Man Arrested Over Killing of 23-Year-Old Woman Found in Burning Car

Police arrested a man after a 21-year-old woman’s body was found in a burned-out car in Victoria, Australia. Co-workers of Hannah McGuire, who was employed at a local bar, said she feared for her safety in the days leading up to her death. Victoria Police charged a 22-year-old man with murder days later. A second man was arrested and released without charge. Witnesses told reporters that McGuire lived with one of the men but recently left. The victim subsequently filed for a protection order against her ex-partner.

Neighbors told journalists that while the ex-boyfriend, identified as Lachie Young, appeared pleasant, and there were no reports of domestic violence, he regularly raced through neighborhood streets on motorbikes performing skids. Others said there were many visitors to the house at all times of the day and night.

Young appeared in court facing murder charges on April 9 and was remanded in custody until his trial. Reports state that authorities initially believed Ms. McGuire had committed suicide, and records show her parents received text messages suggesting she engaged in self-harm. However, an autopsy revealed that the young woman died before the car she was found in had caught fire.

McGuire’s death is the third major incident in the usually quiet rural town of Ballarat, around 70 miles from Melbourne, in just over two months. In February, young mother Samantha Murphy disappeared on a morning run, making headlines across Australia. Police arrested 22-year-old Patrick Stephenson for her murder in March, but by then, yet another major crime had occurred.

Rebecca Young, a 42-year-old woman who lived in the south of the town, died in what police described as a murder-suicide on February 16. Alleged gang member Ian Butler, 55, also died. Police believe he stabbed Ms. Young to death and then killed himself. Neighbors called police after hearing a commotion inside the house the couple shared. The mother’s four sons were present at the time of her death.