Mum’s tragic texts to slain daughter
The mother of alleged murder victim Ellie Price has revealed how she desperately tried to contact her daughter in the days before her body was found.
Tracey Gangell became emotional in the Victorian Supreme Court on Tuesday when recalling the time her 26-year-old daughter was missing in 2020.
Ms Price was allegedly stabbed to death by her boyfriend Ricardo “Rick” Barbaro before her body was found in her South Melbourne townhouse on May 4, 2020.
He is currently on trial for her murder.
Ms Gangell said she and her daughter regularly called, messaged and FaceTimed each other, which is why she became worried when the replies stopped coming in late April 2020.
She said during their last 12-minute Facetime on April 28, Ms Price had “seemed okay”.
Two days later, Ms Gangell tried to call her daughter again to no response, something which “caused concern” because she would “always ring back”.
She followed this up with several calls, messages and a photo sent to Ms Price of her son the next day but these always went unopened.
Crown prosecutor Patrick Bourke KC told the court how Ms Gangell attempted to contact her daughter across the next day or so.
“You sent both Ellie and your other daughter Danielle a photo of (son) Mozzie and the dog at 4.24pm that afternoon?” he asked.
“Again, you tried to call Ellie again but on a different number?”
“Yes,” Ms Gangell replied, before confirming there was “no answer”.
Mr Bourke went on to mention that Ms Gangell attempted to call her daughter two more times that evening but both resulted in no answer.
Becoming emotional, Ms Gangell recalled how she later sent a message to her daughter on WhatsApp asking her to “please call”.
She went on to send a string of messages including one that read “please call me xx”.
On the third of May, you sent another SMS saying, ‘if you don’t ring me tomorrow, I’m calling the police xx’,” Mr Bourke asked before Ms Gangell replied “yes”.
Ms Price’s body was found by police on her bedroom floor the following day, May 4.
Mr Bourke’s comments came after Barbaro admitted he drove Ms Price’s car from her home shortly after her alleged murder, but said it wasn’t him who killed her.
Six days before her body was found, Barbaro said he drove Ms Price’s Mercedes Benz at 4.30am before CCTV captured him dumping it on a farm at Diggers Rest hours later.
Barbaro said he never contacted Ms Price again after leaving her house that morning.
His defence lawyer barrister Rishi Nathwani told the court Barbaro “did not cause the death of Ellie Price”.
“He was not the last person to see her alive,” Mr Nathwani said.
“Were there any other people in the world in which she lived that wanted to harm her?”
Victoria Police sought information about Ms Price’s death on May 5, the same day Barbaro is believed to have fled north to NSW in a van.
He was arrested in the state more than a week later.
The murder trial began on Tuesday and is expected to go for four weeks.