Interior designer dead for days before fire: police

Prominent Victorian interior designer Stuart Rattle was killed days before his South Yarra unit was burnt out, police claim.

Mr Rattle, who designed the homes of many high-profile Melbourne families and owned Musk Farm near Daylesford, was found dead in his South Yarra home in the early hours of Monday.

But in a charge sheet tendered to Melbourne Magistrates Court, police allege Mr Rattle was murdered by his partner, Michael O’Neill, on Wednesday last week.

O’Neill, 47, appeared briefly in court yesterday to face one charge of murder.

He did not say anything during his appearance, but wiped his nose with a tissue as he entered the dock flanked by security guards, and appeared as though he had been crying.

Chief magistrate Peter Lauritsen remanded him in custody to return to court on June 5.

O’Neill was charged with murder yesterday morning. The charge sheet listed his home suburb as South Yarra.

Firefighters discovered Mr Rattle’s body after battling a blaze at the two-storey apartment complex in Malvern Road.

Friends of the designer mentioned O’Neill in their public tributes following Mr Rattle’s death.

 Friends of Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, in Daylesford, posted a message on their website.

“It is with the greatest sadness that we express our sympathy to the family and friends of Stuart Rattle on the passing of this wonderfully generous member of our community,” the message said.

“We feel especially for his partner, Michael O’Neill.”

Several messages of condolence on Mr Rattle’s business Facebook page also offer sympathies to O’Neill, along with the Rattle family.

Mr Rattle, known for his classic, timeless designs and his clever use of colour, lived in South Yarra and at a farm at Musk, near Daylesford.

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