Man faces manslaughter charge after Sydney death

A MAN has been charged with the manslaughter of Gearóid Walsh (pictured) in Sydney just hours after the 23-year-old Dubliner’s mother made a heartfelt plea for her son’s attacker to hand himself into police.

The 28-year-old from Sydney handed himself in on Friday and was charged with manslaughter, reckless wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was due to appear court in the early hours of this morning, Irish time.

Earlier on Friday Gearóid’s mother Tressa Walsh said she did not want to see the man involved in her son’s attack sent to jail.

“I am heartbroken for him because we don’t blame him, we don’t want him to serve time in prison — I think he was just very, very unlucky,” she said.

On Thursday Ms Walsh had the heartbreaking task of turning off Gearóid’s life support after travelling from Ireland following her son’s assault last Sunday night.

On Friday afternoon after Ms Walsh’s composed and forgiving plea, a 28-year-old man accompanied by his lawyers walked into the Maroubra Police Station in Sydney. He told detectives he was there “in relation to the death of Gearóid Walsh”.

On Sunday night Gearóid had become involved in an altercation outside a fast food restaurant in which he was punched and fell to the footpath, hitting his head. He went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing shortly after police arrived on the scene.

The incident occurred during a night out Gearóid had been enjoying with his brother Ciarán in the popular beachside suburb of Coogee. The pair had been drinking in the Coogee Hotel bar, which seen a number of violent incidents in recent years.

Ciarán witnessed the assault on his brother and police are also examining CCTV footage of the fight.

It was Gearóid’s first weekend in Sydney with his brother and sister, Aoife, after spending five weeks in Queensland. Gearóid’s two siblings live in Australia, where he had travelled to find work.

In Dublin yesterday Saoirse Walsh, another sister of Gearóid’s, said of the fight which had cost her brother’s life: “I think it was very, very stupid and very silly on both parts.”

She added: “People do very silly things when alcohol is involved.”

The attack on Gearóid Walsh is reminiscent of the assault in August 2008 on Cork tourist David Keohane, now aged 30, in the same area of Sydney.

The Irishman, who had been working in Sydney as a flooring contractor, was left suffering serious head injuries after a night out. The Coogee suburb has been nicknamed “little Ireland” in recent years due to the number of Irish backpackers living there.

Keohane was flown home, still unconscious, in September 2008 and woke in April this year.

However Sydney police have discounted the idea that the fight in which Gearóid was injured was due to aggression towards backpackers.

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