t even know.

“I believe that it wasn’t deliberate, that it was an accident. It was a tragedy and it’s awful but you can’t go back and change what’s happened.”

“If you focus on being angry and thinking about these people that did it, you don’t have time and energy for the people left behind.”

Mrs Schoof said she did not want the people behind the attack to have any power over her life.

“Not letting them have that control frees me,” she said.

“If you allow these people to control your life, to make you bitter, you are actually giving them a power they don’t deserve.”

If you allow these people to control your life, to make you bitter, you are actually giving them a power they don’t deserve.

After the initial trauma and numbness she felt in the wake of the disaster, she now found comfort in knowing her brother and Yvonne were loved and respected members of the community.

“I moved forward knowing that’s what I should do. We forgive because that’s the right attitude that we should have and that gives you peace,” she said.

“Not having answers hasn’t made things hard for us and so early on we accepted that it was an accident - that it happened and now we move on.”

“They were such positive and lovely people. They were happy and warm and we take comfort knowing they were happy, they had just had a great holiday and they were loved.”

Former foreign minister Julie Bishop, who handled the aftermath of the attack, says families will be relieved to hear the names and see the faces of those accused of killing their loved ones.

“Russia has long waged a disinformation campaign against the joint investigation team,” she told the ABC.

“There have been cyber-attacks targeting the investigation.”

The downing of MH17 killed 298 people, including 38 Australians.

WA victims included siblings Mo, Otis and Eve Maslin, Fatima Dyczynski, Nick Norris, Edel Mahady and Dafne Nieveen.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails