Melbourne‘s shocking tradition of bloodshed continued throughout 2020 despite its residents being locked up for most of the year.
It was New Year’s Day when Melburnians woke to the news that yet another woman’s life had been needlessly claimed.
Lindita Musai had been trying to start a new life away from her father when she was cut down in a hail of bullets alongside her new husband Veton.
Lindita Musai and new husband Veton were killed on New Year’s Eve. Melburnians woke to a New Year of horror that continued throughout 2020
Maud Steenbeek had been on a Skype call with her brother inside her Heidelberg West home when she was attacked
The scene on Coppin Grove where a woman was murdered as she pulled up at her home in January
It would be the catalyst for a nightmare year that began with catastrophic bushfires and ended with the death of hundreds from the COVID-19 pandemic.
And before January was even over, another woman was dead.
Maud Steenbeek had been on a Skype call with her brother inside her Heidelberg West home when she was attacked.
The 61-year old had been seriously ill from a bout of Chemotherapy to battle a recently diagnosed cancer.
Only weeks earlier she had spent precious time with her family back in the Netherlands, from where she left to migrate to Australia some 35 years earlier.
Her alleged killer, Xochil O’Neill, had been brutally bashed at the scene by Ms Steenbeek’s son, who had rushed to her aid.
Footage of the distraught son running towards a television camera at the scene was aired across the country.
In July, O’Neill would plead not guilty to Ms Steenbeek’s murder and today continues to await trial.
Melburnians only had days to come to grips with Ms Steenbeek’s death when another woman was butchered in Melbourne’s south-east.
It is a murder now almost forgotten by the general public due to a series of court-imposed gag orders that forbid the name of the woman or her alleged killer from being named.
The mother of three had been murdered in the driveway of her own home after trying to protect children in her care from a man accused of stabbing her to death.
It was a crime that shocked the entire nation.
A source told Daily Mail Australia at the time that her alleged killer had isolated the children in the home from his alleged victim before turning on her.
Witnesses claimed the woman was seen and heard running for her life from the home before collapsing in a driveway in front of the children.
Ellie Price was found dead in her South Melbourne apartment
Leading Senior Constable Lynnette Taylor and her colleagues, Kevin King, Glen Humphris, and Josh Prestney all died while they were on duty
Carol Clay went missing in March and is believed to have been murdered
A prosecutor acting on behalf of Victorian director of the Office of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd, QC, had attempted to suppress any information on the alleged murder being reported at all, including the fact it was a matter of alleged domestic violence.
By the end of February, Melburnians were still coming to grips with a tragic train derailment, which claimed the lives of two people, when all hell broke loose.
Hawthorn’s Coppin Grove is a world away from the ordinary Australian reality.
But in March, it became a crime scene when a crazed knifeman stabbed to death a woman outside her home.
He critically injured another woman who had been with her.
A 59-year-old man was also killed by Mohammed Ibrahim that day.
Police believed it was a completely random attack.
The victim on Coppin Grove was a 30 year old woman.
She was never named by the media and became yet another faceless woman killed on the streets of Melbourne.
In the coming weeks the tragedy would become yet another faded memory as Australians went into hard lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another good woman would be killed the following month.
This time it was a police officer.
Leading Senior Constable Lynnette Taylor and her colleagues, Kevin King, Glen Humphris, and Josh Prestney all died while they were on duty.
While it wasn’t murder, truck driver Mohinder Singh Bajwa faces up to 20 years in jail after pleading guilty to culpable driving.
Melburnians endured a week of funerals in a year that appeared to be going from bad to worse.
The burnt vehicle Carol Clay had gone bush in with her lover Russell Hill. Both have never been seen alive again
The body of Elaine Pandilovski, 44, was discovered in July underneath her Mill Park home, on the northern outskirts of Melbourne.
They didn’t need to wait long before the blood of another young woman was spilt.
Detectives launched a nationwide manhunt for Ricardo ‘Rick’ Barbaro over the suspected murder of Ellie Price.
Ms Price had shared a chilling Facebook post urging her friends not to ‘take life for granted’ in the weeks before her death inside her South Melbourne apartment.
‘Covid-19 … Taken me by surprise, I’m so sorry for all the lives Lost RIP. May this make us stronger, kinder to people more grateful ￼for the little things in life and most of all, our loved ones.
