Maryam Hamka’s family are desperate to know her whereabouts, 13 months on from her disappearance, as a court was told on Monday she had concerns about her on-off boyfriend in the weeks before she went missing.
On the day Hamka’s siblings sat in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for the start of a hearing that will determine whether two men charged over her suspected death will face trial, a lawyer for the family said they were distraught at being unable to lay her to rest without any remains.
Maryam Hamka has been missing since April last year and her remains have never been found.Credit:Nine News
Hamka, 36, was last seen in a Brunswick supermarket on April 10 last year. Her on-off boyfriend, Toby Loughnane, 42, has been charged with murder, and prosecutors allege he murdered her in his Brighton home the day after she was last seen.
Police also allege Loughnane assaulted Hamka in the months before she disappeared.
Another man, Oscar Newman, 27, has been charged with being an accessory and prosecutors allege he helped Loughnane clean the crime scene in the days after Hamka’s death.
Lawyer John Herron, an advocate for the Hamka family, said on Monday they had found it upsetting sitting in the same courtroom as one of the men charged over her suspected death, and one who might be able to provide them with answers.
Toby Loughnane is charged with murder.Credit:YouTube
Newman in on bail and sat metres away from the Hamka family in the courtroom, while Loughnane watched the hearing via a video link from custody.
“It’s just past a year since Maryam’s disappeared, and we’ve had no sign or trace or update of any sign of where she is and that’s the tragic thing for the family … it’s very hard to digest,” Herron said outside court.
“And there doesn’t seem to be any movement from the missing persons squad or Victoria Police.”
Kylie Zammit, an acquaintance of Hamka, told the court she had dinner and used the drugs ice, marijuana and GHB with Hamka on February 20 last year, and that she stayed until 4.30am because there was a dispute between Hamka and Loughnane.
“Seeing Maryam go through what she went through that night … she was in fear,” Zammit said.
Long-time friend Dale Wickham said in court Hamka separately contacted him with concerns for her safety about Loughnane. Wickham said he went and saw Hamka, but found no signs of physical violence.
Another friend, Shane Allan, said he spoke to Hamka on the phone in the hours before she disappeared, and that she sounded “a bit off”.
“Her speech was slurred. She wasn’t making any sense,” Allan said.
He said he later received a text message from Hamka’s phone that said, “Sorry I blew out.” He said he took the reference to mean that she had used too much GHB.
Loughnane has previously indicated he will fight the charges. He and Newman will be called to enter a plea if magistrate Johanna Metcalf commits them to trial.
The hearing continues.
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