Saturday 25 May 2019

Walsh family speaks of the devastating impact of David's killing in Australia

The late David ‘Motcha’ Walsh
The late David ‘Motcha’ Walsh

Pádraig Byrne

The family of David 'Motcha' Walsh have spoken of how their worlds were turned upside down upon learning he had been stabbed to death by his fiancée in Australia. Tina Cahill from New Ross pleaded guilty to the Moran Park father of three's manslaughter at New South Wales Supreme Court and last week victim impact statements were read aloud.

David's brother Jonathan said that the heartbreaking ordeal had contributed to his father John 'Jonners' Walsh's death from cancer ten months later, on his birthday.

'My father's words the night we learned that Motcha was murdered will forever haunt me,' his victim impact statement read. 'He told me: "I don't want him to be up there on his own, son. I'm going to be with him soon." It killed my father. It knocked the fight out of him.'

Jonathan also described the devastating impact it had on his mother, leaving her 'a shell of a person'. He said his brother was 'a true gentleman' and a devoted father. He said his brother's children 'wanted for nothing' and the carpenter was constantly sending money home for them. Describing the toll his brother's death took on him, he said: 'I lost everything. My business, my relationship, my dream family was ripped from me - of no fault of my own.'

He said that the family only found out that Tina Cahill's murder charge was downgraded to manslaughter when they heard it on a news report. 'My mother found out over local media and had a panic attack,' he said.

In another statement David's younger brother Stephen said he feels like a 'zombie' every day since his brother and best friend was killed.

'On numerous occasions I've tried to hurt myself because I wanted to be with David,' he said. 'When my brother was murdered, I went with him that night - the only difference is my body is still here. Having to bury my father John and brother David in the same year - I'll never be able to describe that pain.'

'My brother was murdered by a woman who he asked to marry him five weeks earlier… To think he died with no-one around who cared for him.'

Finally, David's brother Patrick told the court he suffers from nightmares ever since he lost his brother.

'I cannot explain the feeling of loss and emptiness that has consumed us. My brother's last breath was taken from him.'

He described David as 'the most hard-working person' he knew and a 'funny joker, who say humour in everything'. 'I am not making my brother out to be a saint,' he said. 'He was a lost little boy who needed help and guidance behind the tough man facade he portrayed.'

The Walsh family were not present in court as they provided their statements from Ireland, however, they were read aloud by David's former house-mate Isobel Jennings.

The previous day Ms Jennings had provided shocking evidence that Cahill had stabbed Mr Walsh in the back of the head more than 18 months before his death. She testified that the couple were arguing before she saw Cahill come up the stairs with her hand behind her back and then suddenly stab David Walsh in the head three or four times.

Under cross-examination from Cahill's barrister, James Trevallion, Ms Jennings denied lying about the incident in which she said Cahill had stabbed Mr Walsh in October 2015.

This was eventually put to Cahill when she took the stand on Friday and she said that she and Mr Walsh had argued that night before he blocked her at their bedroom door with knife in his hand. She said that she went to grab it, cut her hand and then cut the back of his head.

It was put to her that she was lying because the house-mate's evidence of her going downstairs to get the knife and attack her partner was 'damning'. 'That isn't true.' Cahill replied.

The court was also told Ms Cahill was charged with one count of reckless wounding of Mr Walsh in relation to him being injured after she threw a large candle at him in November 2015. She was convicted of the offence in her absence and placed on a two-year bond in April 2016 at Waverley Local Court.

Speaking from the stand on Friday, Cahill broke down on a number of occasions as she spoke of her relationship with David Walsh. She told the judge of repeated violence, including punching strangers and biting her all over her body, as well as regularly accusing her of sleeping with other men and taking photos of her in compromising positions without her knowledge.

She said that things were so bad, she couldn't even look in the rear-view mirror while driving as there might be a male driver behind. If she did, she said, Mr Walsh would say 'I hope you got a good look, slut.'

The New Ross woman denied a suggestion from prosecutor Nanette Williams that she wanted to minimise any violence she had done to Mr Walsh and maximise what he had done to her when describing their relationship.

'There's not a day that goes by when I don't think about David's family,' she said in court. 'I loved him so much. He told me no matter what I did I would never get away from him and if I ever got with anybody else he would make my life hell.'

She said that Mr Walsh blocked people from her Facebook account, deleted texts and numbers from her phone and was convinced she was having an affair with her boss. Cahill referred to incidents when Mr Walsh punched men, after claiming she had been with them or they had looked at her, and said he wanted her to take a lie detector test when she denied being with her brother-in-law. She added that he would constantly break things in the house and would grab her face and 'constantly bite me, that was his thing'.

The hearing is set to continue on Friday before Justice Peter Johnson, who said that he expects to sentence Cahill before the law terms ends on December 14.

Gorey Guardian