Max Boggs was just 18 when he moved to Cobrico to sharpen his agriculture skills to take back to his family's farm in Northern Ireland.
Just months into his trip his family made the heart-breaking drive to Dublin airport to pick up his body.
Boggs was the passenger in a vehicle that failed to stop at a Cobden stop sign, colliding with another vehicle, in the early hours of June 5, 2022.
He was ejected from the car and died at the scene.
Mark Doughty, 25, also an Irish national working as an agricultural contractor at Cobrico, had an estimated blood alcohol concentration of between .210 and .234.
It was his second drink-driving offence in four months.
Doughty pleaded guilty in Warrnambool County Court on Wednesday, September 27 to culpable driving causing death, negligently causing serious injury and drink-driving.
The families of both men watched the court hearing remotely from the other side of the world where it would have been about 2am.
The victim's step-mother Lorraine Boggs said their son first told his family of his intentions to go to Australia for a farming season in December 2021, shortly after his 18th birthday.
She said he was a home body who planned to return for the peak season, bringing back skills he had developed in Australia.
"But on (June 5, 2022), our lives changed forever," she wrote.
She said the family carried "immense guilt" for letting their son go and "not being there for him when he needed (them) most".
She said they collected their son from Dublin's freight terminal "in a coffin, wrapped in cardboard".
Boggs' mother Rhonda Connell was at work when she received the phone call about her son's death, describing it as the most "heart-wrenching and excruciating pain" she'd ever experienced.
She said her son was "our world, our ray of sunshine" who went to Australia to explore the world to do what he loved most - farming and driving the biggest machinery he could find.
The court heard Boggs and Doughty were working for Cobrico's Monk and Son Ag Services in June 2022.
Boggs had arrived about five weeks earlier.
Doughty had just finished his three-year working visa stint and was supposed to fly home the morning after the fatal crash.
They had attended Thomo's Hotel in Cobden that night, consuming about 10 beers or mixed spirits each.
There was an altercation between a group they didn't know and the pub closed early.
Doughty drove Boggs and their friend Jack Finlay back to his Cobden house where they watched TV.
Barrister Ian Hill KC, representing Doughty, told the court his client had every intention to remain home and pack his bags before leaving Australia the next day.
But his housemate complained about the noise and Doughty, acting as a "peace maker", said he'd drive his two mates back to Cobden.
Doughty was drunk. He failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with another vehicle which was driven by a female bar tender who had served them drinks at Thomo's Hotel hours earlier.
Boggs died at the scene. Finlay suffered a broken jaw, six broken ribs and a fractured pelvis.
The bar tender also suffered injuries although they were not deemed serious.
The court heard a 65-year-old off-duty theatre nurse was first on the scene. She tried to keep Boggs alive but was unsuccessful, leaving her to carry "an enormous heavy burden of failure".
When police attended, Doughty told them he didn't know who was driving the car.
He continued to deny he was the driver until August 1 this year when he entered guilty pleas to the offending.
Boggs' family said in their impact statements he had showed no remorse for their son's death.
But Mr Hill said there was not a day that went by that Doughty did not think of what he had done.
He said distress and sorrow were dominant emotions for his client, who was remorseful and had surrendered himself into custody in August.
Mr Hill said in a statement Doughty said he would pay for his actions in prison.
"I didn't want this to happen," the barrister read.
Judge Kevin Doyle said there were aggravating features in the offending, including Doughty having a prior for drink-driving interstate and not holding a Victorian driver's licence.
He said there were prospects of Doughty being sent to immigration detention if sentenced to a period of parole.
"There's all those matters I have to take into account," he said.
Doughty will be sentenced on September 28.
Following Boggs' death a GoFundMe raised £17,771 for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which aims to alleviate the financial hardship of families repatriating the bodies of those who had died abroad in sudden circumstances.
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