Beach brawl tragedy

Police on the beach at the site of the brawl. Pictures: Kym Ilman
Police on the beach at the site of the brawl. Pictures: Kym Ilman

Major Crime Squad detectives allege Joseph Robert Houston slashed the victim across the throat with a machete after a fight erupted at the party, about 160km north of Perth.

Police were told more than 300 partygoers had gathered to bring in the New Year on the beach, with about 90 involved in a brawl.

The Swan View man was also charged with attempted grievous bodily harm and unlawful wounding following the incident.

Mr Houston was not required to enter a plea when he appeared in Perth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

He was remanded in custody on a seven-day hospital order for a psychiatric assessment and is due to appear again on Thursday.

The victim ” James Dorloff, from Kelmscott ” died from his injuries on the beach.

Two others partygoers, including a 25-year-old woman, were injured in the brawl.

A 25-year-old man was airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital by helicopter with a serious arm injury and the woman was taken to Joondalup Health Campus.

Police were called to Wedge Island beach at 1.30am on New Year’s Day after reports of the brawl.

Officers were told a person had been seriously assaulted, he was unresponsive and that CPR was being performed.

‘Local police and detectives were deployed and, upon arrival, it was confirmed that a male person was deceased on the beach and two other people were injured and required medical treatment,’ a police spokesperson said.

Lancelin Sergeant Mark Swain said eight Lancelin officers were deployed to Wedge Island to help secure the scene for forensic detectives from Geraldton CIB.

They assisted Jurien police, who were also sent to the incident.

He said Lancelin police had 26 officers on duty over the New Year period and they were ‘flat out’.

Reports from the public included domestic incidents, fires, missing people and people being drunk and disorderly.

Inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the Wedge Island incident are continuing and anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.