Ballarat murder: Ex-boyfriend Lachlan Young charged with murder as Hannah McGuire’s ‘broken’ family grieves

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Lachie Young, 21, has been charged with murder after the body of his ex-girlfriend Hannah McGuire was found in a burnt-out car in bushland in Scarsdale
Lachie Young, 21, has been charged with murder after the body of his ex-girlfriend Hannah McGuire was found in a burnt-out car in bushland in Scarsdale Credit: Facebook

A 21-year-old man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend after her body was discovered in a burnt-out car near Ballarat allegedly posted a tribute to her hours after her death.

Lachlan Young will face court on Tuesday over the death of Clunes woman 23-year-old Hannah McGuire.

Ms McGuire’s family reported her missing on Friday morning and her body was found later that day when emergency services were called to a vehicle fire in bushland near State Forest Road in Scarsdale, 25km southwest of Ballarat.

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Police initially treated the death as non-suspicious, 7News reports, until an autopsy allegedly found Ms McGuire had died before the car was torched.

On Sunday afternoon, Victoria Police executed three warrants at homes in the town of Sebastopol — about 120km north-west of Melbourne — and arrested two men aged 21 and 22. The older man was released without charge while the younger, Mr Young, was charged.

The identity of the woman whose bdy was found in a burnt-out car off a road in regional Victoria has been identified as 23-year-old Hannah McGuire.
Hannah McGuire’s body was found in a burnt-out car. Credit: GoFundMe

Police will allege Ms McGuire died in Young’s Sebastopol home before he drove her body to State Forest Road in Scarsdale, where the car was set alight.

It is understood that police will allege a text message was sent to Ms McGuire’s friends and family indicating that the 23-year-old had been at risk of self-harm, according to 7News.

The Herald Sun has also obtained a social media post allegedly shared by Young at 1.19 am on Saturday that paid tribute to his ex-girlfriend. It reads: “I will forever love you until we meet again make that sky pretty beautiful girl”, with two love heart emojis.

It is understood the pair had been in a relationship and living together for the past year but broke up recently.

Ms McGuire’s death has left the small regional town of Clunes — populated by few more than 1700 people and located about 37km north of Sebastopol — devastated.

Tributes have poured in for the young teacher, who has been remembered as a “bright” young woman with a “heart of gold”.

Her family, who run the National Hotel where Ms McGuire had previously worked, closed their business on Friday afternoon in the wake of their daughter’s death.

In a post to the pub’s social media on Monday, the McGuires thanked the public for their support and said the hotel would re-open on Wednesday.

“Our hearts are broken,” the post read.

“You weren’t just a star to us. You were our whole damn sky’. Miss you Princess!”

Among online tributes, the Clunes Cricket Club, which is sponsored by the McGuires’ pub, set up a GoFundMe page to support the family after the “devastating” death.

“Hannah was known by many as a bright young woman and had a heart of gold,” the club said in a statement.

“As a club and a community, we want to put our arms around the McGuire family and everyone close to Hannah.”

Comments on the GoFundMe describe Ms McGuire as being “so supportive of her family and friends” and a person who “always strived to do her best”.

Dozens of locals flooded the comments of social media with their commemorations for the “beautiful young lady” whose life was “taken too soon”.

Ms McGuire’s death is the latest tragedy to hit the Ballarat region as the city grapples with the alleged murder of mother-of-three Samantha Murphy, who disappeared after going for a jog in February.

Victoria Police charged Patrick Stephenson, the son of former AFL player Orren Stephenson, with Ms Murphy’s murder.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the investigation remained ongoing and urged members of the public to come forward with information.

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