Woman seen with 'choke' marks before her alleged murder

·2-min read

A woman who was allegedly murdered in a Melbourne apartment told a close friend she had been choked by her ex-boyfriend in the lead-up to her death.

Ellie Price was found dead in her blood-soaked South Melbourne flat on May 4, 2020.

It's alleged her on-and-off again boyfriend Ricardo Barbaro fatally stabbed the 26-year-old in the early hours of April 29 before going on the run.

Barbaro has pleaded not guilty to Ms Price's murder, with the 36-year-old on trial in the Victorian Supreme Court.

Ms Price's close friend Mark Gray gave evidence that she had a mark on her neck that looked like a hickey when he saw her on April 21.

When he asked her about it, she told him her ex-boyfriend had tried to choked her and demonstrated putting her hands around her neck.

Mr Gray told the court Ms Price had said the ex-boyfriend was called Ricardo.

In his evidence on Monday, Mr Gray said he first met Ms Price when she was working as a stripper and dancer at The Men's Gallery in Melbourne.

He financially supported Ms Price throughout their friendship, paying for her rent six months in advance and buying her a cat among other expenses.

Mr Gray said he was like a big brother to her and acted like her "life support".

"I felt sorry for her. She needed some stability," he told the court.

"She had a great future. Even when she was under my care and supervision, she had already made great steps. She'd gone back to school."

Ms Price would make repayments irregularly and it would be "bits of pieces here and there", Mr Gray said.

He told the court he stopped their friendship between June 19, 2019, and February 13, 2020, because she became too reliant on him and was asking for too much money.

Mr Gray is due to continue his evidence on Tuesday afternoon.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline 13 11 14