Tradie apprentice almost driven to suicide by boss

An Australian tradie who almost drove one of his apprentices to suicide can't be stopped taking on more.

Nicholas Myintoo, 19, was "proud" to have secured his first job, but it was almost his last when he became the target of a relentless campaign of physical and mental abuse, Melbourne newspaper The Age reports.

His boss, Tommy Liu, hit him in the head with a screwdriver and kicked him with steel-capped boots after knocking him to the ground.

Text messages show Mr Liu also threatened to "scone" Mr Myintoo if his work wasn't up to scratch.

Being his first ever job, Mr Myintoo said he had "no idea" what to do.

"My family trusted this man," his victim impact statement read. "I remember my Mum telling Tommy one Easter, 'Thank you for taking my son on.' I wanted to scream, 'This man abuses me daily, Mum!'"

Instead, he withdrew.

"He became very angry all of the time and I thought it was just part of getting up so early," his mother Jodie Myintoo told The Age.

"He changed, big time, from the boy that left school - the moody teenage boy that you'd still get a conversation out of - to not being able to recognise him."

Eventually her son told her what was happening and quit, and was soon diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and put on suicide watch.

After a plea bargain, Mr Liu was sentenced to a 15-month community corrections order but with no conviction, meaning he's still allowed to hire staff and take on apprentices.

His lawyer said Mr Liu was treated to similar abuse when he was an apprentice, but that "does not justify it".

The Age reports Mr Myintoo, now 21, is trying to get back into work - but not as a tradie.             

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