Crash victim Justine pays tearful tribute to tragic 'soulmate'
THE distraught girlfriend of a young Irishman killed in a freak accident in Australia earlier this week returned to the scene of the crash yesterday.
Justine Walsh (22) paid tribute to Donal Bolton (23) -- her "knight in shining armour" -- after she was released from hospital where she had been treated for leg injuries.
The pair, from Co Offaly, were sitting in a pedestrianised area in the centre of Cairns, Queensland, when they were hit by an out-of-control car on Tuesday.
Mr Bolton was trapped under the vehicle while Ms Walsh, who was hit first after the car crashed through two concrete walls, somehow escaped with injuries to her legs.
"He was my best friend, my soulmate -- I love you, babes," Ms Walsh said as she read from a prepared statement at City Place yesterday.
The couple had been together for five years, and had spent the previous six months working near Melbourne before arriving in Cairns on Monday.
They were due to return home at the end of the month.
"Don was a fun-loving guy," Ms Walsh said. "He was loved by his family, friends, me and ... anybody. He will be really missed."
Ms Walsh was supported by her uncle Denis Heron, who rushed to her side from Hervey Bay, also in Queensland, this week.
Calypso Backpackers' Resort director Brett Claxton said the tribute was held at the request of Ms Walsh, Mr Heron and the Bolton family "(so) that we hold a celebration of Donal's life in the place that he left us".
After Ms Walsh made her brief statement, 'Little Lion Man' by Mumford & Sons was played. It is understood that Ms Walsh's relatives in Australia will help with the task of bringing the young engineer's body home.
Meanwhile, local police have condemned the behaviour of dozens of onlookers who filmed the final moments of his life.
Lead investigator Senior Constable Scott Ezard yesterday said: "It's an absolute tragedy, someone's been killed, and people are more concerned with taking photographs than helping victims," he said.
"It's a sad indictment on society, fairly morbid behaviour, just so they can stick it up on YouTube."
The police officer said more could have died if the vehicle had speared further into a crowded mall. The 33-year-old driver suffered fractured vertebrae and is still in hospital. Police are looking into the possibility that his loss of control was medical-related.