David Greene. Photo: Supplied
A martial arts expert who stomped on the heads of two Irish backpackers, killing one, during a party at a St Kilda boarding house 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 bashing 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.
David Greene's parents John and Catherine leave the Supreme Court in July. Photo: Angela Wylie
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 26 last year. Mr Greene died in The Alfred hospital on September 7.
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.
Luke Wentholt play fighting with David Greene on the night of the party. Shayla Pullen is seated in the chair. Photo: Supplied
‘‘I regard the need to deter you and to protect others from you.’’
Vision from the courtroom and the judge’s comments were live-streamed 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.
It was about 1am on August 26 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.
Ms Pullen, in her police statement, said: ‘‘There was blood everywhere.’’She yelled "What the f--- are you doing?" to the bare-chested and barefooted Wentholt when she saw him stomp on Mr Greene’s head.
Mr Greene, a bricklayer, had travelled to Australia in January 2011 for a better life because of the recession in Ireland and spent some time in Perth before moving to Melbourne in January last year. He became manager at the Lynedoch Avenue boarding house.
Mr Green’s parents and their two other sons were by David’s bedside when his life support machine was turned off at 8pm on September 6. He died at 3.05am the next day.
His mother, Catherine, described in her victim impact statement how she could not imagine ever being happy again.
Mr Byas, who was in an induced coma for five days before spending more than six weeks in hospital, is expected to make a full recovery but has not yet been able to return to work as an electrician.