Man jailed for 18 years for killing Irish backpacker in Melbourne
Luke Wentholt behaved like ‘crazy monster’ when he killed David Greene
In the picture on the left, David Greene (right) Luke Wentholt (left) are ‘play fighting’ with each other on the night of the party when Mr Greene was killed in Melbourne. Right, undated file image of David Greene.
A martial arts expert who stomped on the heads of two Irish backpackers, killing one of them, during a party at a boarding house in the Melbourne suburb of st Kilda has been jailed for 18 years and six months.
Supreme Court Justice Terry Forrest said Luke Wentholt (31) had behaved, according to one witness, like a ‘‘crazy monster’’.
Wentholt, who had previously been jailed for beating up and robbing a prostitute, pleaded guilty to the murder of David Greene (30) and one count of recklessly causing serious injury to David Byas (29).
Wentholt had been drinking beer, vodka, whiskey and smoking cannabis, and was showing off karate and ju-jitsu moves before repeatedly kicking and stomping on the heads of Mr Greene and Mr Byas at the boarding house on August 26th last year.
Mr Greene died in The Alfred hospital on September 7th.
Justice Forrest said Wentholt’s criminal history dated back 13 years and involved prior convictions for assault in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.
‘‘You have led a violent adult life with little regard to the rule of law and well-being of others,’’ the judge said.
‘‘I regard the need to deter you and to protect others from you as relevant factors in this sentencing exercise.’’
Justice Forrest said he had listened to and read the victim impact statements from Mr Greene’s grieving family and friends.
Vision from the courtroom and the judge’s comments were live-streamed over the internet to a private home in Dublin for Mr Greene’s family.
‘‘David Greene’s family has lost a much loved young man,’’ the judge said.
‘‘Their grief is compounded by the mindless violence that accompanied his death.
‘‘His death was unprovoked and totally unnecessary.’’
Wentholt was jailed for 18 years and six months with a non-parole period of 15 years.
He showed no emotion as he was being led away by security guards.
Justice Forrest said Wentholt had consumed a considerable quantity of alcohol on the night and ‘’this may go some wya to explaining your outrageously violent conduct but does not excuse it any meaningful way’’.
The judge said Wentholt’s parents had separated when he was a baby and he was placed in Western Australian State-run youth hostels from about the age of 12 where he was repeatedly physically and emotionally abused.
It had been about 1am on August 26th last year when Wentholt told Mr Greene he wanted to speak to him outside. Mr Greene had been joking about walking in on Wentholt’s then girlfriend, Shayla Pullen, days earlier when she was naked in Wentholt’s bed and saw her breast.
Party guests heard raised voices and loud banging noises before Mr Greene and Mr Byas were found lying unconscious on the hallway floor.