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Family pays tribute to a treasured son

ADVENTUROUS MAN: Jarrod Davies was a master diver hoping to work on yachts in Italy.

JARROD Davies, the Leongatha man whose body was discovered in Hobart’s Derwent River last week, was “tragically taken”, his family say.

Father Rob Davies, who was in Tasmania for the weekend to visit his 27 year old son, says he has lost his best mate in the tragedy.

Jarrod was in the Apple Isle on a 10-day water safety course in preparation for an application to work on super yachts in Italy.

The family believes that an assault was the main factor in his death.

Rob said his “beautiful boy” was more at home in the water than on land and had completed more than 1500 dives.

“He does free-diving that deep, you wouldn’t believe it. He can walk on water. If he’d fallen in he would have walked away,” Rob told The Star.

“Our poor boy had taken a hit. His brain may have been haemorrhaging. Who knows? He was in a bad way.”   

Jarrod’s sister, Jess Payne concurred.

“The case is still under investigation by the Tasmania Police and the autopsy report has not returned, but we all know Jarrod was an amazing swimmer and would have gotten out of that water if he was in his right mind,” she said.

Jarrod made a mobile phone call to Rob in the moments before his death, at about 1.15am on Sunday, February 9.

“He was speaking gibberish for about two and a half minutes, until the point where he finally said, ‘Dad, I’m on the (Elizabeth Street) pier.’ I told him, ‘Son, get back home’,” Rob said.

What followed was a disjointed conversation in which Jarrod displayed possible evidence of concussion, believing his arm had been cut off.

“When I found out two days later he’d been assaulted, it all made sense,” Rob said.

Jarrod was struck at about 1am: a punch that felled the master diver.

Jess said the alarm was raised later that morning when it was discovered Jarrod had not come back to the hotel or shown up in any hospitals.

Tasmania Police Commander Tony Cerritelli said investigations were “focusing on the movements of Mr Davies earlier in the night, prior to him walking to the Elizabeth Street Pier”.

“Those background enquiries established that Mr Davies attended the Observatory Bar, and while there was involved in an altercation inside,” he said.

“As a result of that particular aspect of the investigation, police have now charged a 28 year old man from Geilston Bay with one count of common assault. 

“He will appear in the Hobart Magistrates’ Court in March.”

Commander Cerritelli said: “Police investigations show there is a separation between the events surrounding the alleged assault and Mr Davies’ last movements.”

The pier is about 100 metres from the nightclub, while the hotel in which Rob and Jarrod were staying is about one and a half kilometres away.  

In his final moment of the call to Rob, Jarrod would say goodbye, as an ambulance had arrived. Rob believes that Jarrod, in his muddled state, mistook the bright lights of a P&O cruise ship for an emergency vehicle.

Moments later, he fell into the water. His mobile phone was later found at the spot. Though his death was mercifully fast, it would be two and a half days before his body was recovered from the water on Tuesday, February 11.  

There at the scene, Rob can’t shake the memory of it.

The family will take Jarrod’s body back from Tasmania today (Tuesday, February 18), with a funeral service planned at the Grandstand, Leongatha Recreation Reserve on Friday at 1.30pm.

Rob said the small mercy of the tragedy had been the kindness shown by friends, family and complete strangers.

It has come in different ways, from cups of coffee from random people in Tasmania, to a free stay for Rob and wife Jill at the Ibis Hotel (along with food and access to a car).

Nothing, of course, will bring the couple’s beloved boy back. Vale Jarrod.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=30829

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