Dad's heartbreaking reveal after son fatally stabbed working at bottle shop

The 20-year-old's father said he and his son were best mates and had big plans for the future.

The father of a 20-year-old man who was stabbed to death at a Darwin bottle shop has spoken of his "best mate" who he had been planning to buy a unit with.

Damian Cook was asleep in bed on Monday night when he was woken up by a message from his son Declan Laverty to say he'd been attacked.

“The text was, ‘love you dad, been stabbed’," he told the Today show. His mum was sent a similar message.

Declan Laverty with his arm around his dad Damian Cook.
Declan Laverty's dad Damian Cook said the pair were more like best mates and had been planning to buy a unit together. Source: Facebook/Damian Laverty

After rushing to the scene in an Uber because his son had borrowed his ute to get to work at BWS in Jingili on Monday night, Mr Cook received the worst news imaginable.

“The paramedic met me and I explained who I was, and he explained that Declan had passed,” he said. “I actually thought I was on top of myself. I know that sounds silly [but] it was like I wasn’t there.”

Not the first attack at bottle shop

The 20-year-old man’s life had been cut short after he allegedly refused to serve alcohol to a customer at the bottle shop.

His father said it wasn’t the first time that Declan had been physically abused at work, and that he’d had a screwdriver held to him just a month or so earlier.

Damian said that one of his son’s workmates had also been beaten up so badly that he couldn't return to work, while explaining that tough liquor laws in Darwin meant that anyone on the ban register isn’t able to buy alcohol.

Police have since charged a 19-year-old man with murder following Declan's death. He had been out on bail over an alleged aggravated assault at the time, Nine News reported.

‘We were best mates’

Returning home on that fateful night, Mr Cook said he couldn’t stay in the house any longer.

“I got home [at] about 1am, and we lived together, just us two, and I went to get a drink and his dinner, that I cooked for him, is still in the fridge,” he told Today in an emotional interview

Declan Laverty (left) and Declan with his mum at her graduation.
Mr Cook said Declan had been attacked before while working at the Darwin bottle shop, both physically and verbally. Source: Instagram/Declan Laverty

While he said “everyone is hurting”, Mr Cook explained he and his son had “a brilliant relationship” and weren’t just dad and son, but best mates with big plans for the future.

“We were renting and we were going to buy a little unit together,” Mr Cook added. “He said, dad I'm going to look after you and buy you a house as long as you cook for me every night, that's all I want.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise funds to return Declan’s body to his hometown in Cairns and for the funeral.

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