A 19-year-old man from Broadmeadows has been charged with the rape and murder of aspiring Melbourne comedian Eurydice Dixon, whose body was found on a soccer field in the city’s inner north.
Ms Dixon was found by a passer-by on the field at the Princes Park sporting precinct between Royal Parade and Princes Park Drive in Princes Hill on Wednesday.
Paramedics were called to the scene but Ms Dixon could not be revived.
Jaymes Todd, 19, of Broadmeadows, was arrested on Wednesday night after he presented at a police station in Broadmeadows after police released images of a man they wished to speak to about Ms Dixon’s death.
He appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday, and sat motionless and with his eyes closed for much of the hearing before magistrate Andrew McKenna.
Victoria Police Leading Senior Constable Stephen Eppingstall told the hearing Ms Dixon was killed sometime between 10:30pm on Tuesday and 3:00am on Wednesday.
Victoria Legal Aid lawyer John Riordan said it was Mr Todd’s first time in custody and stressed his vulnerability in that environment due to his youth and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
The lawyer argued Mr Todd should not be publicly identified for several days while more information on his disorder was sought.
Sharing Mr Todd’s identity would also compromise his safety in custody, he said.
“The risk is real and significant whilst he is in custody,” Mr Riordan said.
Police are calling for anyone who saw something at Princes Park to come forward. (ABC News: Sally Brooks)
Intense media scrutiny of Mr Todd’s case and the impact that publicity may have on the reliability of witness statements still being gathered were among other reasons the lawyer gave to justify the suppression.
But magistrate Andrew McKenna ruled only images of Mr Todd’s face should be withheld from publication.
“Prison officers are very much aware of the high priority of safety and security being assured,” the magistrate said in relation to Mr Todd’s safety in custody.
Mr Todd did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody to reappear on October 3.
Aspiring comedian had a love for performing
Many are paying tribute on social media to Ms Dixon, who friends said had a bright future in comedy.
Paula Ferrari tweets: Beautiful, clever, funny Eurydice Dixon at her gig at Highlander last Tuesday. RIP. #eurydicedixon
Alex Lee tweets: My first stand up set when I was the same age as Eurydice Dixon, was about being afraid walking home at night. Making jokes about it was a way to feel slightly empowered instead of small and frightened. Mourning for this young comedian who was entitled to feel safe.
Rosie Waterland tweets: Just trying to walk home after a night of making people laugh. So senseless. So awful. Rest In Peace Eurydice Dixon.
Julia Morris tweets: I am absolutely shattered to hear of the despicable death of Eurydice Dixon. Our comedy community is like a family & this news is beyond heart breaking. My deepest condolences go to her family and friends. An important and funny voice has been extinguished. Vale Eurydice Dixon Jx
Comedians including Meshel Lawrie, Zoe Coombs Marr, Celia Pacquola and Anne Edmonds as well as Melbourne International Comedy Festival director Susan Provan were among those who donated via a fundraising page set up to raise money for Ms Dixon’s family.
Ben Pobije Facebook post: There is a hole in the heart of comedy today. Eurydice Dixon was a wonderful young woman and a very funny comic, loved by many. She’s been cruelly taken from us in the most dreadful way. If you can, please support this fund to help her family.
Ms Dixon performed a successful season at this year’s festival and had performed at Highlander Bar in the city on Tuesday night just hours before she was attacked.
Highlander Bar Facebook post: We are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic news of the death of Eurydice Dixon. She was a remarkable, talented, kind, unique and universally loved person and the entire staff are shattered and heartbroken. Our heart goes out to her family, the comedy community and everyone else who knew and loved her. She will be remembered fondly and sadly missed. RIP Eurydice.
Comedian Nicky Barry, who befriended Ms Dixon through the comedy circuit, described her as “an absolutely amazing young woman”.
“She had quite a presence, she was a very beautiful woman, and a very tall, Amazonian looking woman, so she had a real physical presence,” Ms Barry told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“When I first met her she was actually quite introverted, but she was an incredibly intelligent and articulate young woman and she had a real talent for comedy.
“She had a great passion for women’s issues and social justice issues and she drew upon them a lot in the material that she produced as a comic.
“She definitely did have a real talent for comedy and a real love for it too, because you’ve got to love it to do it well.”
Ms Barry said several comedy rooms had cancelled their usual performances on Thursday night as a mark of respect to Ms Dixon.
“Also because of how everybody’s feeling, the show’s actually not going on tonight,” Ms Barry said.
Accused killer was not on bail: Premier
Interviewed on ABC Statewide Drive, Premier Daniel Andrews described Ms Dixon’s death as “a terrible, terrible tragedy and such a waste, such a senseless, thoughtless, evil act”.
He said the man accused of killing her was not on bail at the time of Ms Dixon’s death.
“We as a system don’t really know the alleged offender,” Mr Andrews said.
Earlier on Thursday, Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper of the homicide squad urged anyone in the area between the hours of 11:00pm Tuesday and 3:00am Wednesday who saw anything suspicious to contact police.
“We’re still at the start of an investigation, so if there are members of the public that do have information or footage from dashcams or from CCTV please call Crime Stoppers,” he said.
More police have been put on patrol in the area, which is popular with runners, walkers and cyclists.
Detective Inspector Stamper said police were now satisfied the woman’s death was not connected to the sexual assault of a 21-year-old woman in Parkville in the early hours of March 28.
“At this stage we’re quite confident that the two matters are unrelated,” he said.
“Which of course unfortunately leaves us with the prospect that there is an outstanding offender out there for that offence.”
He also moved to re-assure the public after the woman’s death.
“My message is that people need to be aware of their own personal security and just be mindful of their surroundings,” he said.
“If people should have any concerns at any time about their personal security, call triple-0.”