A woman had just left court over a dispute with her violent partner when he stabbed her to death in front of Melbourne shoppers.
The mother of four had an intervention order against her de facto partner and was attacked minutes after leaving her solicitor’s office.
She was stabbed multiple times in front of shocked lunchtime shoppers in Sunshine’s busy Hampshire Road shopping district.
Passers-by performed CPR on the woman but could not save the 33-year-old.
Her 38-year-old partner drove away and has yet to be caught.
Police said the man had a history of family violence during their 18-year relationship.
Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey from the homicide squad said there was a current court-imposed intervention order between the couple, but he was unable to reveal details.
“It’s an atrocious crime,” Det Sen Sgt Bailey told reporters.
“We have some kind of dispute that occurred in court today and we were hoping the dispute would have been resolved by the court itself but this de facto’s taken it into his own hands to try to resolve that in his own way and it’s escalated.”
The woman left the Sunshine court on Wednesday, went to a women’s refuge and then visited her solicitor in Sunshine.
She was attacked only three minutes after leaving the lawyer’s office.
“There is an intervention order that is a court-issued intervention order (but) I can’t go into whether this case is related to that or not,” Det Sen Sgt Bailey said.
“There has been domestic violence issues between the two before.”
A witness, who did not want to be identified, said the woman was fighting with a man as they crossed an intersection before he stabbed her and then slashed her throat.
The witness said the woman appeared to be pregnant but police were not able to confirm that.
The Melton West woman had four children aged from nine to 15.
Police said the 38-year-old man was believed to be staying at his parents’ house in North Sunshine.
The man’s son, aged in his 20s, saw the attack and spoke to police.
Police found the suspected murder weapon – a fishing knife – several hundred metres away.
The man’s car was found on a road nearby.
Det Sen Sgt Bailey said police had CCTV footage of the man reversing into another car before driving off, but police were not sure if the footage covered the attack itself.