herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

Family of jeweller stabbed to death slams Oz justice

THE heartbroken family of Irish jeweller Dermot O'Toole, murdered during a botched robbery in Australia, have hit out at justice system after his killer was handed a 27-year jail term.

Killer Gavin Perry was high on the drug 'ice' - and was on parole - when he stabbed Mr O'Toole (64) to death.

Perry had a number of convictions for armed robbery.

Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth described how Bridget O'Toole had to watch of her husband of 41 years die in front of her as he came to her defence.

Mrs O'Toole was also stabbed during the incident.

Describing his death as "senseless", Justice Hollingworth said that while Perry was high on the drug 'ice', it was no excuse for his actions.

Guilty

Perry (27) pleaded guilty to charges of murder, armed robbery and intentionally causing injury. He was jailed for 27 years - 23 of these will be a non-parole period.

In 2010, Perry was jailed for six years for armed robberies. But the robber, who had previously offended while on bail, was paroled after serving four years.

Less than six months later, he carried out three armed robberies in less than six days.

The last of those robberies was on a Hastings jeweller, Dermot O'Toole and his wife Bridget.

Outside the court, Bridget O'Toole and the couple's three sons said they had been failed by the parole system, and called for the law to be changed.

"I've had enough," Mrs O'Toole said.

The couple's son Dale O'Toole said the Adult Parole Board had freed a dangerous criminal.

"The parole board let him walk free when he was still a danger to society," Mr O'Toole said.

"He proved that in the worst possible way.

"If there is any doubt that a criminal is dangerous - no matter how small - then they must complete their full sentence," Mr O'Toole said.

The court was told that Perry entered the O'Toole's jewellers 'Jewel Shed' in High Street, Hastings, on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, at approximately 5pm on July 12, 2013.

He was armed with a 20-centimetre carving knife that he had stolen just minutes beforehand.

Mr O'Toole was stabbed twice in the chest while trying to protect his wife from Perry.

He died at the scene despite efforts to save his life.

Tormented

Mrs O'Toole told the court she was "tormented" by the fact that Perry was on parole at the time he killed her husband.

In a victim impact statement, she recalled her husband's last words: "Call an ambulance. I've been stabbed."

Justice Hollingworth said in a statement: "You clearly intended to use it (the knife) to threaten or frighten whichever staff were in the store at the time.

"And as soon as you encountered the slightest resistance from the O'Tooles, you swiftly resorted to using the knife against them both."

The judge told Perry, who had more than 200 criminal convictions, that "the O'Tooles were both in their 60s and clearly no physical match for you".

cmurphy@herald.ie

Promoted articles

Entertainment News