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Eurydice Dixon: Comedian’s killing prompts anger in Australia

Eurydice Dixon at a comedy showThe alleged rape and murder of a young comedian as she walked home at night in Australia has prompted an outpouring of public grief and anger.

The body of Eurydice Dixon, 22, was found at a football field in Melbourne early on Wednesday, only hours after she had performed a gig at a city bar.

A man, 19, has been charged by police.

Comedians and the public have inundated social media with tributes to Ms Dixon, in a case that has reignited local debate about violence against women.

For many, it has evoked memories of the 2012 murder of an Irish woman, Jill Meagher, whose death in an adjacent Melbourne suburb prompted a peace march involving an estimated 30,000 people.

Although not widely known, Ms Dixon has been remembered as a talented comedian at the start of her career.

“She had a great passion for women’s issues and social justice issues and she drew upon them a lot in the material that she produced as a comic,” fellow comedian Nicky Barry told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

What have police said?

Authorities allege that Ms Dixon was attacked in the suburb of Carlton North sometime after leaving a bar in central Melbourne about 22:30 local time on Tuesday.

A 19-year-old man, Jaymes Todd, handed himself to police on Wednesday and was charged with her rape and murder. Police say they did not know each other.

Local media reported that Ms Dixon was a few hundred metres from home when she was attacked.

According to The Age newspaper, she had earlier sent a text message to a friend saying: “I’m almost home safe, HBU [how about you].”

On Thursday, a court prohibited the publication of images of Mr Todd after his lawyer argued that he was vulnerable in custody, and that intense media scrutiny could affect the reliability of witness statements.

Mr Todd did not apply for bail and will face a court again on 3 October.

‘Right to walk home alone’

Ms Dixon’s death has also renewed a more general discussion in Australia about violence against women.

Australia’s human rights commission has said that the country has “a disturbingly high rate of violence against women”.

According to government figures, one in five women, and one in 20 men, have experienced sexual violence or threats since the age of 15.

Many women on social media have shared their own thoughts about safety, with some detailing personal experiences.

Some also criticised police messages which had warned people to be aware of their surroundings, with some likening the language to victim-blaming.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wrote on social media: “In a few days, women across Melbourne will hold a vigil in Princes Park for the life of Eurydice Dixon.

“They will do so firm in the knowledge that Eurydice died because of her attacker’s decisions – not because of her own. They’re right. And we need to accept that fact, too.”

An online fundraising page for Ms Dixon’s family has received more than A$30,000 (£17,000; $22,000) in donations.

Some footage from one of her last gigs – where she tackled gender equality and feminism – was posted online.

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