Sunday 17 December 2017

Family 'humbled' by public support for Irishman murdered in Australia

Tributes paid to 'amazing man' Keith Collins (inset). Main picture: The scene of the attack in Sydney
Tributes paid to 'amazing man' Keith Collins (inset). Main picture: The scene of the attack in Sydney
Keith Collins
Keith Collins who was stabbed while on a date in Sydney
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Players at the rugby league club where tragic slain Irishman Keith Collins was once a president and coach will pay their respects to him today as his family have thanked the public for their support.

Mr Collins died after he was stabbed during a first date in a Sydney restaurant on Wednesday night.

It is understood that single dad Keith met Jovi Pilapil, a care nurse and also a single parent, on a dating website.

The date took a sinister turn however when Ms Pilapil's ex-husband, Alexander Villaluna, allegedly stabbed the successful businessman in his neck and chest. Ms Pilapil was also stabbed but managed to escape to an upstairs shop where she collapsed.

Mr Collins' sister Audrey Jenkins has thanked the public for their support in the days following her brother's murder.

"Seriously cannot even begin to find words to say how grateful we are for the beautiful, loving and caring people in our lives," she said on social media.

Keith Collins
Keith Collins

"[We are] so humbled by the kindness as we try to navigate the loss of Keith. We feel enveloped in your love, from visits, to phone calls, messages, flowers and everything else - just know that we are truly grateful and your love is so comforting."

Meanwhile, the Terrigal Wamberal Sharks Junior Rugby League Club have asked that all of their players wear black armbands as a mark of respect for Keith (53), along with a minutes silence.

Keith Collins who was stabbed while on a date in Sydney
Keith Collins who was stabbed while on a date in Sydney

It is the second tragedy for the family as Mr Collins' adult son Aaron died after a car accident in 2013 aged just 23.

Dramatic footage from the moments after the harrowing attack show Villaluna being arrested as he sat calmly nearby after stabbing the couple.

Jovi Pilapil
Jovi Pilapil

The 44-year-old was later charged with murder and attempted murder and will appear again in court on May 26.

Australian police told the Irish Independent that Ms Pilapil is recovering after minor surgery.

Investigators are gathering statements and examining mobile phone footage of the killing.

Irish Independent

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