A 28-year-old man is talking to police after the mother of an Irish backpacker fatally injured in a Sydney fight pleaded with his attacker to come forward.

The man walked into a Sydney police station with a lawyer and has been answering detectives’ questions.

Gearoid Walsh, a 23-year-old floor contractor from Dublin, had been on life support since he was found close to death on a footpath in the Sydney seaside resort of Coogee last week end.

But his mother said she did not want her son’s attacker to go to jail.

‘I’d really like to say that as a mother I really feel for this guy who got into a fight with Gearoid,’ said Mrs Tressa Walsh at a Sydney news conference. ‘I am heartbroken for him because we don’t blame him.

‘We don’t want him to serve time in prison. I think he was just very, very unlucky.’

Police had earlier released CCTV footage of a man they believe could assist with their inquiries into the attack on Mr Walsh, whose life support system was switched off as his mother sat at his bedside.

Paramedics called to a street in Coogee feared at first that Mr Walsh was dead. He appeared to have stopped breathing.

Police said he had become involved in an altercation with another man and received severe head injuries when he was struck and fell to the footpath.

He had been drinking with his brother – who lives in Australia – at a number of hotels in the Coogee area and became involved in an argument with a man at a take-away food shop.

Things quietened down and Mr Walsh and his brother left, but returned shortly afterwards and the argument started up again. It was then that Mr Walsh was injured.

Police said a man they believed could help with their inquiries was aged between 25 and 30, of average height and build with short brown, slightly curly hair.

His mother said the one positive thing that had emerged from her son’s death was that six other Australians had been given the gift of life from Gearoid’s organs.

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