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NSW: Man who died accused of burglary had 'potential'

24 Nov 2008 6:57 PM

SYDNEY, Nov 24 AAP - A homeless, drug-addicted young man who died after a bungled Sydney robbery had great potential and a plan to turn his life around, the Salvation Army says.

Anthony Marsh, 19, was rushed to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on November 16 after being left unconscious and without a pulse following a scuffle witha tenant of a Marrickville share house he was allegedly trying to rob.

The "quiet and reserved" teenager died on Friday with his family by his side.

According to police, a 26-year-old male tenant had returned to the Myrtle Street house to find Mr Marsh inside.

A struggle began between the two, with other residents of the share house saying the younger man initiated the scuffle.

The tenant was questioned by police and released without charge.

The head of the Salvation Army Oasis Youth Support Network, based in Surry Hills, on Monday confirmed Mr Marsh had been a client for seven weeks.

Captain Paul Moulds said Mr Marsh was at a difficult stage of his life and had already experienced several years of homelessness.

"Despite his troubled background and difficult journey he had shown himselfto be a young man with great potential and a sincere concern for others," Capt Moulds said in a statement.

"He had a dream of working as a chef in the future and had also begun training for a forklift licence to help turn his life around.

"Unfortunately, his battle with drugs led him into some bad situations.

"This tragic incident should serve as a reminder to all young people who might not always think about the consequences of their actions."

Capt Moulds said the incident also highlighted the need for the NSW and federal governments to respond to the recommendations of the Australian Youth Homeless Report, which was released in April.

"We can save these young people but it will require the will and efforts ofthe entire community," he said.

A report on the 19-year-old's death is being prepared for the coroner.