Tuesday 16 January 2018

Man pleads guilty to murder of Irish jeweller Dermot O'Toole

Dermot O'Toole
Dermot O'Toole

A man has pleaded guilty to murdering Galway-born jeweller Dermot O'Toole who died trying to protect his wife.

Mr O'Toole, 64, and his wife were attacked on July 12 last year at the business he had run for 26 years.

Mr O’Toole was fatally stabbed as he tried to protect his wife Bridget during the robbery at The Jewel Shed, at Hastings, on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria in Australia on July 12, 2013.

Mr O’Toole died at the scene but his wife Bridget, who was also stabbed, survived the attack.

The defendant, who cannot be named, entered his plea this morning at Melbourne Magistrates Court. He also pleaded to charges of armed robbery and intentionally causing injury.

The murder charge he pleaded guilty to is under a section of the Victorian Crimes Act which designates "unintentional killing in the furtherance of a crime of violence".

It states an offender would be sentenced to a maximum of life for a murder "as though he had killed that person intentionally".

The matter was listed as a contested committal hearing before deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic.

Prosecutor Mark Rochford, SC, said it was expected after some charges were withdrawn the man would enter guilty pleas.

The defendant wore green prison clothes. Mr O'Toole's widow Bridget was in court today surrounded by family and friends.

Two charges were withdrawn and another amended.

Ms Popovic said she was satisfied there was evidence of sufficient weight to order the man to stand trial in the Supreme Court.

The accused then entered guilty pleas to the charges, which included one of intentionally causing injury to Ms O'Toole.

The man was remanded in custody to appear again on April 4 in the Supreme Court.

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