Missing woman's boyfriend on murder charge

·2-min read

The boyfriend of missing Melbourne woman Maryam Hamka learned he'd been charged with her murder via television news from his prison cell.

Toby Loughnane was charged on Wednesday with killing Ms Hamka, who has been missing since April 10.

Loughnane is already in custody over allegations he assaulted Ms Hamka at some time between December 1, 2020 and April 15 this year, when she was reported missing.

He faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday afternoon via videolink and was confronted by Ms Hamka's angry relatives.

"Toby, where is my niece? You should rot in hell," one woman shouted as the online hearing was ended.

The 36-year-old was last seen leaving a Brunswick supermarket on April 10. She told family she was going to visit a friend in Brighton.

Court document allege Loughnane murdered Ms Hamka in Brighton on April 11.

Loughnane's lawyer Sam Norton tried to have the assault allegation suppressed, arguing it could be prejudicial at a murder trial.

"Those allegations, which are denied, are serious allegations of violence (and) they have a nasty element to them," he said.

He added that Ms Hamka had not made the allegations herself. He separately noted that no body had been found.

Mr Norton was also critical of the way Loughnane became aware of the murder charge.

"My client found out he was charged with murder ... by seeing it on the television from his prison cell," he said.

He argued that if the media was receiving information before an accused, then that should be "reined in".

"A more cynical person than me would say the police have used the media very skilfully," he said.

Magistrate Hugh Radford rejected the application, saying the assault allegations were already in the public domain.

He also said a suppression order could not be used to punish police and prosecutors for how they disclose information to reporters.

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