Woman’s clash with Geelong ‘house of horrors’ owner

Footage has captured the moment the woman who lived in Victoria’s ‘house of horrors’ confronted a neighbour.

Police had discovered the skeleton of the woman’s brother, who had been missing since 2017, at her public housing unit on Russell Street in Newtown, Geelong, southwest of Melbourne, in December 2022.

Police also found floor-to-ceiling rubbish, rats, dead possums and human faeces in the unit.

That month, officers arrested the woman, who is aged in her 70s and has only been identified as ‘Marie’, on an unrelated matter. She has since been released and has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

A video shared on TikTok around the time of Marie’s arrest shows her confronting a neighbour who is sat perched upon a roof.

In the video, Marie, a known hoarder who kept piles of rubbish in her commission unit, appears to accuse the neighbour of climbing up on her roof.

“I’m not on your roof,” the neighbour denies. “You seriously need to get your eyes checked I think.”

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The pair continues to argue as Marie brings up the subject of cameras.

“We don’t have any cameras because you told us we’re not allowed to,” says the neighbour before telling Marie to leave.

“P**s off Marie,” she yells. “1, 2, 3 go.”

Marie is then seen walking off before another clip shows her being arrested by police.

Geelong CIU Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Guthrie said officers needed extra support after finding the man’s body inside the unit.

“It was pretty shocking for the members [of the police force] that attended,” Mr Guthrie told The Geelong Advertiser.

“The smell, the condition [of the home], then having to remove the body with the assistance of the undertakers, it was quite horrific for them, really horrific.”

He said recent news reports had “brought up some terrible memories” for officers who attended the scene.

“It’s obvious this kind of thing should not happen,” he said.

A spokesperson for Victoria Police told news.com.au police attended an address in Newtown, in Geelong, for a welfare check on a male resident on December 28, 2022.

“Officers attended the Russell Street property about 6pm and located the male deceased inside,” the spokesperson said.

Forensic specialists in biohazard suits retrieved what was left of the man on December 29, 2022.

Residents on Newtown’s Russell street described the unit as a “house of horrors”, according to The Geelong Advertiser.

Neighbour Nicole Stratton said the house had always smelled, but they attributed it to a build-up of “utter filth”

“There was always a smell but we just thought it was the piles of rubbish,” the 31-year-old told the publication.

“The blinds were always down and you could see the mould on the back of them.

“The carport was constantly filled with trash.

“There were rats everywhere, it was honestly disgusting.”

Ms Stratton said numerous residents consistently complained to Geelong Council and Victoria’s Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) about the mess.

“We complained to housing about the mess, and they would do checks but she would never open the door for them,” she said.

Ms Stratton said the situation has been “traumatic” for residents.

“My eldest still won’t go outside at night, she is scared,” she said.

Another resident on the street who did not want to be named, said the lack of action was “crazy”.

“I can safely say there was no routine inspection or welfare check on that individual for at least a year and possibly more,” he said.

“You have residents raising all these concerns and it falls on deaf ears, you start thinking what the f***.

“It is crazy.”

Geelong businesswoman Linda Jenkins said “red flags” were raised to government bodies about the alleged bizarre behaviour of the woman.

A City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) spokesperson confirmed to the Geelong Advertiser that complaints were made about the condition of the unit prior to the discovery of the man’s body.

It’s believed a council staff member attempted to engage with the tenant on one occasion before contacting DFFH.

Health concerns were also raised with the city by several concerned Russell St residents.

“The property owner (DFFH) was contacted and they stated that appropriate action would be taken,” the CoGG spokesman said.

DFFH spokesman said welfare checks had been made “since 2021” after growing concerns over a lack of contact, lack of access and the poor state of the property.

“This is a tragic incident,” the spokesman said.

The woman who lived alongside the body has not been charged over the death.

The man’s cause of death has not been made public and the coroner is investigating.

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