Man charged with murder over ‘coward punch’ death

The family of a teenager who died after being attacked outside a Melbourne pub has spoken about the “hardest decision” to turn off his life support as a 33-year-old man is charged over the death.

Patrick Cronin, 19, of Eltham, was attacked outside a bar on Main Road, Diamond Creek, about 11:00pm on Saturday after playing a match with Lower Plenty Football Club in his first senior game alongside his brother.

It is believed up to 30 people may have been involved in the fight and police are still investigating how it unfolded.

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The teenager suffered a significant head injury and died in hospital on Monday.

Victoria Police had issued photos of a man they wanted to speak to in connection with the death.

They said the man presented himself to the Spencer Street police headquarters and was assisting officers with their inquiries.

He is facing one count of murder and will appear in an out-of-sessions court hearing on Tuesday night and is expected to be remanded in custody.

Teen footballer’s death ‘senseless’, father says

Members of the Lower Plenty Football Club gathered on Tuesday with members of the Cronin family to pay tribute to the dead teen.

Mr Cronin’s father, Matt Cronin, was in tears as he called the violence of his son’s assault “senseless”.

“We said goodbye to Paddy yesterday and he’s just a beautiful boy, our beautiful baby boy,” he said.

“There’s a number of his mates have inked him forever across their hearts.

“Whether it’s ink you use or not, I think he’s touched everyone’s hearts.

“It’s just senseless.

“These are coward’s [punches]. That’s it. No more to be said about it.”

Family grieve ‘the hardest decision’

The Cronin family were in tears when mother Robyn Cronin said their hearts had been “blown apart”.

“We don’t know how we’ll do it but he’ll help us every day and we’ll get there for him,” she said.

“That was the hardest decision I ever had to make and I could only do it because I knew it is what he would’ve done.”

Mr Cronin’s brother Lucas said he would forever cherish the one football match they played together.

Family friend Terry Wallace, a former AFL coach, said he spoke to boxer Danny Green, who is the face of campaign against one punch violence.

Mr Wallace said education was the key to stopping such violence and if it could happen to the Cronin family, it could happen to anyone.

“You wouldn’t meet people who are more community-oriented who have been just the heart and soul of this area,” he said.

“This is the devastation that one punch can make to a family and to a community and it is absolutely wrong.”

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