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Autistic Melbourne teen accused of murdering girl YAWNS in court

An autistic teenager charged with the rape and murder of a young woman appeared disinterested and yawned while he sat in the dock in court on Thursday.

Aspiring comedian Eurydice Dixon’s body was found on a soccer field in Princes Park in Carlton North, inner Melbourne, at about 3am on Wednesday by a passerby. 

The 22-year-old was on her way home from a Tuesday night performance at Highlander Bar in Melbourne’s CBD when she was allegedly raped and murdered.   

Her final words on Facebook were made inviting her friends to the Tuesday night performance, which she chillingly predicted would be ‘a good night’.

‘You guys should come along and watch. It will be a good night,’ she wrote.  

 

A young woman found dead on a soccer pitch has been identified as aspiring comedian Eurydice Dixon (pictured)

Jaymes Todd was arrested for the incident at Broadmeadows Police Station after CCTV images were released by police

Jaymes Todd was arrested for the incident at Broadmeadows Police Station after CCTV images were released by police

Pictured is Ms Dixon's body being removed from the park in the inner Melbourne suburb of Carlton North

Pictured is Ms Dixon’s body being removed from the park in the inner Melbourne suburb of Carlton North

Jaymes Todd handed himself in to police on Wednesday night and was charged over the alleged killing and sexual assault on Thursday morning.

The 19-year-old man, who police said did not know Ms Dixon, surrendered himself at Broadmeadows Police Station after officers released CCTV images. 

Mr Todd did not say anything for the full hour he spent sitting in Melbourne Magistrates Court dock – although at one point he was seen putting a hand over his mouth in order to conceal a yawn.

His Legal Aid lawyer John Riordan argued that Mr Todd’s mental health condition, as well as his age and appearance, would put the teenager at high risk in prison, The Age reports.

Mr Riordan told the court that Mr Todd’s family had ‘indicated his condition makes him socially regressive.

‘He struggles in certain social environments and that may have a significant impact on him in custody,’ said the lawyer.

The court further heard that Mr Todd was on prescribed medication for his condition. 

Mr Riordan applied to have Mr Todd’s name and image suppressed from all media reports for the sake of the culprit’s 15-year-old brother, but Magistrate Andrew McKenna ultimately ruled otherwise.

Ms Dixon's last words on social media were made inviting her Facebook friends to the Tuesday night gig

Ms Dixon’s last words on social media were made inviting her Facebook friends to the Tuesday night gig

Mr Todd handed himself in to police hours later, and was charged over the alleged rape and murder of Ms Dixon (pictured)

Mr Todd handed himself in to police hours later, and was charged over the alleged rape and murder of Ms Dixon (pictured)

A staff member at the venue told Daily Mail Australia Ms Dixon was remembered fondly by everyone working there.

‘There have been a lot of tears shed,’ he said.

‘She performed here every Tuesday night, and it has hit everyone here really hard.’

‘It’s pretty harrowing.’ 

The worker said the area around the venue was well-lit and safe at night, and the alleged rape and murder has rocked the community.

Australian comedian Julia Morris described Ms Dixon as an ‘important and funny voice’ in a heartfelt tribute on social media.

‘I am absolutely shattered to hear of the despicable death of Eurydice Dixon,’ she wrote on Twitter.  

‘Our comedy community is like a family and this news is beyond heart breaking. My deepest condolences go to her family and friends.’ 

Homicide detectives combed the park in the inner Melbourne suburb of Carlton North (pictured is the scene)

Homicide detectives combed the park in the inner Melbourne suburb of Carlton North (pictured is the scene)

'I am absolutely shattered to hear of the despicable death of Eurydice Dixon,' (pictured) wrote Australian comedian Julia Morris on Twitter, stating that 'Our comedy community is like a family and this news is beyond heart breaking' 

‘I am absolutely shattered to hear of the despicable death of Eurydice Dixon,’ (pictured) wrote Australian comedian Julia Morris on Twitter, stating that ‘Our comedy community is like a family and this news is beyond heart breaking’ 

Highlander Bar staff member James Forman said Ms Dixon (pictured) was a regular at the bar and performed to packed houses

Highlander Bar staff member James Forman said Ms Dixon (pictured) was a regular at the bar and performed to packed houses

Fellow comedian Chris Franklin, famous for his song ‘Bloke’, described Ms Dixon as ‘one of ours’.   

‘The Melbourne comedy community is grieving today… I worked with her over the last two festivals in Melbourne,’ he wrote on Facebook. 

