Homicide detectives have charged a 31-year-old Albion man following the death of Melbourne teenager Masa Vukotic at Doncaster on Tuesday.
Sean Christian Price has been charged with the murder of the 17-year-old while she was walking home in a Doncaster park.
Victoria Police have also charged the man with a number of offences allegedly committed earlier on Thursday at Sunshine – including one count of rape, two counts of robbery and three counts of common law assault.
On Friday, Price was remanded to reappear in court on June 26.
The court appearance
Arriving to an out-of-sessions court hearing at the Melbourne Remand Centre on Thursday night, Price gave waiting media the finger.
He wore a blue disposable jump suit, and had bare feet, as he was brought before bail justice Ben Czerniewicz at an out-of-sessions court hearing Thursday night.
The accused man was also handcuffed, and slouched in his seat.
“There are a total of seven charges against you, are you aware of the charges?” Justice Czerniewicz asked Price.
“Yeah,” Price said.
At one point, Justice Czerniewicz announced the incorrect date of birth for Mr Price, to which he responded “are you a judge?”.
The hearing lasted five minutes before Mr Price was taken into custody.
Community pitches in to catch a killer
The Canterbury Girls’ Secondary College student’s body was found near a footbridge in Koonung Creek Linear Reserve in Stanton Street, Doncaster on Tuesday night.
Neighbours called triple-0 after they heard screaming and saw a man fleeing the scene, but paramedics were unable to revive the girl who had been stabbed in the upper body.
Detective Inspector Mick Hughes thanked the public for their assistance with the case.
“We’ve had massive support both in social media and I think we generated 100 information reports overnight,” he said.
Friends, family and neighbours remember Masa
A small vigil was held at the park on Wednesday night and the local community and Ms Vukotic’s friends left flowers at the site.
Police said Ms Vukotic’s family, who moved to Australia from Montenegro, asked for privacy.
The principal of Canterbury Girls’ Secondary College, where Ms Vukotic was studying VCE, Dr Mary Cannon, said the school was shocked and devastated by the tragedy.
“Masa was a very popular and respected student who had close friendships with many students,” Dr Cannon said in a statement.
“Our thoughts and wishes are with Masa’s family at this incredibly difficult time.”
Dr Cannon said additional specialist counselling for students and staff had been in place at the school since Wednesday.
She said the school was supporting the family and working on an appropriate way to remember Ms Vukotic.
Thousands of people joined a tribute page established on social media in honour of the teenager, with hundreds of people leaving messages of condolence to the family.
– with ABC/AAP