Warning – graphic images.
The heartbroken family of Emiliano Lombardi have spoken for the first time since his tragic death, remembering him as someone who “lived life on his own terms”.
The great-grandfather’s daughter Laura Hussein and son Don Lombardi opened up today on what they described as a torturous rollercoaster ride while he fought for life in hospital for 15 days before ultimately losing the battle.
Mr Lombardi, 84, was allegedly bashed and slashed with pieces of broken mirror on August 16 in a sickening attack after he went to investigate a disturbance outside his East Cannington home.
Pictures of his horrendous injuries sparked a community outcry with Quade Karsum Jones, 28, later arrested and charged. It is now likely the charges against Mr Jones will be upgraded after Mr Lombardi died in hospital on August 31.
Ms Hussein said her father had remained fiercely independent despite his age and was someone who had an “easy outlook on life”.
“He had his veggie patch and he was happy with that,” she said. “He would go to the Italian Club and see his mates in the afternoon and he was so happy with so little. He just lived life on his own terms.”
Ms Hussein said her father’s shocking injuries and his struggle in hospital would be etched in her mind for the rest of her life.
“I wake up with that image and it is very hard for me,” she said. “That is going to be etched into my mind for the rest of my life. I try not to get angry but ultimately I do. It is very emotional and it is very scary. I wouldn’t like another elderly person to be in that situation ever.”
Don Lombardi said while his family was still coming to terms with their loss, they were relieved in some ways that the rollercoaster of Mr Lombardi fighting for life in hospital was over.
“For us really the torture was the hospital — that rollercoaster ride of is he OK, is he alive, is he going to pull through this and what type of quality of life is he going to have if he does,” he said.
“That rollercoaster ride is unbearable and those 15 days were complete torture. Now we have an outcome and we have to deal with the outcome but the unknown was much harder. Now hopefully we can heal and each day will be better.
“I don’t want people to think just of the way he passed. He was an independent, strong man who lived on his own terms and lived happily … that’s how I like to remember him.”
Don Lombardi said while he did not think tougher penalties would necessarily stop future attacks on the elderly there did need to be a campaign to help older people feel safe in their homes.
“How do we stop this kind of anger or violence from happening in our community before it gets to this point,” he said.
“Really as a community we should be thinking about how we can prevent this from happening in the beginning.”