‘Don’t take life for granted,’ she wrote.
Her neighbours reported hearing a commotion hours before her body was found, but police believed she may have already have been dead for several days.
Barbaro is expected to contest the murder charge and will return to court next year.
That same month the nation would be captivated by another mystery involving the disappearance and suspected murder of Carol Clay.
Ms Clay, 73, had been missing since March, but had been largely overlooked by the public during the pandemic.
She had been camping with her lover Russell Hill, 74, in the remote Wonnangatta Valley in Victoria’s Gippsland region and both have never been heard from since.
Mr Hill’s Toyota four-wheel-drive had been found by local police next to his burnt-out tent, but the pair were gone without a trace.
Police suspect the pair have likely been murdered, but as to how and why remains a mystery to this day.
Melburnians were enduring a cold winter in lockdown when the body of Elaine Pandilovski, 44, was discovered in July underneath her Mill Park home, on the northern outskirts of Melbourne.
Her estranged husband, Zoran Pandilovski, 45, was later charged with her murder and is set to go to trial next year.
Celeste Manno was only 23 when her life was snatched away from her in the supposed safety of her own home
Gabriel Messo was shot dead by police as he stabbed his doting mum Lilla (pictured) in a Melbourne park just across the road from where he lived.
Pandilovski was arrested after slamming his car head-on into a random motorist in what detectives suspect may have been a deliberate act to kill himself.
Family of the special needs school teacher, who also cared for her 10-year-old son with autism, had described Ms Pandilovski as a ‘beautiful angel’.
The very next day, another woman was brutally stabbed half to death by her own son in an attack that was caught on video.
Gabriel Messo was shot dead by police as he stabbed his doting mum Lilla in a Melbourne park just across the road from where he lived.
His housemate, Sylvester, said he had lived in fear of Messo and said it was only a matter of time before he killed someone.
The terrified housemate described Mrs Messo as a kindly woman who had doted over her son.
Police arrived to find Mrs Messo being brutally assaulted by her knife-wielding son in what they described as a ‘frenzied attack’.
Her son refused to comply with police orders to stop assaulting the woman and officers opened fire within 30 seconds of arriving.
Ms Messo survived.
It would be several months before Melbourne was back on the map again for all of the wrong reasons.
Celeste Manno was only 23 when her life was snatched away from her in the supposed safety of her own home.
Police allege Luay Sako, 35, had been stalking Ms Manno for sometime when he broke into her Mernda home in November and stabbed her to death.
He had been a former co-worker of Ms Manno’s.
Her shocking killing stunned Melburnians who had only recently come out of months of hard lockdown.
Ms Manno’s brother Jayden bravely took a stance against the violence and angrily said what every Melburnian was already thinking.
‘No-one should be scared – man, woman, child. No-one,’ he said. ‘This evil should not exist. Things need to change. This evil cannot be allowed to continue.’
But continue it did.
Abbey Forrest, 19, Inda Sohal, 28, and their baby daughter Ivy were killed in a blaze at Point Cook
Just weeks later a teenager was charged with the murder of his own mother and serious injury of his three-year old sibling and grandmother in Narre Warren.
Then weeks before Christmas, the unthinkable happened.
Abbey Forrest, 19, Inda Sohal, 28, and their baby daughter Ivy were killed in a blaze at Point Cook.
Their alleged killer had no disagreement whatsoever with the young parents – who were innocent victims of an alleged revenge attack on their housemate.
Jenny Hayes, 46, was arrested and charged with three counts of murder and arson causing death after allegedly deliberately starting the fire.
Grandfather Alan Forrest – Abbey’s father – bravely paid tribute to the pair at their funeral in Geelong.
Mr Forrest said his family would not get a chance to gather at his daughter’s 21st birthday and he would not be able to provide a speech as father of the bride.
‘She won’t make it to her 21st birthday speech, or her father of the bride speech. So this is one speech that I must take the honour of Abbey, Ivy and Indi,’ he said.
Emily Forrest said words could not explain what her sister meant to her and her family.
‘She was a sister, an in-law, a daughter and an auntie, partner, a mother a friend and an absolute blessing to this earth. May she hold her baby Ivy and they never be apart. ‘
In a year where Australians were told to stick together, the blood of Melbourne women again soaked its streets.