News State Victoria News Homeless man in court over South Yarra hit-run death

Homeless man in court over South Yarra hit-run death

A 27-year-old Dutch cyclist was killed in the hit-run on Sunday.
A 27-year-old Dutch woman was killed in the hit-run on Sunday. Photo: AAP
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A homeless man charged with a stolen car hit-run that killed a Dutch cyclist in Melbourne has appeared in court with one arm in a cast.

Michael Panayides, 26, was charged on Tuesday with culpable driving causing death, and failing to stop or render assistance after the crash in which the 27-year-old woman died two days earlier at South Yarra.

Panayides, sporting long black hair and beard, is also charged with negligently dealing with the proceeds of crime, stemming from his alleged handling of gold and silver jewellery on Monday.

He did not apply for bail in Melbourne Magistrates Court, where he appeared with one arm in a cast before the case was adjourned until December 4.

Panayides, of no fixed address, was arrested in the CBD on Monday following a police manhunt.

Police earlier alleged the driver of the stolen Mercedes cut into a bike lane and pushed the cyclist up against another vehicle before fleeing.

Magistrate Phillip Goldberg would not release the cyclist’s name.

The woman had been in Melbourne on a working visa, according to earlier police statements.

Police arrested the 26-year-old man on Bourke Street at 5.30pm on Monday, just hours after Inspector Stuart McGregor told reporters they had narrowed the suspects to four people.


The victim, who police are yet to name, was living in Melbourne on a working visa and had relatives in Australia.

Her relatives are on their way to Melbourne from the Netherlands.

Her bike was pinned between two cars after the Mercedes tore along a bike lane on Chapel Street on Sunday.

Insp McGregor said it was “deplorable” the driver ran from the crash scene.

Police said the Mercedes was stolen during a burglary at Elsternwick on August 5 and the driver might have been on drugs at the time of the crash.

The victim’s family in the Netherlands have been told of the death by INTERPOL, working with Victoria Police.

“On behalf of the family we want to thank the community for their outpouring of emotions. It is horrendous. It is horrific,” Insp McGregor said.

“We also ask they are given this time to grieve. That the whole family is given the time to come here to Melbourne so that they can get together, grieve together.

“We are working with the family and the people who have been with her. There are people interstate that are making their way down here.”

The woman had been in Australia for “an extended period, a holiday of a lifetime”.