The family of a “cherished” young man stabbed on the job has revealed their deep grief as they gather to give the BWS worker a final send off.
Friends and family gathered to honour the life of Declan Laverty at his funeral in Gordonvale, 23km south of Cairns.
Mr Laverty was working at The Airport Tavern’s attached BWS in the Darwin suburb of Jingili earlier this month when he was allegedly attacked with a knife, with emergency services declaring him dead at the scene.
Declan Laverty was fatally stabbed while working at The Darwin Tavern’s attached BWS bottle shop.His casket was covered in the yellow and black of his favourite footy team the Richmond Tigers.Declan’s grandfather Lance broke down while his tribute was read out. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Emily BarkerHis funeral memorial service was held in Cairns. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Emily Barker
Police allege the man responsible fled in a vehicle. The 19-year-old man was arrested on Monday and charged with murder and aggravated robbery.
A GRANDFATHER’S FINAL MESSAGE
Mr Laverty’s grandfather Lance was too emotional to speak at the funeral, but had a message read out by the celebrant.
“Declan Geoffrey Laverty, you touched so many people’s lives while you were with us,” he said.
“I know you would have been proud that you achieved so much and you did it so humbly.
“To sum it up, mate, you were a bit of a rat bag but boy did you leave a wonderful impression on those who knew you and loved you.”
Lance was too distraught to read his speech, but managed to say his favourite memory was of his grandson’s “first beer” while fighting back tears.
He recounted memories he’d “never forget” such as camping with his sisters and watching Mr Laverty acting and playing footy.
MUM AND DAD REMEMBER THEIR ONLY SON
His mother Samara Laverty spoke about the love that she shared with her son, who would text her multiple times a day to tell her “I love you”.
“From the moment I found out I was pregnant with you, you had my heart and soul,” she said to her late son.
“You clung to me constantly, no one could take you from me or me from you….you were my little buddy, you will always be my little buddy.”
Ms Laverty revealed her heartbreak in the moment she knew her son had died.
“The day you died, I got three ‘I love you mum’ texts.
“The last text I will ever get from you unless you start playing with my electronics. I knew when I saw that last text, I knew.
Declan‘s mum, Samara, paid tribute to her first son. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Emily BarkerHis father revealed how the pair spent Declan’s final months in Darwin. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Emily Barker
“Sunday 19th of March 2023 at 21:19 hours my life stopped.
“My heart was ripped out, [you were] my soul, my firstborn child, the person who made me a mother.”
His father, Damian Crooks, gave an insight into their close bond, with the pair living together as “son and housewife” before his death.
“Things I’m going to miss – he would just open the door, walk in and you’d just be sitting on the couch and he’d just need to [nod],” he said.
“That’s all he had to do.”
Dozens of friends and family turned out to honour him. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Emily BarkerFriends and family revealed how Mr Laverty was a “loyal” and “funny” young man. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Emily BarkerHis mother said she and Mr Laverty were inseperable and messaged every day. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Emily BarkerHis sister Taylor was moved to tears while reading her speech.The pair spoke about their brother together Picture: NCA NewsWire / Emily Barker
‘THE BEST BROTHER’
Mr Laverty‘s sisters said they “missed everything about him”, with one breaking down in tears while sharing memories with their brother.
“I always thought it would be you up here at my funeral saying something remarkably sassy and funny,” his sister Taylor said of her little brother.
“You always wanted to make a joke and he never failed to make me laugh and smile.”
His sister Bridget shared how Mr Laverty was “always there” for her when she needed it.
“I still remember the day I got hit at school and you and mum came racing down to the school and you were ready to hit the person who had hit me because that‘s the sort of person you were,” she said.
DECLAN’S ‘SOUL MATE’ AND ‘BEST FRIEND’
Mr Laverty’s “soulmate” Abbie said that not a day went by where she wasn’t hurting.
“You’re my best friend and I’ll never forget you, you were one in a million and there will never be anyone like you,” she said.
“You were honest and brave, which was a gift and a curse…you were a pain in the ass sometimes but you were perfect and I wouldn’t change you for the world.”
The “cheeky” and talented AFL player was remembered for the love he showed his friends and family.
Mourners were urged to wear black and yellow clothing as a way to honour the 20-year-old, as these were the colours of his footy team. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Emily Barker“You clung to me constantly, no one could take you from me or me from you….you were my little buddy, you will always be my little buddy,” his mum said. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Emily Barker
“He did things his way, there were no shades of grey, you knew where you stood with him,” family friend Jane said.
“You knew where you stood with him, if he loved you, he loved you with every single atom of his soul and body.
“If it didn’t work, he knew that too.”
His best friend Demi remembered “Crooksy” as a man who had “all the passion in the world to do better for himself”.
“He was such an ambitious man filled with so much love and care and was just someone you could rely on to have a laugh with, regardless of whatever type of day you‘ve had,” he said in a letter.
TOUCHING SEND OFF
Mourners were urged to wear black and yellow clothing as a way to honour the 20-year-old, as these were his favourite colours.
Mr Laverty’s death was described as “so very tragic, horrific and totally unforeseen” by celebrant Leisel Pinari, with the news spreading across the nation.
“This is not only heartbreaking for his family and friends, but please know that the whole community both within our far north region and also Darwin and beyond,” Ms Pinari said.
“This news has devastated so many people.”
His last act was to text his parents before his death.
“I love you mum, I’ve been stabbed,” was the last Samara Laverty heard from “her boy”.
“He was meant to come home soon for a visit,” Ms Laverty told The Cairns Post in the days after his death.
The young man was an aspiring musician who was trying to get some of his songs released.The 20-year-old’s last text message to his parents was revealed in the wake of his death.
“My heart and soul are broken.”
She said his journey would “never be fulfilled”.
“He will never fall in love,” she said.
“He will never marry.
“He will never be a dad.
“His life, his future, our future have been completely stripped away.”
Mr Laverty’s father called radio station Mix 104.9 in the wake of his son’s death to reveal the extent of the violence he faced.
“He’s had a screwdriver pulled on him only a few weeks ago. One of the other staff members has been physically attacked and he couldn’t come back to work,” he told the radio station.
“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.
“It’s getting very, very bad out there for everyone. Whether it’s my son or someone else, something needs to be done.”