Two Irish men have been welcomed back to their home country by their families after they were acquitted of the murder of a homeless Australian pensioner.
Tradesmen Nathan Kelly, 23, and Christopher McLaughlin, 25, immediately returned to Donegal, in Ireland, after they were found not guilty last Monday of murdering 66-year-old Paul Tavelardis.
The pair had been on a 12-hour drinking bender when they crossed paths with Tavelardis on Grosvenor Street in Surry Hills, Sydney’s inner west, on December 29, 2018.
The court heard Tavelardis had been suffering from leukaemia and living in his car on the street before he attacked both men.
Kelly and McLaughlin claimed they acted in self defence before Tavelardis died from his injuries nine days later.
A NSW Supreme Court jury found both men not guilty and the pair were released after spending 20 months on remand.
The pair’s solicitor Ciaran MacLochlainn told Daily Telegraph Kelly and McLaughlin returned home following the trial where they have kept a low profile.
Two Irish tradesmen have been welcomed back to their home country by their families after they were acquitted of the murder of a homeless, Australian pensioner (pictured, Christopher McLaughlin and Nathan Kelly)
Nathan Kelly, 23, and Christopher McLaughlin, 25, immediately returned to Donegal, in Ireland, after they were found not guilty last Monday of murdering Paul Tavelardis (pictured)
A Snapchat photo Kelly him sitting on the family couch and resting next to a man holding a baby
‘A man has died, there is nobody celebrating,’ he said.
Kelly marked his return home with a quiet dinner and tea with his family.
A Snapchat photo showed him sitting on the family couch and resting next to a man holding a baby.
‘They are here at home and their families are relieved,’ Mr MacLochlainn said.
‘The families were very concerned for the family of the poor man that died.’
Mr MacLochlainn said both men’s judgement were clouded by alcohol on the night of the incident.
Over their three-week trial, the jury had heard the two men had been drinking heavily throughout the afternoon and evening.
They had begun drinking ciders at their apartment block before they visited the Summer Hill Hotel.
Both men were kicked out and CCTV footage showed the pair made their way to Summer Hill railway station where they laid down.
They later stumbled around the suburb, got in a car and loudly drove laps of Summer Hill.
On their return to Grosvenor Crescent where they also lived, the two men said they found Mr Tavelardis trying to break into Mr McLaughlin’s ute.
Nathan Kelly (pictured) and Christopher McLaughlin were acquitted of murder after a drunken night out
Tradesmen Christopher McLaughlin (left), 25, and Nathan Kelly (right), 23, were cleared of murdering homeless pensioner Paul Tavelardis
Both men’s barristers said, after a short conversation, the older man struck out at Mr Kelly with a metal pipe.
A neighbour recalled hearing a loud scream of ‘fear’ and peering out his window to see Mr Tavelardis run around his car with a large item in his hand towards the tradesmen.
In a later police interview, Mr Kelly lifted his top to show a welt on his back where he said Mr Tavelardis had struck him on the back.
Mr Kelly had been kicked out of the pub before the attack while McLaughlin was described by a witness as ‘blind drunk’ about 11pm.
CCTV images of Nathan Kelly, 23, and Christopher McLaughlin, 25, laying on the floor of Summer Hill train station
CCTV images of Christopher McLaughlin (blue shirt) leaving the Summer Hill Hotel on December 28, 2018, in the company of neighbour Lucy Lovett and her partner
CCTV images of Nathan Kelly, 23, in Summer Hill train station in the hour before getting into an altercation with Paul Tavelardis