Woman’s family cry as her accused murderer faces court

Lawyer Brooke Tamanika says McGuire's family is devastated

Source: ABC News

The devastated family of a woman allegedly murdered in regional Victoria have cried as her accused killer faced court.

Lachlan Young, 21, was brought into the dock at Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning flanked by two custody officers.

He was charged with murder on Monday after the body of Hannah McGuire was found in a burnt-out car at Scarsdale, about 25 kilometres south of Ballarat.

Emergency services were called to a vehicle on fire in bushland on April 5, where they found the 23-year-old Clunes woman’s remains.

Her death was initially treated as non-suspicious until an autopsy allegedly found she had died before the car was torched.

Police prosecutor Steven Repac said there were family members in court on Tuesday, and crying could be heard as the case was called.

He asked for 16 weeks to gather evidence before handing it over to the defence, however Young’s lawyer opposed this time frame.

“Defence have been given nothing by police,” defence lawyer Crystal Caruana told the court.

“All the information we have is being received from the media at this stage and it would appear as though police have swooped very quickly in this matter.”

“It would be assumed that there is enough evidence against Mr Young to charge him with murder.”

She flagged Young could apply for bail in the Supreme Court, but needed this evidence to do so.

hannah mcguire

Hannah McGuire’s body was found in a burned-out car south of Ballarat. Photo: GoFundMe

Repac said there were multiple crime scenes to be analysed along with CCTV, DNA evidence and forensic analysis. It included deleted CCTV material, which police needed to recover and re-examine, he said.

“There is some complexity to it, obviously, given the nature of the investigation,” he said.

Magistrate Guillaume Bailin agreed with the prosecutor and ordered police hand over the brief by July 29.

It is being widely reported that Young and McGuire had been in a relationship before her death.

“I will forever love you. Until we meet again, make that sky pretty, beautiful girl,” he posted on Facebook after her body was found, according to reports in the Herald Sun.

Outside court, Ballarat lawyer Brooke Tamanika spoke on behalf of McGuire’s grieving family.

“As you can imagine this is a very devastating time for the family, for Hannah’s loved ones and for our community as a whole,” she said.

“The family have been assisting the police. However, I cannot comment on the status of the matter.”

McGuire’s father Glenn was seen being comforted by other family members, while friends of the 23-year-old left court in tears. Family and friends were escorted to their cars by police.

Mr McGuire and his wife, Debbie, run the National Hotel in nearby Clunes. It has been closed while they deal with their grief at their daughter’s death, although a note on social media says it will reopen on Wednesday.

In court, Caruana said it was Young’s first time in custody and he was suffering from declining mental health. He will be seen by a nurse in custody for a medication and mental health review.

Young will return to court for a committal mention on September 19.

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-with AAP

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