Residents living in multi-million pound properties in a luxury Victorian suburb were unaware they had been living next door to a house of horrors.
That is, until mentally ill resident ‘Marie’ was taken away in handcuffs by police, bringing to light a terrible ordeal.
Inside her ramshackle house in Newtown, Geelong, Marie had been living for years not only among piles of rotting rubbish, but also among the body of her deceased brother.
From the outside, the house appeared to be well maintained, and Marie was known among her neighbors for being something of a “clean freak.”
Police arrest woman who had allegedly been living with her dead brother’s body for years
A woman believed to have been living with her brother’s body is understood to have cut the front lawn of her property (pictured) with scissors.
The house has been cleared of trash, but still has broken windows in the back.
“We would see her outside cutting the grass with scissors,” a neighbor across the street told Daily Mail Australia.
Neighbors claimed they were unaware of the tragic conditions Marie and her brother had lived in for what some said could have been up to five years.
Located just across the road from the Geelong Football Club stadium, the suburb is considered one of the most affluent in the city.
Marie had been living in housing commission apartments in elegant surroundings for more than a decade.
Their neighbors described both Marie and her brother as friendly characters, but clearly outsiders in an otherwise well-to-do neighborhood.
‘She was a bit strange. We all knew her. She wasn’t dangerous or anything,” said a neighbor who preferred to remain anonymous.
‘I was outside cleaning and doing things, collecting leaves. She was always so kind and clean. She was quiet, reserved, withdrawn. Nobody knew what was going on inside.
‘Marie’ (pictured) kept the outside of her apartment clean and tidy, according to neighbors
‘Marie’ was known as a hoarder, who filled her house with garbage
The ‘house of horrors’ has been abandoned
Marie’s brother, whom his neighbors had not seen for years, was remembered for his curious nature.
“He obviously had some mental problems too. We’d watch him go out and he loved looking at the cars. He looked in the cars, but he never did anything wrong.
Neighbors said they didn’t think much about it when they stopped seeing him around the neighborhood.
“Things change, people leave… it’s just horrible,” the neighbor said.
Forensic specialists in biohazard suits recovered what was left of Marie’s brother on December 29, 2022 after she was arrested for allegedly violating an intervention order.
Today the house remains unoccupied, with boards covering the property’s shattered rear windows.
Nicole Stratton, who has lived directly behind the “house of horrors” for the past six years, said she was mortified by what had happened to her neighbor.
“I definitely had mental health issues, but I was definitely shocked by the body there,” he said Monday.
“Although the house was messy inside, it was very well-kept on the outside.”
Police in hazmat suits converge on Maria’s house
The house is located a stone’s throw from the home of the AFL team Geelong (pictured)
Stratton said she had complained to the Victorian Department of Families, Equity and Housing about her neighbour, but they were unable to discover the body.
‘They would come and check me and ask about her and I would complain about the smell. It was disgusting and the garage was always full of (garbage),’ she said.
‘I always thought the smell was just rubbish because she was always picking up rubbish from everywhere. I just thought it was the old trash left under the garage.
‘The blinds were always drawn and there was mold. She never opened the house.
Remnants of rubbish and rubbish can still be seen at the back of the apartment, where an empty beer bottle rests in the house’s sewer.
—Apparently the interior was horrible. I just think this whole thing is terribly sad. It’s shocking,’ said another neighbor.
Marie, believed to be in her 70s, was released without charge last year in connection with her brother’s death, while the exact circumstances of his death are still being investigated by the coroner, police said. Herald of the sun reported.
The recent attention has opened old wounds for those who knew the elderly couple across the street.
‘It happened a year ago… She was mentally ill and they just went unnoticed. If anyone had talked to her, she would have portrayed that everything was fine. It’s sad,’ said a neighbor.