Lachlan Young: Father in tears as daughter Hannah McGuire’s accused killer faces court

Remy Varga and Georgina Noack
The Nightly
Hannah McGuire’s ex-boyfriend, 21-year-old Lachan Young, has faced court charged with her murder.
Hannah McGuire’s ex-boyfriend, 21-year-old Lachan Young, has faced court charged with her murder. Credit: GoFundMe / Facebook

The father of a woman whose body was found inside a burnt-out car in bushland in northwestern Victoria has broken down in tears outside court after an appearance by her alleged murderer.

Lachlan Young, 21, fronted Ballarat Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday charged with the murder of his former girlfriend Hannah McGuire, 23 in the Ballarat suburb of Sebastapol, about 120km north-west of Melbourne.

Brooke Tamanika, a solicitor acting for McGuire’s parents, said outside court that the family had been devastated by the death of the 23-year-old.

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“As you can imagine this is a very devastating time for the family, for Hannah’s loved ones and for our community as a whole,” she said.

“The family have been assisting police however I cannot comment on the status of the matter.

“I would ask that everyone is mindful of the family during this period of time [and] that you respect their privacy and give them time to mourn the loss of Hannah.”

Hannah McGuire.
Hannah McGuire. Credit: GoFundMe

Ms McGuire’s parents Glen and Deborah, as well as the 23-year-old’s younger brother, stood behind Ms Tamanika as she spoke, Mr McGuire holding his face as he turned away.

Emergency crews found the body of Ms McGuire inside a vehicle near State Forest road in Scarsdale about 10am on Friday morning after a loved one reported her missing earlier that day.

Victoria Police executed three warrants at homes in the town of Sebastopol, about 120km north-west of Melbourne, on Sunday afternoon and arrested two men. The 22-year-old was released without charge.

On Tuesday Mr Young, who has a blonde mullet hairstyle and a sleeve tattoo on his right arm, did not speak during the brief hearing at Ballarat Magistrate’s Court.

His lawyer Crystal Caruana told the court it was her client’s first time in custody and his mental health was declining.

Police prosecutor Steve Rapac said there was CCTV, e-crime material and DNA evidence that needed to be analysed by investigators.

“There is some complexity,” he said.

LachlanYoung.
LachlanYoung. Credit: Facebook

A young blonde woman sobbed during the hearing while Mr Young slumped in the dock, his head in his arms.

Family, friends, and the community of Clunes — a town of few more than 1700 people, located about 37km north of Sebastopol — have been left devastated by Ms McGuire’s death.

Ms McGuire’s family has closed their family-run National Hotel in the regional Victorian town, where it is understood the 23-year-old worked and was liked by patrons.

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.”

Mr Young will next appear before court on September 19 for a committal mention.

Australia’s leading advocacy body for the prevention of violence against women has labelled the alleged murder of 23-year-old Ms McGuire a “national tragedy”.

Speaking on ABC Melbourne Mornings, Our Watch chief executive Patty Kinnersly said it was time for action to stop gendered violence.

“As a community, we have to move past being upset about it and taking action to prevent further murders of women,” Ms Kinnersly said.

“This is Australia, this is a first-world country. We cannot continue down this path of violence against women when we know it is preventable and it is based on respect and equality for women.”

Ms Kinnersly said 17 women had been killed at the hands of partners or former partners in Australia so far this year.

She said Australia, as a community, has not yet been “brave enough” to step up and call out the attitudes and behaviours that contribute to the epidemic of gendered violence across the country.

“I think the key point we are at now is people have to stop thinking this is happening over there or in someone else’s family or community,” Ms Kinnersly continued.

She said it was up to every Australian, school, sporting club, workplace, and government body to take action when we see the signs of gendered violence – no matter how big or small.

“As a community, each of us individually has got to take more action now when we see the signs.”

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