News, Culture & Society

Fugitive Ricardo Barbaro is arrested in Sydney after his girlfriend was found dead in Melbourne home

The body of Ellie Price was found in a South Melbourne townhouse on May 4 and a national manhunt for her boyfriend, Ricardo Barbaro ended in Sydney on Thursday

The arrest of fugitive Ricardo Barbaro came after a tense stand off with police, as he refused to leave the apartment of a glamorous woman.

Barbaro, 33, was arrested about 12.15am on Thursday after a 10-day manhunt by national police over the death of his girlfriend Ellie Price in a Melbourne unit.

He will be extradited to Victoria. 

Police finally closed in on Australia’s most wanted man after a tip off, and found him hiding in Sydney’s west, in an apartment belonging to Crystal Shihada.

Shocked locals in the block on Amalfi Drive at Wentworth Point, said the first they knew something was up was when they saw heavily-armed tactical police standing outside.

‘I heard a noise outside in the corridor so I opened the door and there was what I am calling a “Ninja Turtle” – a police officer in all black, with a balaclava on and just his face showing,’ neighbour Carmel said.

‘He scared me. He said: “Oh, we are looking for someone we believe is on this level”.

Ricardo Barbaro (pictured) has been arrested after his girlfriend was found dead

Ricardo Barbaro (pictured) has been arrested after his girlfriend was found dead

Barbaro was found hiding in Sydney's west, in an apartment belonging to Crystal Shihada (above). It is unknown how Barbaro knows Mrs Shihada, and it is not suggested she was involved in any wrongdoing

Barbaro was found hiding in Sydney’s west, in an apartment belonging to Crystal Shihada (above). It is unknown how Barbaro knows Mrs Shihada, and it is not suggested she was involved in any wrongdoing

A CCTV image shows Barbaro in custody after he was arrested by NSW Police early on Thursday morning

A CCTV image shows Barbaro in custody after he was arrested by NSW Police early on Thursday morning

‘Down the corridor, there were quite a few of them (police) here and they were trying to bang the door, they did bang the door a few times.

‘They were talking to this person “Ricardo” through the door. I could hear them, they were saying: “Ricardo, I need you to come out”. They were very calm.

‘There was no answer, but they were still talking to him. This went on for a long time, I’d gone to bed but there was still a lot of noise.

‘What happened in the end, was that he wasn’t in there – he was found up on the 15th floor.’

When Barbaro finally came out of the top floor apartment where Mrs Shihada lived, he attempted to resist arrest and was injured in the ensuing struggle with police.

Daily Mail Australia does not suggest Mrs Shihada was involved in any wrongdoing.   

Calabrian Mafia-linked Barbaro fled Melbourne sometime between April 29 and May 4, police allege in court papers.

Barbaro was taken to Concord Hospital last night for treatment to minor injuries, and then to Burwood Police Station where he was charged on Thursday morning.

Magistrate Rodney Brender on Thursday ordered Barbaro be extradited from New South Wales to Victoria for the offence of murder.

The extradition wasn’t opposed by his defence solicitor Campbell MacCallum, who appeared in front of the court by phone from the Gold Coast.

A handful of NSW and Victorian detectives watched the proceedings unfold, and will take Barbaro into custody on Friday before driving him back to Melbourne.

He will appear in front of the Melbourne Magistrates Court on May 16.

‘Victoria Police would like to thank members of the public across Australia for their assistance,’ a statement read.   

The bashed door at the Wentworth Point apartment where Barbaro was dramatically arrested

The bashed door at the Wentworth Point apartment where Barbaro was dramatically arrested

Barbaro was apprehended in a top floor apartment of this unit block in Wentworth Point

Barbaro was apprehended in a top floor apartment of this unit block in Wentworth Point

Barbaro was tracked down to this unit complex at Wentworth Point.

Witnesses heard heard police saying: "Ricardo, I need you to come out".

Witnesses say police were banging the door and trying to get Barbaro to come out before his arrest

Gold Coast criminal lawyer Campbell MacCallum, who represented Barbaro over the phone on Thursday, told The Herald Sun his client received facial injuries during his arrest.

‘I understand he (Ricardo) was involved in a standoff. He received some injuries, facial injuries and some lacerations,’ Mr MacCullum said. 

‘Until we find out the full facts (what happened) when he was intercepted, they will be making comment after that.’ 

Mr MacCullum said it was a ‘difficult time’ for the Barbaro family, who had engaged him on behalf of the 33-year-old.

‘I’ve been retained by the Barbaro family to look after Rick in relation to these matters,’ he said. 

The arrest comes after Ms Price’s cousin Rebecca Lehner on Tuesday raised more than $3,700 to pay for the repatriation of the mum-of-one’s body to her home state of Tasmania, where she will be laid to rest. 

‘Ellie was living in Melbourne pursuing her dreams but her heart was in Tasmania with her friends and family,’ Ms Lehner wrote.

Homicide officers from Victoria Police are in Sydney and will extradite Barbaro back to Victoria

Homicide officers from Victoria Police are in Sydney and will extradite Barbaro back to Victoria

Barbaro (pictured) had not been seen after Ms Price's body was found, until he was arrested in Sydney on Thursday

The arrest comes after Ms Price's cousin Rebecca Lehner on Tuesday raised more than $3,700 to pay for the repatriation of the mum-of-one's body to her home state of Tasmania

Barbaro (left) had not been seen after Ms Price’s body was found, until he was arrested in Sydney on Thursday

Barbaro was in an on-again-off-again relationship with Ms Price (left) since October 2019

Barbaro was in an on-again-off-again relationship with Ms Price (left) since October 2019 

‘This is a terrible and tragic event that should never have happened and now here I am trying to raise funds to ensure my cousin makes her way back home and is laid to rest surrounded by the people who love her.’

Another GoFundMe page has also been set up with the aim of establishing a $10,000 trust fund for Ms Price’s four-year-old son Mostafa, who currently lives with her mother Tracey Gangell near Hobart.

The fundraiser was created by Matthew Barr, who grew up with Ms Gangell.

‘Tracey is a beautiful person, she is totally devastated on not only the loss of her daughter but the heartless murder that has taken place, it’s just unimaginable,’ he wrote.

‘I just wish I could take away Tracey and her whole families (sic) pain – my heart breaks for you all during this tragic time.’

He said Ms Price was a ‘kind soul’ whose life was cut short in a ‘senseless’ act.

Police claim Ms Price likely suffered a ‘violent’ assault on April 28 or 29 and may have been dead for up to five days before being found. 

Barbaro, who was in an on-again-off-again relationship with Ms Price since October 2019, had not been seen after her body was discovered, until he was arrested on Thursday. 

Ms Price is pictured with her four-year-old son Mostafa, who is being cared for by his grandmother

Ms Price is pictured with her four-year-old son Mostafa, who is being cared for by his grandmother

The 33-year-old is the brother of slain Sydney underworld boss Pasquale Timothy Barbaro, who was gunned down in a 2016 gangland hit.

His other brother, Rossario Dom Barbaro, killed himself just months later.

Another brother, Harley Barbaro, is an alleged Villains gang member who lives on the Gold Coast.

All four are the sons of Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Barbaro – a cousin of gangland figure Pasquale Barbaro, who was shot dead alongside Jason Moran in a van while watching a children’s football training session in 2003.

A year later, Joe Barbaro’s three-week-old daughter Montana, was snatched from her car seat in a western suburbs shopping centre. She was found in a derelict home with her head shaved days later.

Some members of the Melbourne Barbaro family have links to the Calabrian mafia, centred in the New South Wales town of Griffith. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk