Woman’s family cry as her accused murderer faces court

Emily Woods |

Hannah McGuire’s devastated family members attended the hearing at Ballarat Magistrates Court.
Hannah McGuire’s devastated family members attended the hearing at Ballarat Magistrates Court.

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 25km 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.

Signage for the Ballarat Law Courts (file image)
Lachlan Young has faced court charged with murder. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Police prosecutor Steven Repac said members of Ms McGuire’s family were in court, and crying could be heard as Young’s case was called.

He asked for 16 weeks to gather evidence before handing it over to the defence, but 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.

Acting Sergeant Repac said there were multiple crime scenes to be analysed along with CCTV, DNA evidence and forensic analysis.

This 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,” Act Sgt Repac said.  

Signage for State Forest Road in Scarsdale
Hannah McGuire’s body was found in a burnt out car in bushland at Scarsdale. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

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

Ms 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.

Police have alleged Young knew Ms McGuire.

Outside court, Ms McGuire’s family members appeared emotional as they stood behind their lawyer Brooke Tamanika while she addressed media.

“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 police, however I cannot comment on the status of the matter.”

She asked the public to respect the privacy of Ms McGuire’s family and give them time to mourn.

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