‘I just want him back’: Family mourns ‘top bloke’
THE stepdaughter of Warwick man Mark Ireland has paid tribute to her 'adored' father figure following his alleged murder.
Leah Cowin said she spoke to Mr Ireland just three days ago, where he said he couldn't to catch up with her and his step-grandchildren.
"He pretty much raised me most of my life," she said.
"We never lost contact and I would call every four days or so, whenever I felt down.
"All my kids loved him. They adored him they thought the world of him."
On Thursday, police confirmed the 54-year-old died from head and facial wounds following an argument at a Hope St residence around 5pm Wednesday night.
Ms Cowin, still in complete shock over the tragic news, said she thought Mr Ireland was pulling a prank when she first received heartbreaking news from family.
"I didn't believe it. I told them 'don't pull my leg'," she said.
"He was a well-known bloke, a top bloke. I would have never once thought someone would do that to him."
Warwick man Dwayne Thomas Andrew Watts was today charged with murder over Mr Ireland's death.
He will remain in police custody until his next court appearance.
Ms Cowin said Mr Watts was a cousin of Mr Ireland's son, Matthew.
She said her stepdad had only recently returned to his hometown to help his own mother following the death of his father.
"I know he cared for everyone, gave everyone a chance even though things got bad," she said.
"My head just can't get over the fact he's gone."
Mr Ireland is survived by two children and five stepchildren and one granddaughter.
Mr Watts' matter was adjourned until December 7.