A bystander who tried to save the life of a young BWS worker after he was allegedly stabbed to death has recalled the tragic moment he died in his arms.
Declan Laverty, 20, was minutes away from finishing his shift at the Airport Tavern BWS drive-through bottle shop in Jingili, Darwin just before 9pm on Sunday when he refused to serve a 19-year-old male customer.
The teenager allegedly stabbed Mr Laverty and fled the scene in a blue 2014 Toyota Camry. He has been charged with once count of murder and one count of aggravated robbery.
Moments after the alleged attack, a witness ran into the bottle shop and desperately tried to revive the young worker.
‘I just went in to doing what I could to try and save the young man’s life. It was horrific actually,’ he told Nine News.
Declan Laverty, 20, was allegedly stabbed to death on Sunday night while working in a Darwin bottle shop
‘I thought I had him there but, then no, he passed away in my arms.’
Mr Laverty had sent his father one final text after he was allegedly attacked.
‘Love you, been stabbed,’ the message read.
The worker’s father, who didn’t want to be named, told Darwin radio station Mix FM that his son had been looking for a new job because he ‘couldn’t handle’ abusive customers anymore.
‘He’s had screwdriver pulled on him only a few weeks ago,’ the father said.
‘One of the other staff members has been physically attacked and he couldn’t come back to work.
‘They get attacked quite often at that particular one as far as I am aware. He was looking for another job. He just couldn’t handle it anymore.’
The doting dad said he got home on Sunday night and found his son’s half-eaten dinner in the fridge.
He remembered Mr Laverty as a ‘wonderful, opinionated, strong lad’ who had moved to the NT from Cairns in Queensland two years earlier.
Declan Laverty (left) was allegedly stabbed while working at BWS in Darwin. His sister Bridget Laverty (right) remembered him as ‘the best brother’
‘He loved his football, and he was really into music at the moment.
‘He was trying to get some songs released and working 30-odd hours at the pub at the airport.’
The father called for an end to violence in Darwin and said ‘something needs to be done’.
‘It’s getting very very bad out there for everyone. Whether it’s my son or someone else.’
He added his last interaction with his son was a fist bump, before he headed off to work at 2pm.
‘He went to work and did my fist pump and everything like he always does,’ he said.
The Airport Tavern and BWS bottle shop in Darwin remained a crime scene on Monday morning following the tragic death of Mr Laverty
Mr Laverty’s sister Bridget wrote a tribute on Facebook on Monday: ‘Declan, you were the best brother I could ask for.’
‘Your silly laugh your lovingness, your big head will miss you so much my brother, forever 20,’ she said.
The 19-year-old who allegedly stabbed Mr Laverty was arrested by police and charged on Tuesday. He is due to appear in court on Tuesday.
Police also arrested two others, 15 and 16, in relation to the alleged stabbing, and two other alleged robberies around Darwin earlier in the evening. They were charged with two counts of aggravated robbery and will appear in court on Tuesday.
During a press conference on Monday, Assistant Police Commissioner Michael White said detectives believe the alleged stabbing is linked to two separate matters around Darwin earlier that evening.
‘Two other people are also in custody, age 15 and 16, are assisting police with inquiries in relation to this matter, and also a separate matter at the bottle shop at the beach front hotel earlier that evening,’ he said.
Police believe the first incident took place at the Beachfront Hotel in Rapid Creek, central Darwin, and the second on the street in Karama – in the city’s eastern suburbs.
‘It is our belief that these two incidents are linked, and potentially a third incident earlier in the evening in Karama where a young person was assaulted and a number of items stolen from them,’ the assistant police commissioner said.
A 17-year-old boy was also charged with aggravated robbery and will appear in court on April 17.
Investigators have seized a blue Toyota Camry which they allege was present at all three incidents.
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