Mother and father of Donegal males accused of homicide in Australia communicate of their torment and ache, calling the ordeal a ‘nightmare’
The parents of two young men from Co Donegal who are charged with murder in Australia have spoken of their agony and pain, claiming their sons are innocent.
Christopher McLaughlin, 24, and Nathan Kelly, 21, were initially charged with assault after an incident in Sydney on December 29th.
Christopher McLaughlin, 24, was charged with the murder of Paul TavelardisImage Credit: Newspix
However, the charges were brought to murder after 66-year-old Paul Tavelardis died last Sunday.
The duo are currently in separate prisons in New South Wales and will face life sentences if found guilty. But their families have said that they are not murderers and that they will defend themselves.
Nellie Kelly, Nathan’s mother, says the seventeen days since her son’s arrest has been “worse than death.”
She said, “We can’t handle it at all. We’re just completely traumatized by what happened. It’s like we’re locked in a dark room. It hangs on us all the time and we feel it every minute of it. ” Day and night.
Nathan Kelly, 21Image Credit: Newspix
“Our boys’ faces are shown around the world for murder, but we know they know they haven’t. They’ve never been in trouble and they’re not the kind of people who would ever do such a thing.
“We’re sorry for the man who died, but there’s more to it than that. They didn’t want to harm anyone and we just want them home.”
James McLaughlin “hopes and prays” that his son Christopher and Nathan will see justice “as soon as possible”.
He said: “We are totally convinced they are not guilty and we are concerned that they will be given bail and given the opportunity to have their names sorted out. We want them to come home and be released as soon as possible become.”
The 66-year-old Paul Tavelardis passed away last Sunday
Anne McLaughlin says life has been “hell” since she found out about Christopher’s arrest.
She said, “It’s just awful. We could only get Christopher three times on the phone and he’s very shocked by what happened. He was thrown back a lot after hearing the man died.
“That was hell for us. It’s a nightmare.”
James and Anne “knew something was wrong” when they saw Gerard and Nellie’s car come to their home in Malin Head.
(Left to right) James and Anne McLaughlin with Nellie and Gerard KellyImage Credit: Newspix
The families said Nathan and Christopher traveled to Australia on May 20 last year to improve themselves and had “worked away” since arriving Down Under.
Nellie stated, “Your employer out there is by your side and says they are great guys who would do anything for you. They would always go above and beyond.”
Nellie said Nathan was in contact with his family in Glengad every day via Snapchat or Facebook and “knew something was wrong” after being inactive on his Messenger app for several hours one day.
“I just felt like something was wrong. I remember it was around noon and I saw that he was inactive for two or three hours. I couldn’t sleep and checked again at 3am and I could see that Both boys’ sides were inactive. “
We just want to be alone because we can’t cope with it.
Gerard: We thought they might have injured themselves on the scramblers they just got.
By noon, Nellie was so concerned that she decided to call a Sydney police station and give Nathan’s name and date of birth. Then she learned that he had been arrested for assault.
Since then it’s been a living nightmare for the Kellys who run the Fisherman’s Inn pub in Glengad.
Nellie said, “We made a living on antidepressants and haven’t been at work since. We know we have to go back because we need the money, but we can’t take it.”
“Our house is locked at home; we don’t want to see anyone. We just want to be alone because we can’t cope with it.
The distraught mother becomes emotional when she remembers Nathan, her youngest of five children, who rings home on Christmas Day.
“He’s just a wain. He’s so relaxed and easy going. There is no way he did that. I just want him home. I want to see him.”
Gerard Kelly last spoke to his son in prison on Sunday night and said Nathan was “very stressed” by what happened – even though the family told him to “keep his head up”.
Nellie and Gerard said they were ready “to jump on a plane at any time” to help their son.
With a trial likely to be up to two years away, both families face enormous legal and travel expenses.
Nellie said, “I want to sell the house and move to Australia to be with him – but we know we have four other children and grandchildren.”
Farmer James McLaughlin says he won’t leave because of health problems, but “someone in the family” will be there to support Christopher, who worked for a local Donegal company for two years before moving to Australia last summer has emigrated.
Bradley Tavelardis told the Irish Sun that his father battled leukemia and heart problems
The families have taken some comfort in the support they received at home, with plans for a public meeting and a potential fund to support legal fees.
James says the Malin Head and Glengad parishes are fully behind the families.
Una Devlin, Christopher’s aunt, describes her nephew as a “calm and shy person” who never “bothered” each other. She says the “ripple effect” of the incident affects everyone in the larger family.
“We try to support, but not knowing is very difficult. Everyone is so worried.”
In conclusion, both families expressed their condolences to the Tavelardis family in Australia.
Buncrana attorney Ciaran MacLochlainn, who works with the legal department in Australia, says the murder case is being strongly defended “all the way”.
He claimed, “You defended yourself. That was never murder.”
Attorney MacLochlainn says Nathan and Christopher are hoping to get bail next week before appearing again in March.
He said Irish Ambassador to Australia Richard Andrews is aware of the case while a number of politicians are also trying to help families.
Meanwhile, Paul Tavelardis’ family “mourns and shocks” after switching off his life support machine nine days ago.
Bradley Tavelardis told The Irish Sun that his father battled leukemia and heart problems in his later years and didn’t have the strength to defend himself.
Two Inishowen men are now on trial in Australia on charges of murder, but Mr Tavelardis says he has no will against the Irish in his country.
“I have since been contacted by other Donegal locals who have supported me and I appreciate that. The care and concern of the people shows me that there is still good in the world.
“I have received many condolences from the Irish and I appreciate them very much. I would also like to mention that during the incident that led to my father’s death, people of all nationalities and walks of life tried to intervene.
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“In this time of mourning, this gives me comfort and faith that there is good in humanity.”
Mr. Tavelardis described his father as “a man who kept to himself, liked to travel and instilled in us a loyalty to our family and a sense of adventure”.
He said the manner in which his father died was a “whirlwind of emotion” for the family and caused “a lot of anger and heartache”.