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Ballarat death: Man charged with murder over death of Hannah McGuire whose body was found in a burnt-out car

Remy Varga & Georgina Noack
The Nightly
2 Min Read
The woman whose bdy was found in a burnt-out car in regional Victoria has been identified as 23-year-old Hannah McGuire.
The woman whose bdy was found in a burnt-out car in regional Victoria has been identified as 23-year-old Hannah McGuire. Credit: GoFundMe

A “bright” young woman whose body was found in a burnt-out car in bushland in regional Victoria has been remembered as having a “heart of gold” as a man was charged with her murder.

Emergency crews found the body of 23-year-old Clunes woman Hannah 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 aged 21 and 22. They have cordoned off a red brick property on King Drive in Sebastopol.

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The older man was later released, but the 21-year-old was on Monday charged with murder. He is due to face Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

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.

According to The Herald Sun, her 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.”

The Nightly has approached Clunes Cricket Club for comment.

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”.

“She’s our guardian angel now,” Hannah Leonard wrote.

Close friend Caitlyn said the 23-year-old “will forever be a little sister to me”.

“You were an amazing women (sic.), an amazing friend, an amazing support,” she said.

“I loved watching you become the women you were and watching you grow. I will miss you every single day. My heart breaks, heaven has gained an angel.”

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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