Fatal punch victim farewelled in a sea of colour

AMONG a sea of brightly coloured shirts, family and friends said their final farewells to Jesse Marijonas Vilkelis-Curas, who died after he was punched in Ballina before Christmas.

Mr Vilkelis-Curas, 24, was taken off life-support on December 26 at Gold Coast University Hospital on Boxing Day, five days after he was involved in an attack in Ballina.

The East Lismore man was farewelled on Monday at the Lismore Memorial Gardens, with more than 200 people coming out to honour their friend.

 

Jesse Vilkelis-Curas, 24, was taken off life support at Gold Coast University Hospital on Boxing Day, five days after he was involved in an alleged attack in Ballina.
Jesse Vilkelis-Curas, 24, was taken off life support at Gold Coast University Hospital on Boxing Day, five days after he was involved in an alleged attack in Ballina.

 

Jesse's family had asked people to wear a bright coloured shirt to celebrate the young man's life.

His girlfriend Gemma had a friend read out her eulogy, in which she spoke of how she would miss her "soul mate" every day.

"You went through tough situations, but you always managed to come out the other side with a smile on your face," she said.

"You've really been my backbone and have nurtured me and have had my back and I adore that about you."

Delivering the funeral service, Father Michael Nugent said despite the "cruel" way Jesse was killed, he hoped people would keep Jesse's memory alive in their hearts.

"In our busy life we don't take that sort of time these days, unless the person we honour has touched our hearts in some special way," he said.

 

More than 200 people farwelled 24-year-old Jesse Marijonas Vilkelis-Curas who was killed after a fatal punch in Ballina in December.
More than 200 people farwelled 24-year-old Jesse Marijonas Vilkelis-Curas who was killed after a fatal punch in Ballina in December.

 

"He seems to have been a very gentle type of human being, didn't seem to be flustered by much and could see around the corner.

"Whatever he may have been growing up, it was certainly a staging ground to allow him to be the person he became.

"This is one time we should take a leaf from Jesse's book. Let there not be anger or hate, let justice takes its natural course."

Also speaking at the funeral, Jesse's grandfather Murray recounted a story of an unopened bottle of wine they'd always planned on sharing, and how he was now looking forward to drinking "it with him when we meet again".

Friends took some time to share their own memories of Mr Vilkelis-Curas and how they will miss his "peaceful and gentle" nature.

Last week police arrested Bryson Larsen-Tai, 18, and charged him with the 24-year-old's murder.

He was refused bail and is expected to return to Ballina Local Court on March 11.

After further inquiries by officers attached to Richmond Police District and Strike Force Tancred, a 19-year-old Alstonville man attended Ballina Police Station last week and was charged with affray, assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company and common assault.

Another man, 26, from Ballina, has been charged with possessing a prohibited weapon.

The men were granted bail and they're due to face Ballina Local Court on February 12 and February 26, respectively.

Another man, 22, from Ballina, was also earlier charged with affray over the incident.



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