James Dorloff's heartbroken father has described him as a "happy kid" whose life was cut short as the man accused of fatally slashing him in the neck at Wedge Island on New Year's Eve appeared in court yesterday.
Joseph Robert Houston, 23, of Swan View, was remanded in hospital custody for a mental health assessment after facing Perth Magistrate's Court on charges of murdering Mr Dorloff and unlawfully wounding another partygoer, Tyson Cumming, 25.
Mr Houston allegedly used a machete or knife to attack Mr Dorloff and Mr Cumming after a brawl broke out at the unauthorised beach party north of Perth about 1.30am on Wednesday.
Mr Dorloff and his friends were among about 600 revellers who had gathered in the sand dunes to celebrate the end of 2013, dancing in the glow provided by the headlights of parked vehicles to music from a ute.
Mr Dorloff's father Dean said his son liked to have fun and had gone to Wedge Island to celebrate New Year's Eve with mates.
"He was a happy kid . . . who had his life shortened," he said.
In a tribute published in _The West Australian _ today, the Dorloffs described him as "much loved".
"A special person, a special face, a special someone we can never replace," they wrote.
Magistrate Michael Wheeler ordered a seven-day psychological assessment at Graylands Hospital's Frankland Centre for Mr Houston before he is due to reappear in court on Thursday.
Outside court, Mr Houston's father, who did not give his name, choked back tears as he offered his condolences to the Dorloff family before asking to be left alone.
"We don't know the full circumstances yet, but when we do it will all come out in the wash," he said.
Mr Cumming has been discharged from Royal Perth Hospital after treatment for a serious wound to his arm.
A 25-year-old woman was also treated at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
Mr Dorloff's brother Mitch gathered his friends together yesterday, while others shared their memories on social media.
Johnny Cady, who held Mr Dorloff in his arms as he died, posted a photograph on Facebook with the caption: "Thank you for riding shotgun through this car wreck that is my life."
Friend Michelle Polette said he was "the maddest, nicest, most genuine cobba" who was always keen to party beyond sunrise.
"I wish we could all wake up with you still partying next to us bro, with this all just being a bad dream," she wrote.