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Murder charge dropped against 12-year-old girl accused of killing woman in Footscray

Peta Rasdien
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Victoria Police say the charge was withdrawn on the advice of the Deirector of Public Prosecutions.
Victoria Police say the charge was withdrawn on the advice of the Deirector of Public Prosecutions. Credit: James Ross/AAPImage

Murder charges have been dropped against a 12-year-old who had been accused of stabbing to death a woman in Footscray last year.

Victoria Police say the charge was withdrawn in the Children’s Court of Victoria on Thursday on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“It was the Director’s position that there were not reasonable prospects of conviction in this matter, because the prosecution would not have been able to rebut the presumption of doli incapax,” a police statement read.

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Doli incapax refers to the presumption that a child under the age of 14 is incapable of criminal intent, even where a criminal act is committed.

The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons and did not appear in court in person or via video link on Thursday, was assessed by a psychiatrist in relation to doli incapax.

She is no longer facing any other offences after police also withdrew charges from another two separate matters.

The girl was charged by the homicide squad after the death of a 37-year-old woman in a Footscray apartment on November 16.

The relationship between the girl and the woman killed is not clear.

In an earlier court appearance, after the girl was first charged, homicide detectives revealed details of a bloody crime scene, as prosecutors sought an application to extract DNA from the girl.

“There was blood all the way from the kitchen floor into the bathroom and all over the bathroom floor,” a homicide detective told the court.

“There was a substantial amount of blood on the floor in the kitchen and what appears to be drag marks in blood from the kitchen that leads into the bathroom.”

Neighbours called triple-0 after being woken about 1.30am by a noise and finding a young girl crying in the hallway.

The girl told one of the neighbours the woman had killed herself and she had tried to drag her into the shower.

The neighbours entered the apartment and found the woman’s lifeless body on the bathroom floor, naked and covered in stab wounds.

A knife was allegedly found in the victim’s hand, with a pair of bloodied white sneakers next to the body.

The shoes and knife, along with fake nails, condoms, deodorant cans and clothing, were seized by police.

The magistrate flagged issues around the child’s mental capacity to consent to giving DNA due her intellectual disability and because she is estimated to have the maturity of someone half her age.

Prosecutors withdrew the DNA application on Thursday, at the same time as they withdrew the murder charge.

The ABC reports that since the girl’s arrest two Victorian courts had been told of her troubled upbringing and that she had allegedly carried out several violent attacks in the lead-up to the November incident.

“The family of the victim has been notified and we will continue to support them throughout this process. Our thoughts are with them today,” the police statement read.

The matter will now be referred to the Coroner’s Court.

— with AAP

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