‘All who can in the comedy scene will be attending the Highlander gig next Tuesday to remember her.’ 

Sydney-based comedian Mark Williamson said the incident was ‘wrong on so many levels’. 

‘What sort of society are we living in when a young comedian can’t even make it home safe from a gig on a weeknight,’ he wrote.

‘I never met you Eurydice and I’m sad I’ll never get to see your comedy. RIP.’ 

The accused was remanded in custody after being charged with one count of rape and one count of murder, and will face Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Thursday morning (pictured is a CCTV image released by police)

The accused was remanded in custody after being charged with one count of rape and one count of murder, and will face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning (pictured is a CCTV image released by police)

Ms Dixon left Highlander Bar (pictured) in Melbourne's central business district shortly after 10.30pm after a comedy gig

Ms Dixon left Highlander Bar (pictured) in Melbourne’s central business district shortly after 10.30pm after a comedy gig

A staff member at the venue told Daily Mail Australia Ms Dixon (pictured) was remembered fondly by everyone working there

A staff member at the venue told Daily Mail Australia Ms Dixon (pictured) was remembered fondly by everyone working there

Ms Dixon's social media pages reveal a love for the stage

Ms Dixon’s social media pages reveal a love for the stage

Another Highlander Bar employee, James Forman, said she was a regular at the bar and performed to packed houses, The Age reported.

‘She was just wonderful,’ said Mr Forman.

‘Everybody who knew her at the bar would comment on what a lovely and polite person she was. 

‘She was quite shy and very reserved, which was very strange, because once she got up on stage she’d have the attention of the whole room and they’d all be laughing.’ 

Ms Dixon’s social media pages reveal a love for the stage and her close relationship with the Melbourne performing arts community. 

Ms Dixon recently appeared in a macabre comedy sketch titled ‘A Date With Death’ in which she was the victim of a stabbing murder.

Ms Dixon recently appeared in a macabre comedy sketch titled 'A Date With Death'. Her character was the victim of a stabbing murder 

Ms Dixon recently appeared in a macabre comedy sketch titled ‘A Date With Death’. Her character was the victim of a stabbing murder 

The actor in the sketch who played Death said: 'Age 35, stabbed and left for dead in an alleyway'

The actor in the sketch who played Death said: ‘Age 35, stabbed and left for dead in an alleyway’

Fellow comedian Chris Franklin, famous for his song 'Bloke', was among those to pay tribute to Ms Dixon 

Fellow comedian Chris Franklin, famous for his song ‘Bloke’, was among those to pay tribute to Ms Dixon 

‘Age 35, stabbed and left for dead in an alleyway behind the Victoria Gardens Kmart,’ said an actor playing Death as Ms Dixon lay motionless on the stage.

On Thursday, one to watch the scene noted: ‘I am sure this is funny but it feels far too sad and real. RIP.’

‘How strange and tragic,’ another said. 

Well-known in the inner city Melbourne arts community, Ms Dixon performed to capacity crowds at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in March and April.

The young comedian also performed a solo show called At Home, I Feel Like a Tourist.

Pictured is Ms Dixon

Pictured is Ms Dixon

The staff member said the area was well-lit and safe at night, and the community has been rocked by the alleged rape and murder of Ms Dixon (pictured)

Well-known in the inner city Melbourne arts community, Ms Dixon (pictured, right) performed to capacity crowds at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in March and April

Well-known in the inner city Melbourne arts community, Ms Dixon (pictured, right) performed to capacity crowds at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in March and April

Kieran Butler said Ms Dixon was a friend of his, and had a gift for comedy, The Herald Sun reported.

‘I’d been mentoring and working with her on and off for the last three years. I thought she was going to break new ground through in the next five to ten years,’ he said.

‘I told her that to her face about 25 times. She was so young, she had time on her side.

‘She was good at undermining the things she believed in, she was that sort of comic.’ 

Another friend, Blaise White, described her as ‘incredible’ and said she was ‘missed like crazy’ by the performing arts and creative community in Melbourne.

Pictured: Jaymes Todd arriving at court, where his lawyer explained that the 19-year-old had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Pictured: Jaymes Todd arriving at court, where his lawyer explained that the 19-year-old had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Ms Dixon's body was found on a Princes Park soccer pitch, less than a kilometre away from a March 28 sexual assault

Ms Dixon’s body was found on a Princes Park soccer pitch, less than a kilometre away from a March 28 sexual assault

The accused was charged with one count of rape and one count of murder, and remanded in custody to face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Detectives drove the man, dressed in a black leather jacket and denim jeans, to the courthouse shortly after 10am.

