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A 12-year-old girl has faced court charged with murder after a woman was found dead in Footscray.
The child, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, sat in a children’s court flanked by two female police officers.
A police officer at the scene on Thursday,Credit: Jason Souith
Her lawyer said the girl was vulnerable in custody due to her age and because she had an intellectual disability, autism, ADHD and anxiety.
He said the child also had a history of trauma and was at risk of self harming while in custody.
It is likely that lawyers will soon apply for bail for the child at the Supreme Court, so the girl could be released into a secure welfare placement, the lawyer said.
“We ask that the authorities be alerted to her special needs that are exceptional in this case whilst she is being held effectively in a juvenile detention centre,” the lawyer said.
Members of the victim’s family also appeared in court, where the magistrate remanded the girl in custody to reappear next week.
The prosecution had initially asked for 12 weeks to prepare its case and obtain a pathology report, but the magistrate ruled that six weeks was appropriate “given the nature of the case”.
The girl looked around the room during the brief hearing, watching lawyers as they spoke to the magistrate from the nearby bar table.
“[Child’s name] what’s going to happen is … today is Friday, and I’m going to see you next [week],” the magistrate said.
Homicide squad detectives at the scene.Credit: Jason South
“You’ll come up on this video screen, you won’t come back into court. The police will now take you back downstairs and the lawyers will also see you.”
“Where am I going?” the child asked.
“You’re going to go out with police, and they’re going to take you somewhere you can stay at the moment,” the magistrate replied.
Earlier, police revealed emergency services were called to a building on Barkly Street in Footscray following reports that a 37-year-old woman had been found dead inside the complex, shortly before 2am on Thursday.
A 12-year-old girl was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital for an assessment under police guard before being charged with murder.
Victoria Police said earlier on Thursday that homicide squad detectives were still working to establish the relationship between the pair.
If you or anyone you know needs support call Kidshelpline 1800 55 1800.
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