Mooroolbark community saddened by suspicious death

Police cordoned off a large section of the car park and reserve on Brice Avenue on Thursday 29 February. Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS. 392330_05

By Mikayla van Loon

The Mooroolbark community has been left “saddened” after the body of a man was found behind the Brice Avenue community centre on Thursday.

Police opened the investigation after the body was discovered in the reserve along the train line at around 8.30am on 29 February.

The 38-year-old victim, who had no place of residence, was unconscious when police arrived but died despite efforts to revive him.

Gymbaroo owner Marion Stott, whose programs run out of the Mooroolbark Community Centre every week, said “it was dreadful” to hear of the news.

Ms Stott said she and other users of the community centre have been attempting to help a small group of men who had set up camp in the bushy area for a number of months.

Returning from the Christmas break to standard programming around five weeks ago, Ms Stott said she noticed they were still there and decided to call police and the council.

“[The death] perhaps could have been preventable,” she said.

“I think they came to do their bit and I’m sure everybody’s tried to do their best but nobody found an answer.

“We’re frustrated that we just couldn’t help although we kept on alerting people to the situation. It has been distressing watching them and not being able to help.”

A Victoria Police spokesperson said the circumstances surrounding the man’s death were yet to be established but a post mortem had led to the suspicious conclusion.

“Investigators are keen to speak to anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the reserve, or who has CCTV or dash-cam footage from the area,” they said.

Police had cordoned off a large area around the Mooroolbark Community Centre car park on Thursday, as homicide detectives continued the investigation throughout the afternoon.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a report at