Dermot O’Toole, originally from Co. Galway, died in his Jewelry Shop in Melbourne, Australia when he jumped to the defense of his wife Bridget on Friday, reports the Irish Mirror.
Dermot leaves behind his wife, who was rushed to the hospital and treated for minor injuries, and three sons Christian, Dale, and Trent. Son Christian relates that their father was “devoted” to their mother.
He adds that “nothing demonstrates this devotion more than the way in which he was so tragically taken from us.”
That day, police arrested Gavin Perry, who was alleged to have entered the shop and stabbed O’Toole as he tried to protect his wife just after 5pm on Friday. Perry fled the scene and was pursued by a group of people in the community.
Perry escaped the scene in his car, but police were able to find and arrest him after discovering the car torched and gutted at Verdun St, Crib Point.
Support from the community has poured into the family and the shop in the wake of these tragic events. Flowers line the street in front of the shop in honor of the memory of the man whom everyone in the community knew.
The shop’s Facebook page is similarly flooded with well-wishing and messages of sympathy. The local community in Hastings has proven to be close-knit, with this loss reverberating out to everyone.
O’Toole had owned the shop for 26 years and had become somewhat of a staple of the local community, with many of the locals owning and wearing pieces of jewelry made by O’Toole, something that serves as a “sad reminder” according to President of the Western Port Chamber of Commerce and Industry Lisa Dixon.
“He was such a wonderful, community-minded man, who would give you the shirt off his back,” she says. The community impact is great with the loss of such a beloved figure.