Melbourne Man Found Guilty in Brutal Murder of Dancer Girlfriend

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A man from Melbourne was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, a dancer, after he was seen on CCTV footage fleeing the scene at 4:30am, not to return.

Ellie Price, a 26-year-old mother from Tasmania, was discovered in her blood-drenched bedroom in her South Melbourne apartment. She had been out of contact for several days, causing her family to grow concerned.

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Danielle Price, Ellie’s sister, revealed her worries to their mother. “It’s unlike Ellie to not communicate with us,” she remarked. “If we can’t reach her, we must involve the police to check up on her.”

The victim had been stabbed numerous times with her throat sliced open. The DNA of her boyfriend, Ricardo Barbaro, 36, was retrieved from beneath her fingernails.

Following four weeks of proceedings, the jury in the Victorian Supreme Court conclusively decided on Barbaro’s guilt in relation to Ms Price’s murder after just one day of deliberations. They returned to the courtroom on Friday to announce their verdict.

Ms Price’s mother and sister were among a group of women seated in the front row of the public gallery, a brief distance from Barbaro. Overcome with emotions, they wept and comforted each other when the verdict was announced. Jubilant yells of “Rot in hell, you scum,” reverberated from one of the women directed at Barbaro as she exited the courtroom.

This marked the end of Barbaro’s third trial for the murder of Ms Price. The initial trial was abandoned following inappropriate conduct by a juror, and the second one was discontinued to allow Barbaro’s legal team to go over new evidence gleaned from the mobile device of brothel owner Mark Gray.

The trial largely revolved around Mr Gray, who defense lawyer, Rishi Nathwani, had portrayed as a plausible alternative suspect that had not been thoroughly investigated by the police.

Details emerged that Mr Gray had met Ms Price in 2017 at a Melbourne strip club named the Men’s Gallery, where she worked as an exotic dancer. He had allegedly funded her lifestyle by paying her rent and showering her with expensive gifts, like a $100,000 Mercedes Benz.

Prosecutors led by Damien Hannan characterized Mr Gray as being exploited by Ms Price who took advantage of his affection.

However, Mr Nathwani posited the notion that Mr Gray was infatuated with Ms Price and discontented with their one-sided relationship.

The jury dismissed the notion that Ms Price’s friend, Mark Gray, was culpable for her murder.

Additional evidence pointing towards Barbaro emerged as CCTV footage and phone records revealed Barbaro departing from Ms Price’s apartment around 4:30am on April 29.

Furthermore, the court was shown CCTV footage of Barbaro examining a large gash on his right tricep in an elevator a day after the murder. Mr Hannan urged the jury to consider the combination of the footage and Barbaro’s DNA beneath Ms Price’s fingernails as evidence aligning with Ms Price’s attempted self-defense before her tragic passing.

Barbaro fled Victoria in a hired van on May 5, replacing the vehicle’s number plates with stolen ones. Detectives had visited his father in search of Barbaro, who was subsequently apprehended in New South Wales on May 14.

Upon hearing the guilty verdict on Friday, a shaken Barbaro sipped water while the public gallery breathed collective sighs of relief.

Barbaro was taken into custody, after which Justice Lex Lasry expressed gratitude to the 12-member jury for their service. A hearing to decide Barbaro’s punishment is slated for October 26.