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Victims’ families ‘struggling’ with St Kilda tragedy

May 2, 2013 • Local, News, Victoria,

The late David Greene.

The late David Greene.

Friends of the late David Greene attended a Melbourne court yesterday to hear an Australian man plead guilty to his murder.

The Australian Irish Welfare Bureau (AIWB) was in court with two of Mr Greene’s friends as Luke James Wentholt, 31, pleaded guilty to the Irishman’s death.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of recklessly causing serious injury to Irishman David Byas, 28, who spent six weeks in hospital recovering after the incident in a St Kilda boarding house. Mr Wentholt was remanded for a plea in mitigation hearing on July 30.

AIWB administrator Marion O’Hagan told the Irish Echo she spoke to the Greene family in Ireland yesterday morning to reassure them she was going to the court and feels it is a blessing that Mr Wentholt has pleaded guilty.

“The Greene family are really struggling as are the Byas family. It is something you never expect to happen when you say goodbye to your children going on a holiday. He has pleaded guilty which is a blessing,” she said.

“It’s difficult. It’s just too hard. Davey was an apprentice with his dad. They are a very close family and it’s not easy at all. They are beautiful people and it’s just awful.

“It’s just awful and I can’t find the words … To see the pain they are suffering. You can hear the pain in their voices.

“To lose a child in such a brutal way it’s unbearable and difficult to comprehend.”

Ms O’Hagan said that Mr Byas is recovering and that he is being supported by his family and friends. One of the friends at the court yesterday called him to let him know what had happened.

“He is trying hard. There are things he remembers and things he doesn’t. He came out of rehab and he went back to Dublin. He seems to be doing quite well,” she said.

“Like anyone who goes through anything traumatic there are things they don’t remember about the incident. He is a lovely lad. If I lost a close friend at that age I would be devastated.”

Ms O’Hagan said it was one of the most heart-wrenching cases she has been involved with during her years with the welfare group and that it has affected so many people. She also doesn’t not know if the family will be travelling to Melbourne for the next court date.

“It was so brutal. You never dream you are going to be involved in something like this from our own perspective,” she said.

“The Greene family have asked me to sincerely thank the Victoria Police. They have been amazing. There was a mass for Davey and two policemen turned up and it’s things like that which make a difference when you are suffering.

“I don’t know whether they will be coming over. I don’t know if they will be able to handle it physically and emotionally. We will be supportive of them if they come over.”

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