Irishman David Greene had promised his return from Australia would be a special surprise for his mother.
He d talked about jumping out from behind a car at her workplace, and how he could not wait to see his little nephew again.
But Catherine Greene, from Cabinteely in Dublin, will only ever be able to dream about the thrill her middle son had in store for her.
This week, she sat in a Melbourne courtroom listening to details of his murder. She heard how her 30-year-old boy died after being knocked unconscious and repeatedly stomped on at a house party in St Kilda East in August last year.
Mr Greene’s friend and housemate, David Byas, was also knocked unconscious in the attack and spent five days in a coma.
A third resident, Luke James Wentholt, 31, has pleaded guilty in the Victorian Supreme Court to murder.
The court heard Wentholt had been drinking beer, vodka, and whiskey and smoking cannabis before the attack
At 1am on Aug 26, Wentholt asked to speak to Mr Greene outside. Mr Greene had been joking with Wentholt’s girlfriend, Shayla Pullen, during the party about walking in on her days earlier when she was naked.
Like so many young Irish people before him, Mr Greene left the country of his birth and travelled halfway across the world in search of work opportunities.
“We were all looking forward to Davie coming home but now my life is in turmoil of never seeing his beautiful brown eyes and amazing smile looking at me ever again,” his mother Catherine said in a victim impact statement that she read to the court.
“My whole world had turned upside down at the thought of my beautiful Davie never coming home to me ever.”
Ms Greene says she prays her son understands that she could not save him and, as a mother, it was out of her control.
Mr Greene’s father, Aidan, told the court he felt guilty for lending his son the money to go to Australia.
“You could see no badness in anyone and you were always trying to help people,” he said of his son. “It makes me angry and sad when I think of the evil cowardly way you were murdered while you lay unconscious.”
Mr Byas said that, up until the day he was assaulted, he had had a wonderful time in Australia and thought it was the most beautiful country he had ever seen.
“Unfortunately, now when I think of Australia, I just think of evil, heartbreak and sorrow,” he said.
Wentholt has written a letter of apology to Mr Greene’s family, but they did not want to hear it.
Wentholt pleaded guilty on the basis that his crime was reckless rather than intentional, defence barrister Tony Trood said.
He said Wentholt was affected by alcohol on the night.
Wentholt will be sentenced later this year.
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