Man charged with murder over body found in Gisborne

Published by The Age on April 15, 2019

A man who allegedly tried to hand himself into police only to find the local station locked up has been charged with murder after a body was found in Gisborne.

Police say the body of a 61-year-old Gisborne man was discovered at a house on Rodney Street in Gisborne about 6.30pm on Sunday.

Detectives from the homicide squad charged a Gisborne man with murder on Monday night.

Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said the alleged killer had to press an intercom button that took him through to Kyneton Police more than 30 kilometres away.

Mr Gatt said the incident highlighted how a shortage of resources in the Macedon Ranges Police Service area was increasingly putting police and the public in danger.

Kyneton police established there was an officer inside the locked Gisborne station, but Mr Gatt said their presence was a lucky coincidence. He was rostered to be on patrol that afternoon and was only at the station to finish another task.

It also meant the officer had to approach the man by himself, a situation Mr Gatt said was unacceptable.

Mr Gatt said pressure had increased in the region since Woodend station closed two years ago and was compounded by the fact that the Macedon Ranges station was expected to be closed for another six months.

"The reality is the community is suffering from this lack of resources - which are already at breaking point," he told The Age.

"We are now also seeing our members placed at risk because of this and we simply cannot allow it to continue.

"Victoria Police needs to act quickly and provide an urgent injection of resources to the Macedon Ranges PSA to enable them to do their jobs safely and support the community."

He said it was only recently that Gisborne station began closing at night because there were too few police to man it.

Victoria Police broadly confirmed the report, but would not comment on Mr Gatt's claims about resources or the repeated warnings from the association.

Meanwhile, neighbours are in shock that the normally "very quiet" Gisborne street is now buzzing with homicide detectives.

For one Rodney Street resident, Dale Takle, an untouched pile of newspapers and junk mail was the only indication something wasn't quite right two doors down.

He presumed the owner of the letterbox might have been on holidays, but knew it was far more serious when detectives turned up at his door.

"I didn't see anything, didn't hear anything, didn't know anything until the police knocked on the door (Sunday) night," Mr Takle told The Age.

"I'd been home all week and didn't hear any disturbances. There was nothing suspicious or untoward except the number four letterbox was overflowing.  I was actually thinking on bin night I should clean it up for them."

Mr Takle said detectives told him the man probably died some time between Thursday last week and Sunday.

Neither Mr Takle nor other neighbours contacted by The Age knew the men.

One neighbour said Rodney Street was "very quiet".

"It's just a typical suburban street," he said. "It's a beautiful tree-lined street. We did have a unit fire about two or three weeks ago but other than that nothing much has happened here, and I've lived here for six years."

The 55-year-old man charged with murder will face Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday night.

Anyone with any information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.