Irish man dies in Melbourne hospital in wake of serious assault

Sat, Sep 8, 2012, 01:00

AN IRISH man who was critically injured during a vicious assault in Melbourne nearly two weeks ago has died in hospital.

David Greene (30), had been in the Alfred hospital’s intensive care unit since August 26th, when he and another Irish man, David Byas, were attacked at a backpacker boarding house in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda East.

Mr Byas (28) emerged from a coma earlier this week but is still in a serious condition in a rehabilitation unit. He and Mr Greene, both from Cabinteely in Dublin, were allegedly attacked with a hammer after coming to the aid of a woman in the boarding house.

Mr Greene’s family issued a statement through Victorian police yesterday. “The death has occurred in Melbourne earlier this morning of David Greene. David passed away surrounded by his family and friends. David’s parents, Aidan and Catherine, along with his brothers Luke and Aidan, wish to express their gratitude to all those who have helped and supported them through this difficult time,” the statement said.

The family thanked staff at the Alfred and the Australian Irish Welfare Bureau in Melbourne for all they had done, and asked that their privacy be respected as they grieve for their loss. Mr Byas’s parents, Fran and Philomena, also travelled to Australia, the Irish Embassy in Canberra said in a statement last week.

Homicide squad detectives have taken over the investigation and are appealing for witnesses. Det Insp John Potter said a number of witnesses and residents at the boarding house had been interviewed, but he believed others yet to talk to police could help with inquiries.

Det Insp Potter said the police expected to charge Luke James Wentholt with murder early next week. Mr Wentholt (31), from St Kilda East, has already appeared in court charged with two counts of intentionally causing serious injury and recklessly causing serious injury.

He was arrested at the same hospital Mr Greene and Mr Byas were taken to after seeking treatment for injuries at 4.30am on the night of the assault. He was remanded in custody to face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on October 8th.