Reason why Queensland father of 5 wandered the Cairns shopping center before a stranger ‘slit his throat’

A lonely father of five was alone in a shopping center desperate for companionship when he was allegedly attacked by a stranger who slit his throat.

Car enthusiast Michael Eaton, 51, had recently split with his wife and was regularly at the Cairns Central Shopping Center early in the morning to chat with store staff.

He was said to have been attacked on the ground floor at 8 a.m. Wednesday before the shops opened for the day.

The ‘laidback and easy going’ man was reportedly confronted by a 38-year-old stranger who came up behind him moments later and slit his throat.

Mr Eaton died 20 minutes later in a pool of blood.

Car enthusiast Michael Eaton, 51, (pictured) had recently split with his wife and was regularly at the Cairns Central Shopping Center early in the morning to chat with the store staff

The alleged killer is said to be former Australian Defense Force reservist Nick Boak (pictured)

The alleged killer is said to be former Australian Defense Force reservist Nick Boak (pictured)

The alleged killer is said to be former Australian Defense Force reservist Nick Boak.

He is said to have lived on Fitzroy Island for the past three months before flying to Cairns earlier this week.

Boak, 38, failed to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on Thursday to face a murder charge after court staff were told he posed a security risk.

His attorney on duty Natasha Jackson said Boak had told her from the guardhouse that he wanted to come to court in person for the hearing.

But staff at the court’s guardhouse were concerned about moving Mr Boak to the courtroom, police prosecutor Codi Dalley said.

Detective Acting Inspector Kev Goan (pictured) said victim Michael Eaton, whose five children are all adults, was at the mall because he was unable to work for health reasons

Detective Acting Inspector Kev Goan (pictured) said victim Michael Eaton, whose five children are all adults, was at the mall because he was unable to work for health reasons

A lonely father of five was alone in Cairns Central Shopping Center (pictured) desperate for companionship when he was allegedly attacked by a stranger who slit his throat

A lonely father of five was alone in Cairns Central Shopping Center (pictured) desperate for companionship when he was allegedly attacked by a stranger who slit his throat

“He poses an extreme risk to keep an eye on domestic workers,” she told the court ABC. “We would need extra time and a specialized team to move him.”

Detective Acting Inspector Kev Goan said Mr Eaton, whose five children are all adults, was at the mall because he was unable to work for health reasons.

With no one home, police said the former dog breeder went to the mall to “hang out with others.” Store staff told detectives he was always “polite and nice.”

“He was known by many by face and communicated with many through his visits there,” said DI Goan.

‘He gets along easily and is described as a fairly laid-back, easy-going nice gentleman.

Police officers and detectives are pictured at the scene after the man was allegedly attacked at 8 a.m. on Wednesday

Police officers and detectives are pictured at the scene after the man was allegedly attacked at 8 a.m. on Wednesday

Police speak to witnesses and review CCTV footage of the scene (pictured) to determine the movements of both men prior to the alleged attack

Police speak to witnesses and review CCTV footage of the scene (pictured) to determine the movements of both men prior to the alleged attack

“Nothing but condolences have been conveyed to the family for the way he was viewed by members of the public and the downtown owners.

“His untimely death is mourned by many.”

He added: ‘His family lives in Cairns and is involved in our investigation.

“Obviously this is a very difficult time for them and they have informed the police that they want privacy so that they can process their grief and make the necessary arrangements.

“He also has an elderly mother who is currently having a hard time with this loss.”

Police have cordoned off part of downtown with tape, seen here while the mall was closed

Police have cordoned off part of downtown with tape, seen here while the mall was closed

DI Goan said the alleged incident quickly escalated from a confrontation to the alleged brutal bloody murder.

He said the alleged killer had lashed out at the victim who had not responded before allegedly being attacked from behind and slashed in the throat.

DI Goan added: “We can say it was a considered approach where the… [alleged] the perpetrator came to stand behind the victim and the assault resulted in the victim’s death.’

Police are working with staff and witnesses to comb through CCTV footage to determine the movements of the deceased and accused.

Bo returns to court on December 15.

The 38-year-old will face trial at Cairns Magistrate Court on Thursday after being charged with murder.  (Pictured, police cars outside the mall on Wednesdays)

The 38-year-old will face trial at Cairns Magistrate Court on Thursday after being charged with murder. (Pictured, police cars outside the mall on Wednesdays)

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