'Devoted' husband (64) killed defending wife in knife attack
THE family of an Irish man who was killed by an armed intruder as he came to the aid of his wife in their Melbourne jewellery store has said the couple were "inseparable".
Dermot O'Toole (64) died at his business premises, The Jewel Shed, in Hastings, Melbourne, on Friday at 5pm local time. He was fatally injured after going to the aid of his wife Bridget (63), who was first confronted by the knife-wielding robber.
Mr O'Toole is believed to be originally from Galway but emigrated to Australia with his wife Bridget before the birth of their three grown-up sons.
Speaking to media outside the business yesterday, his heartbroken sons Christian, Dale and Trent recalled their father's devotion to his wife.
"Mum and dad were inseparable. He was devoted to her. Nothing demonstrates this devotion more than the way in which he was so tragically taken from us," said Christian.
The couple, who had been married for 41 years, had run the jewellery business for the past 26 years. They had only moved to the larger premises this year.
Neighbouring businesses came to the aid of the elderly couple after they were attacked on Friday. They found Mr and Mrs O'Toole lying on the floor covered in blood.
A passer-by administered first aid until paramedics arrived. Bridget O'Toole was taken to the Frankston Hospital for treatment and has since been released. Her husband died at the scene.
A number of locals gave chase to the assailant, but he escaped in a nearby car. It was later discovered burnt out and abandoned.
A 26-year-old man has since been arrested and charged.
Gavin Perry, of Crib Point, Melbourne, was charged with murder, armed robbery and intentionally causing serious injury at an out-of-sessions hearing on Saturday night.
He was denied bail and remanded in custody to appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court today.
Praising his commitment to his family, Christian said nothing had made his father happier than his family.
"He always knew what we needed, whether it was a hug or a laugh. He took pride in our achievements, no matter how small," he said.
He said that his father had been looking forward to the birth of his fourth grandchild.
"His three grandchildren provided him with much joy. We know dad will be with the family when the baby is born," Christian said.
Dozens of local business owners flocked to the scene yesterday where they left floral tributes. They also left messages of support on the business's Facebook page.
Christian told local businesses: "We know you grieve with us. We know you have us in your hearts and we want you to know you are firmly in ours."