Thursday 23 November 2017

'He didn't deserve to die like that' - Wife of murdered Irish jeweller weeps as she relives pain of day her childhood sweetheart was fatally stabbed

Murdered jeweller Dermot O'Toole and wife Bridget
Murdered jeweller Dermot O'Toole and wife Bridget
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

The wife of a murdered Irish jeweller has spoken of the day she lost her childhood sweetheart when they were attacked by an armed robber in their own store.

Originally from Dublin, Bridget and Dermot O'Toole met when they were only six years old, first becoming dance parrners and later husband and wife in 1972. 

They relocated to Australia shortly after the wedding and had three sons shortly afterwards: Christian, Trent and Dale.

"All the stars had aligned for us and we were just over the moon with our little family, we were exceptionally happy," Bridget told RTE 1's The Ryan Tubridy Show this morning. 

"We got on like a house on fire...until the day he died we were inseparable, we spent every waking moment together."

But Bridget's world came crashing down in July 2013 when Gavin Perry entered their small jewellery shop, the Jewel Shed, in Hastings and stabbed her husband of 41 years to death.

Mr Perry had initially come into their family store with his girlfriend and an infant child looking to check the standard of some jewellery he had on his person.

Read more: ‘My husband died saving me and it’s just so wrong’ – family anger as killer gets 27 year sentence

"He had a few items of jewellery including a pendant and he wanted to know if they were diamonds. He was very nice and there was no reason for us to be suspicious," Bridget recalled.

Bridget checked the jewellery, had pleasant exchanges with the couple, and they then left the store. It wasn't until 5pm later that afternoon that they next encountered Mr Perry.

We had started to wind because we close at 530pm when I heard the buzzer going.

"Gavin moved so fast and he was screaming so loud, he jerked something at me I thought it was a taser but it was a knife," said Bridget.

"It was only months later I started to understand why he went to stab me straight away. Dermot was right behind me so he wanted to stab me to get me out of the way so he could get to Dermot."

Mr Perry was armed with a 20 centimetre carving knife that he had stolen just minutes beforehand and stabbed Dermot twice in the chest while he trying to protect his wife.

He died at the scene despite efforts to save his life. His last words were: “Call an ambulance. I’ve been stabbed”.

Read more: Three Irish murders in one year that shook Melbourne - harrowing new documentary tells the story

Mr Perry pleaded guilty in 2014 to charges of murder, armed robbery and intentionally causing injury.

The court heard he been high on the drug ‘ice’ and was on parole when he stabbed 64-year-old Dermot to death.

Murder in Melbourne is a hard-hitting new RTÉ documentary which airs tonight at 9.35pm looks at the murders of three Irish nationals living in the Australian city between 2012 and 2013.

The film opens with the killing of Dermot O’Toole, then chronicles the murder of a 30-year-old David Greene in 2012, and finally covers the murder of journalist Jill Meagher a few days after David's murder.

Murder in Melbourne tells their stories and looks at the parole system in Victoria to examine how failings there laid the foundations for these otherwise unrelated murders.

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