Partner pays tribute to her shining knight killed by mystery Oz crash

Andrew Phelan

THE devastated girlfriend of an Irish backpacker killed in a freak car accident in Australia has paid an emotional tribute to her "knight in shining armour".

Justine Walsh (22) fought back tears as she read out a statement near the scene of the crash that killed Donal Bolton (23) in Cairns.

She returned there yesterday after being treated for leg injuries she suffered when a car struck the couple in the Queensland city's pedestrianised centre.

Bearing the scars of her injuries, Justine, from Offaly, read out her tribute to Donal in front of a small gathering of people at City Place.

"He was my best friend, my soulmate -- I love you babes", she said. "Don was a fun-loving guy. He was loved by his family, friends, me and... anybody. He will be really missed".

Afterwards, the song Little Lion Man by folk band Mumford & Sons was played.

It was a song the couple had sung to each other during their working holiday in Australia. They were due home next month.

It is understood Justine's relatives in Australia will help her with arrangements to bring Donal's body home.

She was yesterday supported by her uncle Denis Heron, who had rushed from his home in Hervey Bay, Queensland.

According to Brett Claxton of Calypso Backpackers' Resort, the tribute was held at the request of Justine, her uncle and the Bolton family "so that we hold a celebration of Donal's life in the place that he left us".

Donal and his girlfriend were sitting on a grassy strip in the popular tourist town, waiting for a shuttle bus when they were hit by an out-of-control car.

Justine was hit first and thrown clear when the car flew over two concrete walls. But Donal, an engineer, was trapped under the vehicle and died from his injuries. The couple had been together five years.