Minutes before young mum Ellie Price was murdered by her boyfriend, the young mother sent a clip titled ‘Save Me’ to a friend.
Nicki Minaj’s song was performed in front of a Supreme Court jury on Friday, as Ms Price’s friend Mark Gray testified about his relationship with her in the years before her death.
Ms Price’s boyfriend Ricardo Barbaro is charged with the murder of the 26-year-old in a violent stabbing attack in which he allegedly slit her throat in his South Melbourne flat in April 2020.
He pleaded not guilty to murder.
Ms. Price’s friendship with Mr. Gray, an accountant who owned a brothel who paid for her expenses, including rent, plastic surgery and a $100,000 Mercedes Benz sports car, was at the center of the murder trial.
Melbourne Supreme Court heard Ellie Price (pictured) sent a Nicki Minaj song called ‘Save Me’ to her friend just minutes before she was allegedly murdered
She met Mr Gray while working as an exotic dancer at the Men’s Gallery in 2017 and they developed a close friendship over the years, the 14-person jury said.
He agreed to provide her with a rental reference and then paid for Ms Price and her young son to live in several flats in Melbourne, including paying six months’ rent upfront, nearly $5,000, for the flat of Park Street where she died.
Mr Gray said Ellie looked up to him as if he was “like her God”, but denied there was ever any sexual relationship between them.
“It was not a Sugar Daddy arrangement or a sexual relationship,” he told the jury.
Asked if he had ever considered starting a romantic relationship with Ms Price, he said ‘yes but it was absolutely impossible’ as she had several mental health issues.
“So they stayed where they stayed, as friends,” he said.
Her then-boyfriend Ricardo Barbaro (pictured) is charged with the murder of the 26-year-old.
Eight days before she was murdered, Mr Gray said Mrs Price told him her boyfriend Ricardo had tried to strangle her.
When he urged Ms Price to report it to the police, she stormed off, he said.
It was the last time Mr Gray saw her in person, but the pair exchanged several text messages in the hours before she died.
‘Why aren’t you sleeping,’ he messaged Ms Price in the early hours of April 29.
“Stress :(. U?” she replied.
He told her that he would often be up late because his brothels operated 24 hours a day.
The friend Ms Price sent the song to, Mark Gray (pictured), was pictured arriving in court on Friday to give evidence about his relationship with Ms Price
Ellie Price was found dead in her South Melbourne flat in May 2020
She then sent her final message to Mr. Gray, a music video for Nick Minaj’s song Save Me, at 3:57 a.m., along with “XX.”
Prosecutors claim Barbaro stabbed Ms Price to death shortly before 4.30am and then left her flat in her Mercedes Benz.
Mr. Gray nodded in time to the music as the song, complete with lyrics, played on a courtroom monitor: “This time won’t you save me… Baby, I feel give up.”
At 4:33 a.m., he replied, “There are so many things I don’t understand. I just hope you can sort this out over time xx’ but she never responded.
Police found Ms Price’s body five days later, on May 4, 2020, on her bedroom floor with six stab wounds.
The month-long trial before Judge Lex Lasry will continue on Monday.
Ricardo Barbaro (pictured being arrested in May 2020) has pleaded not guilty to murder