Man, 51, dies after having throat slashed by stranger in shopping centre attack

A 51-year-old man died in a busy shopping centre after a complete stranger with a knife walked up behind him and slit his throat, a court has heard.

Michael John Eaton was attacked at the Cairns Central Shopping Centre in Queensland, Australia, on Wednesday, September 22.

Acting Detective Inspector Kevin Goan said that victim may have ignored his assailant shortly before the unprovoked attack occurred.

"There had been that engagement, that engagement doesn't appear to have been responded to by the victim, it simply ranting by the offender", he told reporters on Thursday.

"And then, unbeknownst to the victim, he's assaulted from behind."

Despite the best efforts of bystanders and paramedics, Mr Eaton died of his injuries in under an hour, reports 7 News.

Det Insp Goan thanked the shopping centre’s security for their swift action in cordoning off the area to ensure more people did not witness the distressing crime scene.

He added that security staff had also helped officers to detain the accused, the Australian Associated Press reports.

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The shopping centre has provided police with CCTV footage of the events leading up to the deadly attack, but they have appealed for witnesses who may have spoken either to Mr Eaton or to the suspect, Nicholas George Boak.

Boak was arrested at the scene. He has been charged with murder and appeared in Cairns Magistrates Court earlier today, Thursday September 23.

The case has been adjourned until December 15.

Mr Eaton was a well-liked local who became a regular fixture at the shopping centre after health problems forced him to give up work.

Det Insp Goan says Mr Eaton’s easygoing personality made the random attack even harder to understand: ”As I say, the experience that he has had with many within the shopping centre, there's been nothing adverse that has been brought to our attention, quite the opposite," he said.

"He was considered to be quite a pleasant man and his engagements with others were quite happy engagements, not something that would work this type of actions towards him."

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