The man handed himself in after CCTV images were released of a person who police said could assist with the investigation, Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper revealed at a press conference on Thursday.

Detective Inspector Stamper confirmed there was no relationship between Ms Dixon and the accused.

The community and the media played vital roles in helping police arrest the suspect, Detective Inspector Stamper said, and made a fresh appeal for public assistance.

‘If there are members of the public who have footage from dashcams and CCTV, call Crime Stoppers, we really need to get that information,’ he said.

Detective Inspector Stamper confirmed there was no relationship between Ms Dixon and Mr Todd (pictured)

Detective Inspector Stamper confirmed there was no relationship between Ms Dixon and Mr Todd (pictured)

Flowers are seen where Ms Dixon's body was found, in Carlton, Melbourne, on Wednesday

Flowers are seen where Ms Dixon’s body was found, in Carlton, Melbourne, on Wednesday

Police also said they are confident there is no link between the alleged murder and a late-night sexual assault in the same park in March.

‘At this stage we believe the two matters are unrelated, however, there is still a lot of investigation to go on,’ he said.

‘We are satisfied at the moment that the two aren’t connected which leaves us with the prospect that there is an outstanding offender for that offence.’ 

Police said the release of CCTV images on Wednesday led to the 19-year-old handing himself in at Broadmeadows, in the city’s north-west.

Police also said they are confident there is no link between the alleged murder and a late-night sexual assault in the same park in March 

Police also said they are confident there is no link between the alleged murder and a late-night sexual assault in the same park in March 

'At this stage we believe the two matters are unrelated, however, there is still a lot of investigation to go on,' they said (pictured is the scene of the incident)

‘At this stage we believe the two matters are unrelated, however, there is still a lot of investigation to go on,’ they said (pictured is the scene of the incident)

The images showed a man wearing a grey hoodie and a backpack leaning against a pole on the morning the body was found. 

The images were captured in Melbourne’s central business district, but police did not say when they were taken.

Homicide detectives locked down the area after the body was found at 3am on Wednesday morning, with police turning morning joggers away from the park.

A pair of men’s black leather shoes were found metres from the body, and police examined a bicycle and a bag, but it is unknown whether the items are linked to the alleged murder. 

Victoria Police said Ms Dixon’s body was discovered by a passerby, and paramedics were unable to revive her.

The body was found on a soccer pitch located between Royal Parade and Princes Park Drive.

Months before the alleged murder another woman, 'Jessie' (pictured), was sexually assaulted by a man at about 2.35am in Parkville less than a kilometre from where the body was  found

Months before the alleged murder another woman, ‘Jessie’ (pictured), was sexually assaulted by a man at about 2.35am in Parkville less than a kilometre from where the body was found

Police believe Ms Dixon was murdered between 11pm on Tuesday and 3am the next day, Detective Inspector Stamper said.

In response to concerns about public safety in the park police promised a visible presence and round-the-clock patrols. 

Locals left floral tributes at the scene, some expressing shock over the alleged murder, others complaining street lights in the park were almost never turned on.

The alleged murder comes after the sexual assault of an American woman, 21, who was attacked less than a kilometre away on March 28.

‘Jessie’ said she walking on Gatehouse Street, Parkville, at 2.35am when she was grabbed in a bear hug, dragged to the ground and sexually assaulted.

The attacker, described as being between 25 and 35 years old with a muscular build, average height and olive skin, tried to cover her mouth when she screamed.

Victoria Police said the body was discovered shortly before 3am by a passerby, and paramedics were unable to revive the woman (pictured are police at the scene)

Victoria Police said the body was discovered shortly before 3am by a passerby, and paramedics were unable to revive the woman (pictured are police at the scene)

The Washington DC woman, who was in Melbourne for work, said the attacker groped her neck, face and body.

‘It felt like a big force pushed me to the ground, there was a lot of force. Very quickly he got on top of me … hitting me, punching me, kicking me,’ Jessie recalled. 

She relived the ordeal in a press conference which has been scheduled in advance for Wednesday.

The timing of the press conference and the proximity to Wednesday’s alleged murder led to speculation the alleged attacks were linked.

‘For operational reasons a decision was made to do that media release [on the previous sexual assault] yesterday … [it] was already booked in before that incident [the alleged murder] happened,’ said Detective Inspector Stamper.

‘We just believe at the moment that was a coincidence.’ 

Detective Inspector Stamper said police were keeping an ‘open mind’ on possible links between the two alleged attacks, despite being confident they are not connected.

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