Geoff Trenwith was a kind and charitable man who was enjoying retirement after running a successful cycling business when he became the victim of a “craven and brutal assault” at the hands of his close friend, the Supreme Court has heard.
- Geoff Trenwith died in hospital from a brain haemorrhage in 2017
- The 66-year-old was on a holiday when his close friend punched him a number of times after an argument
- John Henry Victor Watson, 46, pleaded guilty to manslaughter
The 66-year-old, who owned Henley Cycles, was on a caravan holiday with his partner Janice and their friends John and Michelle Watson at Rapid Bay in May 2017 when an argument broke out between the two men.
Defence lawyer Anthony Allen said both men had been drinking when Mr Watson lost his temper, and punched Mr Trenwith a number of times to his head and face.
“It all happened very quickly, so quickly the deceased did not have time to defend himself — and importantly, there is no lawful justification for what happened,” he said.
Mr Trenwith collapsed two days later and was rushed to hospital unconscious where he died the following week from a brain haemorrhage.
Son had to turn off his dad’s life support
In his victim impact statement, Samuel Trenwith said he had to make the devasting decision to turn his father’s life support off.
Geoff Trenwith (right) collapsed two days after being punched a number of times by his close friend. (Supplied)
“Seeing my dad in hospital was such a shock, his face was battered, bruised and swollen, he was hooked up to a life support machine that had monitors, wires and tubes keeping him alive, I didn’t recognise him,” he said.
“This vision is one of the ways I will remember my dad forever.”
He said his father was fit, healthy and young at heart.
“He was so willing to give up his time to help others, he was so proud to help Ronald McDonald House Charities Ride for Sick Kids,” he said.
“I will never see him for birthdays, Father’s Days or at Christmas time; he will miss out on exciting moments in my life.
“I will never get to say, ‘I love you dad’ and never get to hear him reply, ‘I love you mate’.”
Close friend accepts full responsibility
John Henry Victor Watson, 46, pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Mr Allen said his client had accepted full responsibility for the devastation he had caused.
“This matter is a terrible tragedy for all involved, it includes the loss of a life and another life ruined,” he said.
“It becomes even more tragic given the friendship [they] shared … the men were good friends, sharing a love of camping with each other.”
He said Mr Watson had apologised for what he had done and shook hands with Mr Trenwith before his death.
“He told him he was sorry from the bottom of his heart,” he said.
The court heard the men had shared many “friendly and happy times” around the campfire and that no one had ever lost their temper until this occasion.
Brenton Trenwith said his brother was his “lifelong buddy”, describing him as a kind, generous and supportive man who was loved by all who knew him well.
“His generosity and attitude to all customers and friends was well known in the cycling fraternity,” Mr Trenwith said.
“To be taken in the prime of his life by a craven, brutal assault is very hard for me to reconcile. Violence has no part to play in modern society.”
Justice Martin Hinton revoked Mr Watson’s bail and remanded him in custody to be sentenced this Friday.