Thomas Kennedy, of County Mayo, Ireland, was killed in Georgia after an argument broke out after drinking with a group of men and dumping his “unconscious” body into a river
Image: East2west News)
The inconsolable brother of a musician who was found dead in a river said he was “the most amazing gentleman this world has to offer”.
Thomas Kennedy, of County Mayo, Ireland, was killed in Georgia after an argument broke out while he was drinking and his “unconscious” body was thrown into a river.
The 28-year-old is said to have been studying music in the former Soviet Union when he was attacked by five local men with whom he had been drinking.
His body was found three days later on October 8, in the river near the village of Kvakhvreli in Gori Municipality.
Friends and family devastated on the ground have paid tribute to Thomas on social media.
His older brother wrote, “I love you so much, brother, you were the greatest gentleman this world had to offer.
“You were too good for all of us. To be honest, I don’t know how to go on without you, but thank you very much for giving us the greatest and funniest stories we could wish for.
He added, “I’ve told you many times, you made me and the rest of the family so proud that I will miss you forever, Tom.
“I love you more than I could ever try to describe. You legend.”
His aunt said, “RIP my beautiful nephew. You were unique in every way.
“One of the kindest souls who have ever lived on this earth, you trusted your heart and played your music as a genius! We will never forget you.”
Thomas’s cousin Olivia Barrett told the Irish Sun: “My family would love it if people knew how talented the beautiful Tom is.
“He was a self-taught musician with so much talent. Singer / songwriter, guitarist, violin player and many more.
“He was so gentle and kind, the funniest person you could meet, he wouldn’t harm a fly.”
Olivia started a crowdfundraiser to bring Thomas’ body back to his hometown, but Covid restrictions made it difficult
She wrote on the page: “On Friday October 9th, our beautiful Tom was found in the Mtk’uari River in Georgia. He died brutally and tragically at the hands of five evil men.
“We are absolutely devastated, there are no words, life will never be the same without our beautiful talented boy.
“It is very difficult to bring Tom home at the moment due to the Covid19 restrictions, so we are setting up this GoFundMe page to raise funds so that we can bring Tom home as soon as possible, we bring him to his beloved home in County Mayo.
“Our goal is to raise funds to help finance the expenses associated with Tom’s death. These include repatriation, funeral expenses, and Tom’s family’s trip to Georgia to see the criminal case over his death. “
the Go Fund Me page has raised more than € 40,000 (£ 34,000) to date with tribute paid to Tom and his family.
Thomas’ Gaelic Football Team Lahardane MacHales GAA said: “Farewell to a former North Mayo winning captain of ours; Thomas (Tom) Kennedy, who was cruelly received in the prime of his life.
“He was one of the liveliest guys there was … he ever smiled when he said ‘Nice one Bud’ and ‘Cheers Bud’. Rest in peace.”
Five men arrested on suspicion of murder appeared in court on Wednesday and dismissed the charges.
But four of the defendants admitted to robbing Thomas.
Prosecutors told the court how Thomas started a conversation with street musician Vasil Okropiridze, 24, who invited him for a drink with his friends, The Times reported.
But it is alleged that the meeting later turned violent and Thomas was beaten and then thrown into the river.
The court heard that a police investigation was opened after Thomas’ cell phone was found in a pawn shop.
Police said their investigation suggested Thomas was alive but was passed out when he was thrown into the river.
The court was told that the men panicked after the robbery because they thought they had killed Thomas.
Giorgi Balashvili, 28, Zura Palavandishvili, 19, Giorgi Okhanashvili, 17, and Giorgi Kareli, 20, admit robbers but deny murder.
They claim that Thomas fell into the river while running away from them.
Okropiridze has denied robbing or murdering Thomas.
Prosecutor Mikheil Beriashvili told the court: “The prosecution is not satisfied with the defense’s argument that the victim jumped or fell into the river himself.
“We believe we are dealing with premeditated murder to destroy the incriminating evidence of another crime – robbery. This was also done against a helpless person. “
All five of the defendants have been in custody for two months.