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Floral tributes were laid at the front of the store over the weekend
Floral tributes were laid at the front of the store over the weekend

Tributes flow for slain jeweller

The jewellery industry has been rocked by the fatal stabbing of a much-loved jeweller during a bungled armed robbery at his store. 

The local tight-knit Hastings community, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, was in shock following the tragic death of Dermot O’Toole, aged 64. 

O’Toole, who ran the independent Jewel Shed business for the past 26 years with wife Bridget, was murdered around 5pm on Friday 12 July.

He died at the scene after he intervened to protect his wife who had confronted the knife-wielding robber as the couple prepared to close for the day.

A 26-year-old Crib Point man, Gavin Perry, has since been charged with murder, armed robbery and intentionally causing serious injury. He appeared in court on Monday morning.

In court, police alleged that Perry stole jewellery valued at no more than $200 before fleeing and being chased by four local traders who were able to give police a description of the man and the vehicle in which he fled.

Another group of witnesses was said to be able to put Perry at the scene around the time of the attack. Prosecutor Patrick O’Halloran reportedly stated that CCTV from the store and a nearby supermarket also captured Perry’s image.

Bridget O’Toole, who was injured in the bungled robbery, required plastic surgery for cuts at the local Frankston hospital. The 63-year-old has since been released.

Many neighbouring store-owners in High Street spoke fondly of O’Toole as they remembered the man described as a hard-working jeweller.

Dozens of floral tributes were laid at the front of the store over the weekend and the store’s Facebook page has been filled with posts from friends and customers of the O’Tooles. Many have left comments about owning jewellery that O’Toole had created for them.

The O’Tooles had operated the jewellery store in the area since 1987 and only this year had moved into the current, larger premises.

Perry remains in custody and is scheduled to next appear in court for a committal mention hearing on 11 November 2013.


Jeweller Magazine

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Saturday, 25 January, 2020 03:25am
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