Stabbing victim’s fight for his life

Friends and family of stabbing victim Joe Auciello have flocked to his side as he yesterday fought for his life at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne.

Mr Auciello and fellow RGM Financial Group director Pearse Morgan were stabbed repeatedly by colleague Carl Richardson, who later took his own life, at their Moe office on Kirk Street about 9am Monday.

Both victims were attended to by paramedics at the scene and transported to Latrobe Regional Hospital.

Mr Morgan remains at LRH in a stable condition and is recovering following surgery late Monday night, while Mr Auciello was airlifted to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne in a critical condition.

Falcons 2000 soccer club captain Mr Auciello was visited by teammates following surgery on Tuesday night and were left rattled by the state of their close friend, who was listed as serious but stable yesterday afternoon.

Falcons president Tony Salvatore said of about eight or nine club members who made the trip only senior coach and close friend Nick D’Alessandro was admitted to see Mr Auciello on Tuesday.

“Only Dela (Mr D’Alessandro) got the privilege to go and see him; it actually shook him up quite a bit when he did see him in that state,” Mr Salvatore said.

“He couldn’t speak to him because he had all tubes in him, but he did say that (Mr Auciello) recognised Nick and grabbed his hand and squeezed his hand pretty tight – he’s still got his strength in his right hand.

“His left hand, he’s got nerve damage and it’s all strapped up… but Dela was able to squeeze his right hand and Joey did the same thing.”

Police said 48 year-old Mr Richardson was found dead in Newborough after he stabbed the two men at the accounting firm on Monday.

Police said he died of self-inflicted wounds at a “bushwalk track” in a residential Newborough area following the assault.

It is believed he used a knife to inflict multiple upper body stab wounds on Mr Morgan and Mr Auciello, before leaving the address in a vehicle.

Mr Auciello was able to flee the office while bleeding and raised the alarm at the Caltex service station next door.

A number of employees, believed to be about 15, also fled the premises and a nearby school was put into lockdown following the attack.

A close friend of Mr Richardson, Tony Flynn, said the deceased man’s family was in shock during a brief statement at their Newborough home on Tuesday.

“This is a tragedy for all families involved,” Mr Flynn said.

“There is too much to process right now; we are all in shock, I never saw anything like this coming.

“On behalf of the family, our thoughts and hearts go out to the families affected.

“We ask that everyone’s privacy be respected. We ask the families be left alone to process everything.”

A neighbour of the Richardsons, Elizabeth Scott, said the family moved in about a year ago and had two young boys who would often play in the street.

Ms Scott said she had never noticed any commotion coming from the residence.

“It’s so sad; they’re really quiet, nice people,” Ms Scott said.

“You’d see the kids playing in the street, the kids seemed happy.

“This is not Moe. Moe is a quiet, country atmosphere; the whole area is really quiet.”

Latrobe Local Area Commander, Inspector Dean Thomas said he believed the attack to be out of character and no altercations had previously been reported at the business.

“It wasn’t expected… we’re just trying to piece it all together to understand the motive,” Insp Thomas said.

“It was a very traumatic (experience). Everyone was severely distressed and taken by surprise. Everyone did what they could to survive and assist others.”

Insp Thomas said the incident came as a huge shock to the community.

“Moe is a very good town; it has a very good community spirit. I’ll be honest, this is unexpected; we don’t get crime occurring like this down here,” Insp Thomas said.

“It was in a controlled environment within a business premises. It’s really out of left field.

“When you’re going to work you expect to be safe… all of a sudden this happens, it’s very traumatic.”

Mr Morgan is a Racing Victoria director and lifelong Gippsland resident.

RV chief executive Bernard Saundry released a statement on Monday afternoon regarding the situation.

“It is with shock that I confirm that Racing Victoria director, Pearse Morgan, has been seriously injured in an incident at his Moe business today,” Mr Saundry said.

“Our thoughts and best wishes are with Pearse, his partner Sonia and the Morgan family following this tragic event.

“I know the racing industry will join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.”

Falcons 2000 made the decision not to play this weekend’s LVSL senior grand final, which has been postponed indefinitely, under the circumstances.

Police are undertaking a forensic investigation, which remains ongoing.