Childhood friend charged over fatal assault

UPDATE 10.30AM: TWO families are reeling after an alleged drunken altercation between childhood friends left one man dead.

Tyson Egan, 24, was refused bail after appearing in Coffs Harbour Local Court today, charged with manslaughter.

Ulmarra man Kyle Watkins, 26, died after an assault in Coffs Harbour at about 10.15pm last Saturday.

Police allege Mr Watkins and Egan became involved in an altercation after a night out.

It's alleged Mr Watkins was punched and fell onto the roadway, hitting his head.

The father-of-one was airlifted to Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital, where his life support was turned off on Tuesday.

Egan, a father and local mechanic, posted a Facebook tribute to his lifelong friend that afternoon.

"I can't believe your (sic) gone my brother RIP Kyle Watkins," he wrote.

Egan was arrested at his Coramba Rd address on Friday afternoon and will reappear in court next week.

Coffs-Clarence Local Area Command crime manager, Detective Inspector Darren Jameson, said the circumstances were distressing for both families.

"It is a grieving process for all involved," Det Insp Jameson said.

"It's an unfortunate incident.

"The message is very, very clear - that these types of assaults, these one punch assaults, do have tragic consequences, such as the death of young people and of course the flow-on effect with charges being laid."

Det Insp Jameson said investigations by detectives attached to Strike Force Gerda, established to investigate Mr Watkins' death, led to the arrest of Egan yesterday.

"We will allege that we were given a version of events that an unknown assailant was the person who delivered the punch," he said.

"We quickly established that the information they had provided to us at the scene was false and the 24-year-old male was identified as a suspect in this matter.

"We've got a version of events that we'll allege was untrue at the time of the incident, and those matters need to be clarified.

"Our enquiries are ongoing and I will implore anybody who has been involved in this incident, or has information and may not have provided the full truth, now's your time to come forward.

"This is a very, very serious charge and it has serious consequences for those who try to fraught the investigation and the judicial processes that will follow."

 

12.30AM: A 24-year-old man will appear in Coffs Harbour Local Court this morning, charged in relation to the death of Ulmarra man Kyle Watkins.

The Coffs Harbour man was arrested yesterday at a Coramba Rd address and charged over the late night assault on the corner of West High and Lyster Sts last Saturday.

Detectives assigned to Strike Force Gerda have investigated the circumstances surrounding Mr Watkins' death, and will allege the 26-year-old became involved in an altercation with another man after a night out.

It's alleged he was punched and fell onto the roadway, hitting his head and never regaining consciousness.

The father-of-one's life support was turned off on Tuesday afternoon in Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital, after he was airlifted from Coffs Harbour in a critical condition.

Mr Watkins was employed by Clarence Valley Council as a plumber at the time of his death.

Police say he was visiting Coffs Harbour on Saturday for a party.

The 24-year-old Coffs Harbour man was arrested at about 2.30pm yesterday.

He was charged with manslaughter and refused bail to appear in Coffs Harbour Local Court today.



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