TWO MEN will appear in the Ballarat Magistrates Court today charged with the murder of a 14-year-old autistic boy in Scarsdale.
Timothy O’Brien died after he was allegedly struck to the head with a heavy, blunt weapon after he attended a disturbance with his stepfather, aged 45, before 5am Saturday morning.
Police say Joel Henderson, a 39-year-old from Wendouree, was charged with one count of murder about midnight on Saturday night.
Earlier that evening, Ballarat man Darren Wilson, aged 35, had also been charged with one count of murder.
Both men appeared before out-of-sessions court hearings while a 28-year-old Ballarat woman was released on Saturday pending further inquiries.
Homicide Squad Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Solomon said police believed the boy and his stepfather had arrived at the property to help three teenagers, including two girls aged 19 and 17, who had gone to their house for help after feeling threatened by noises.
A 16-year-old boy was also in the house at 12 Carlyle Street where the incident occurred.
An altercation ensued and the alleged assailants fled in an unknown vehicle.
Police had arrested three people by mid-afternoon Saturday.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Solomon said the step-father, who sustained minor facial cuts in the incident, had a “a long, long road of heartache ahead of him’’.
“He (the boy) came here with his stepfather to assist the two young girls who were afraid, and he was assaulted by unknown offenders,’’ Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Solomon said.
“He never left the scene alive.
“The witnesses that were here were young people in their teens.
“They’re very traumatised and it’s a very slow and delicate procedure to get the facts from them.”
Police were called shortly before 5am by one of the girls, who had fled to a nearby paddock. It is understood one of the girls had received a call before the incident.
Ambulance Victoria rural spokesman John Mullen said ambulance officers were called to the scene at 4.54am.
Mr Mullen said the boy was already dead when ambulance officers arrived.
Ambulance officers were at the scene for about an hour and left after consultation with police.
Mr Mullen said paramedics did not treat anyone on the scene or transport anyone to hospital.
Linton police Leading Senior Constable Tony Walker was among the first officers at Carlyle Street and told The Courier on Saturday it had been a long day taking witness statements, piecing together what happened and offering local knowledge as Ballarat police assisted detectives with their inquiries.
Melbourne’s homicide squad remained combing the scene yesterday.
The Scarsdale Community Park, which was cordoned off on Saturday, was reopened by yesterday lunchtime.