Wednesday 22 November 2017

Violent martial arts expert had long crime record

Breda Heffernan and Norrie Ross

LUKE James Wentholt squeezed his eyes shut, bent forward and rocked as he sat in the dock and heard that he will spend at least the next 15 years in prison.

For the friends of David Greene who gathered at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne, and for his family and friend David Byas watching via video link in Ireland, there was no sense of relief.

As the judge finished his sentencing, it brought to a close the legal proceedings. However, for those who knew the 30-year-old bricklayer, there is no end to their loss.

Mr Greene's family travelled to Melbourne in July to deliver a moving victim impact statement to the court.

Yesterday, they chose to watch proceedings via a video link at the Four Courts in Dublin.

However, in court in Melbourne were a number of Mr Greene's friends, including Clive Philips and John Fitzgerald, who were at his hospital bedside when he died. Also in court were David Byas's aunt Annette and friend Neil Clark.

The court heard that up to 15 people were attending a party in a hostel when martial arts expert Wentholt, jealous at seeing his girlfriend, Shayla Pullen, talking to Mr Greene, attacked him in a hallway and knocked him unconscious.

HEROIN

Wentholt returned to the lounge and attacked others. Electrician Mr Byas, who tried to intervene, was pushed to the ground. Ms Pullen, who was shouting at her boyfriend to stop, was grabbed by Wentholt and forced towards a table, causing it to break.

Three partygoers fled the house and flagged down a police patrol, but, as the judge told Wentholt: "While some had fled your vicious, unprovoked attacks, you proceeded up and down the hallway either kicking or stomping on the heads of the two unconscious men."

The court heard Wentholt came from a broken home and was placed in care from the age of 12 during which time he claimed he was drugged and raped.

He progressed to a life of crime, became a heroin user and had soon recorded a lengthy criminal record with numerous convictions for assault across Australia.

Irish Independent

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