The father of murdered teenager Jessie Cate had been celebrating her killer's guilty plea when he was allegedly bashed to death at his Dawesville home last week, neighbours revealed yesterday.
Dawesville man Timothy Skipper, 41, faced court yesterday accused of assaulting Paul Edward Cate, 46, at his home in the Dawesville Caravan Park about 9pm last Thursday.
A neighbour of Mr Cate, who gave her name as Dawn, said he was drinking at the Bouvard Tavern with about five friends on Thursday evening. The group then went to his home to continue partying.
She said Mr Cate had been in good spirits because Kyle Rohan Garth, 20, of Pinjarra, had the previous day pleaded guilty to murdering his 15-year-old daughter, whose body was found in a roadside grave in December.
Another neighbour, Vaine, said the group were watching a rugby match when Mr Cate began yelling at his guests to leave about 8.30pm.
Minutes later, several loud bangs came from Mr Cate's caravan and neighbours went to investigate.
An ambulance soon arrived and paramedics tried to resuscitate Mr Cate, who died in hospital.
Bill Nissen, a close friend and colleague of Mr Cate, said the Dawesville father had been relieved and pleased by Garth's guilty plea.
"He has really struggled with Jessie's death," Mr Nissen said.
"It's been really hard for him and I think last week actually gave him some closure," Mr Nissen said.
"After it happened (Jessie's murder) we all had to watch him like a hawk pretty much because he'd hurt himself, we thought.
"He loves his kids so much but hasn't had a lot to do with them in recent years for various reasons which has made it even harder on him."
Mr Nissen, who worked with Mr Cate for two years at a Mandurah business, described him as a generous man and a "typical Aussie larrikin".
Mr Skipper appeared briefly in East Perth Magistrate's Court yesterday where a charge of causing grievous bodily harm against Mr Cate was read out to him.
The charge may be upgraded pending the results of an autopsy today. The case was adjourned to June 13 and Mr Skipper did not apply for bail.
Mr Cate's daughter Jessie was killed after she accepted a lift home from work with Garth - her sister's former boyfriend.