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Connecting people & communities CRANBOURNE Thursday, 30 March, 2017

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Star of Courage By Victoria Stone-Meadows

Dermot and Bridget O'Toole with their sons Dale, Christian and Trent.

The late Dermot O'Toole, awarded a Star of Courage for protecting his wife during a violent armed robbery of the couple's jewellery store in 2013.

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friends with all his heart. “It sounds cliched, but we were soulmates,” Mrs O’Toole said. “We were together for 48 years and we worked together for nearly 30 years; there are not many couples that can wake up together in the morning, go to work all day together, come home together and be as happy as we were.” Dermot and Bridget met at just six years of age in Dublin through their shared Irish dancing school and quickly became dance partners and fierce competitors. The pair was married in January 1972, they made the decision to go on a big adventure and left Ireland in June the same year, arriving at Port Melbourne in July. Dermott O’Toole started working for himself in the jewellery industry in 1983 and in 1987, the husband and wife team opened up their first shop on High Street on Hastings. Continued on page 3

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out he was screaming like a wild animal, he kicked the gate in the counter in and I saw something in his hand.” “He proceeded to stab me and punch me and beat me around and that’s when Dermot came out to defend me.” “Gavin Perry knocked Dermot to the ground when Dermot got him off me. We were both trying to fight him off.” Gavin Perry had knocked Dermot to the ground, but was yet to deliver the fatal blow. “I wasn’t strong enough to pull him off Dermot and he could have left the shop but he actually moved around Dermot, who was defenceless on the ground,” Mrs O’Toole said. “He moved around him to get a better aim at him.” The last words Mr O’Toole said to his wife after Gavin Perry left the store were “Call an ambulance, I’ve been stabbed.” However, Bridget O’Toole remembers the man that her husband was. The man who loved to dance, loved to read, and loved his family and

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On a cold winter night Dermot O’Toole gave his life to protect his wife Bridget, when their Hastings jewellery store was robbed by Gavin Parry in 2013. Now, almost four years later, Mrs O’Toole, who currently lives in Lynbrook, will be accepting a posthumous Star of Courage bravery award on behalf on her late husband. “I heard they were considering him for the award, but officially found out he was receiving it on 16 December 2016,” she said. “It was very emotional; I was out having an eye test so I couldn’t drive and I was sitting in a corner having a coffee and just bawled my eyes out.” “I was very emotional when I heard it, and so moved that he was considered for the award.” The O’Tooles had been running their jewellery store on High Street for many years, but had only recently moved into a new building when they had what seemed like a normal visit from a man and his girlfriend looking to buy some jewellery. “Little did I know that we were being set up,” Mrs O’Toole said. About 5pm that same day, Friday 12 July 2013, Mrs O’Toole elected to respond to the door buzzer instead of her husband. What she found in the shop was Gavin Perry, erratic and armed with a knife. “I got up thinking he was a customer, but when I walked

News - Cranbourne - 30th March 2017  
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