Ex-AFL player’s son charged with missing mum’s murder

Cassandra Morgan and Emily Woods |

The man accused of murdering Samantha Murphy has faced court where his name was suppressed.
The man accused of murdering Samantha Murphy has faced court where his name was suppressed.

The 22-year-old son of a former AFL player has faced court charged with murder over Ballarat mother Samantha Murphy’s disappearance.

The man was arrested about 6am on Wednesday at his home near Ballarat. 

He was charged with murder on Thursday, more than a month after Ms Murphy, 51, went missing from her Ballarat East home to go jogging.

Police will allege the 22-year-old murdered Ms Murphy at Mount Clear in Ballarat on February 4, the same day she went missing.

The man was wearing high-vis workwear as he fronted a packed Ballarat Magistrates Court about 3.40pm on Thursday.

He looked around the courtroom before staring straight ahead for most of the brief hearing.

When Magistrate Michelle Mykytowycz asked him whether he could hear her from the dock, he responded: “Yeah, I can.”

His lawyer David Tamanika applied to have his client’s name and other details suppressed from media reporting.

He said releasing the name could cause prejudice to the man’s right to a fair trial and said his client had been suffering poor mental health since he was arrested. 

He said it was the man’s first time in custody.

Ms Mykytowycz granted the temporary suppression order despite several media outlets standing up in court to object.

Prosecutors asked for 20 weeks to compile evidence to hand to the defence, because of the “significant amount of material” that needed to be analysed. 

The man was taken back into custody and will next face court on August 8.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Ms Mykytowycz asked the 22-year-old whether he had any questions.

“No, Your Honour,” he said.

Reporters followed Mr Tamanika outside court but he refused to comment on the case.

Police say Ms Murphy, a mother of three, left her home at Eureka Street on February 4 to go jogging and has not been seen since.

Her body has not yet been found.

The police investigation continues and anyone with information about Ms Murphy’s disappearance, including video footage, is urged to come forward.