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'Deliberate act': Son of ex-sports star revealed as alleged killer of missing mum

Author
Heath Moore,
Publish Date
Fri, 8 Mar 2024, 2:20pm

'Deliberate act': Son of ex-sports star revealed as alleged killer of missing mum

Author
Heath Moore,
Publish Date
Fri, 8 Mar 2024, 2:20pm

The man charged with the murder of missing Ballarat mother Samantha Murphy has been revealed as 22-year-old Patrick Orren Stephenson, the son of a former AFL star. 

22-year-old was arrested on Wednesday about 6am from his home in Victoria and taken into custody. On Thursday, he was charged with murder. 

Ballarat Magistrates’ Court granted the man interim name suppression, but that has now been lifted after Stephenson’s legal team revealed they would not be seeking permanent name suppression. 

What we know about alleged killer Patrick Stephenson 

Stephenson is the only son of former AFL star Orren Stephenson, who made his debut in 2012 for Richmond before joining Geelong in 2013. 

According to the Age, he would often bring his son Patrick to games and hang out at teams’ clubrooms where he would mix with the players. 

His son followed in his footsteps and was regarded as a strong AFL player in his own right at a local level. 

Patrick Orren Stephenson 22, has been charged with the murder of missing Ballarat woman Samantha Murphy. The 51-year-old mother of three disappeared on February 4 after going for a run in the Canadian State Forest in Victoria.
Photo / SuppliedPatrick Orren Stephenson 22, has been charged with the murder of missing Ballarat woman Samantha Murphy. The 51-year-old mother of three disappeared on February 4 after going for a run in the Canadian State Forest in Victoria. Photo / Supplied 

The alleged killer was reportedly living between his own home and his parent’s house when he was arrested. 

Neighbours who became aware of the arrest were left stunned, with some telling the Age the murder suspect lived a happy childhood and loved being around the AFL scene that his father gave him access to. 

“I was totally amazed, I didn’t expect it at all, didn’t know what was going on, particularly when I got home [to the street] full of cars,” a neighbour said. 

He was described as coming from a great family. 

“They were wonderful, absolutely wonderful neighbours,” said one. “I didn’t really know [the man], I only really know girls.” 

Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said Patrick Stephenson had not disclosed the location of Murphy’s body and her whereabouts were still unknown. 

“The investigation is far from over. We’re doing everything we can to find her body. 

“For the family, it’s absolutely vital, and it’s something we’ll be focusing on.” 

Police said they don’t believe the man was known to Murphy or to her family. 

Stephenson, a tradesman, did not suffer from any drug problems or mental health conditions, his lawyer David Tamanika said. 

However, Tamanika was successful in being granted interim name suppression for Stephenson, claiming his client was at risk of self-harm while behind bars. 

Stephenson will remain in custody until his next court appearance in August. 

Samantha Murphy is 51 years old and described as tall with blonde hair, last seen wearing a brown singlet.Samantha Murphy is 51 years old and described as tall with blonde hair, last seen wearing a brown singlet. 

What police will allege happened to Samantha Murphy 

Patton said police would allege Murphy’s murder was a “deliberate” attack, but refrained from providing further details surrounding the circumstances. 

“He has been charged with murder so by its definition we are saying this was a deliberate attack on Samantha. 

“We are alleging that this is a deliberate attack that has resulted in the murder of Samantha.” 

Police confirmed they would not allege the mother of three was killed in a hit-and-run, but firmly believe she was killed the day she went missing. 

Crews scoured dense bushland in the Canadian State Forest for missing woman Samantha Murphy.Crews scoured dense bushland in the Canadian State Forest for missing woman Samantha Murphy. 

Police and specialist detectives are continuing a desperate search for the body of Murphy, who was last seen on February 4. 

“Investigations will continue at a very heavy pace,” Patton said. 

“Doing everything we can to locate Samantha’s body for the family is absolutely vital.” 

Police are not looking for anyone else at this stage in connection to the alleged murder. 

Murphy family breaks silence following murder charge 

After news broke of the arrest and murder charge, Murphy’s husband Mick addressed the media saying there was a mixture of “relief” and heartache. 

“The adrenaline with everything that’s been going on, it’s just, it’s trying to be brave for everybody,” he told reporters, explaining that it was a “relief” to see the case being resolved. 

“It’s something you wouldn’t want anybody to experience.” 

“It is [a relief]. Definitely. It’s like something has just let the pressure valve off sort of thing. It hasn’t been a good near on five weeks. Anyway, we’re doing as good as we can. Keeping a brave face.” 

Michael (Mick) Murphy, the husband of missing woman Samantha Murphy, has appealed for any information from members of the public about the whereabouts of his wife.Michael (Mick) Murphy, the husband of missing woman Samantha Murphy, has appealed for any information from members of the public about the whereabouts of his wife. 

He revealed his family was “doing the best we can under the circumstances”. 

Murphy’s father, John Robson, also spoke to media, saying they hope they’ve got the right person and that a conviction would bring an element of closure for the family. 

“I can only hope that he is the bloke responsible because that way, we might get a bit of closure. 

“You know, it’s sort of too late to think that she might still be alive.” 

Murphy, a mother of three, left her home at Eureka St in Ballarat East on February 4 to go jogging and has not been seen since 

“Despite a significant investigation and extensive searches of the Canadian Forest area, no trace of the 51-year-old has been located,” police said in a statement on Thursday. 

Officers have spoken to several people as part of their investigation into the disappearance, police said. 

In late February, Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt said it was most likely her disappearance involved one or more parties. 

Police were doubtful she was still alive and had been looking at the possibility her body was moved from where she vanished, Hatt told reporters on February 23. 

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