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Irish man stabbed to death on first date in Sydney restaurant

Published 31/03/2016

Keith Collins. Source: Facebook
Keith Collins. Source: Facebook

An Irish man has been stabbed and killed while on a "first date" at a Sydney restaurant.

The man, named in locally as Keith Collins (53), was stabbed in the neck and chest while his date Jovi Pilapil was also injured. Her ex-husband is the chief suspect.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Mr Collins, a father who lived in Terrigal on the Central Coast but believed to be originally from Dublin, died at the scene at Kangam BBQ restaurant in Westfield Hornsby.

Ms Pilapil was able to run away and hide in an upstairs shop, where she collapsed.

It is believed that the pair had arranged their first date after meeting on a dating website.

The newspaper is reporting that they were stabbed by a man believed to be Ms Pilapil’s ex-husband, Alexander Villaluna.

Witnesses said the alleged attacker calmly walked up and down the shopping centre's concourse, covered in blood and with the 20-centimetre knife in his hand.

After about 15 minutes, a female police officer with her Taser drawn apprehended Mr Villaluna, who had walked back inside the Korean BBQ restaurant and surrendered without incident.

A witness said the alleged attacker appeared "eerily calm" as he paced up and down.

"It's almost like it was an out-of-body experience for him," he said. "He probably sat down wondering what to do. He was eerily calm as though it didn't really matter."

Mr Collins daughter Aisling wrote on Facebook: "I love you more than anything dad, I'll forever be your girl no matter what."

Another relative Audrey Jenkins took to social media today. She wrote: "Love you big bro. Please, please be at peace now. Xxxx"

Acting Superintendent Damian Henry told ABC that police thought it was a targeted attack.

"When anybody dies in sudden and unnatural circumstances it's a tragic event," he said.

"The area where the incident occurred is a place that is frequented by members of the public [and] this is certainly out of character for that area.

"Generally speaking it's a very safe area around that part of the shopping mall."

Superintendent Henry said the 38-year-old woman was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital with a punctured sternum and was expected to have surgery.

The 44-year-old man was arrested nearby and was taken to Hornsby Police Station where he was charged with murder and attempted murder.

He was refused bail and chose not to appear when his case was heard before Hornsby Local Court.

He will face court again in May.

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