Melbourne Fundraiser

Music Benefit for Phoebe Handsjuk Details

Music Benefit for Phoebe Handsjuk. August 4th at the Dan O’Connell Hotel in Carlton, from 2PM.

A benefit will be held on Sunday the 4th of August at the Dan O’Connell Hotel in Carlton from 2pm. There will be live music, comedy, an auction, raffles and more. It will be a great afternoon and we’d love to see you there.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door or online at

All proceeds will go towards the legal costs for inquest.

A facebook event for the benefit has been created here

Mallacoota Community Fundraiser

A fundraiser will be held on Saturday the 20th of July at 4PM at the Mallacoota Golf and Country Club. There will be live music, delicious food and an auction. All proceeds will go towards the legal costs for the coronial inquest to be held from the 5th of August 2013.

With its serene lake, rugged beaches and natural beauty, Mallacoota was a very special place for Phoebe. It is her resting place and will forever be the setting of many fond memories.

Fundraising Campaign to Support the Inquest

We have set up a campaign to help us raise the money to cover the cost of having legal representation at the inquest. A donation as small as $5.00 will help.

You can find more details on the Support the Inquest page.

We are enormously grateful for all the love and support we have received from everyone since we lost Phoebe in December 2010. Sadly, there are still many questions surrounding her death. We hope the inquest will allow us to find the answers.

Inquest Details

A Directions hearing was held in the Coroners Court on the 1st of May 2013. A witness list was established and a date was confirmed for the Inquest. It will begin on the 5th of August 2013 and is predicted to run for three weeks. Twenty seven witnesses will be called.

Never Forgotten – James

I met Phoebe when I was 14 years-of-age. I still remember the first time I met her at a local cafe in Kew with a group of friends. The memory is still so vivid, like no other. The ora and beauty Phoebe had would light up a room. Sometimes I think this worked against her; she was so beautiful, and you could tell she didn’t want to be in the spotlight – she saw the greater things in life.

Still in the younger years, we met regularly on Bridge Road for a cups of coffee or I’d go back to her house and sit in the cubby house or watch The Simpsons in the front room. We chatted about anything under the sun. I must also say, I was a huge fan of her Mother’s cooking and could never let one of those dinners go a stray! I remember on her 17th or 16th birthday (I cant remember the year), she had guests over to the house. Towards the end of the night we were lying out on the veranda with two stubby cans of VB and just looked at the stars. There was so much peach surrounding us. We lost contact again and rekindled in later years – nothing had ever changed.

The warmth that surrounded Phoebe brought peace to many, she had a light in her that burned brightly – you never felt judged, you could always open your heart and speak whatever was on your mind. Phoebe was an old soul who had knowledge beyond her years. A true leader that inspired so many along the way, and wow, what a fighter. I used to confine in her with all my deepest worries and concerns and her advice was the only I advice that I’d ever take. You just knew she was always right. She gave me and others so much confidence and brought happiness to the lives of many.

We stayed in contact throughout the years (mostly by me begging friends that knew her or met her for her new number!) – I think it was around 2008 when one of my close friends worked at a pub in Lorne and contacted me that one day to tell me that he met the most amazing girl he’d ever seen. He hardly gave a description, and I immediately asked if her name was Phoebe, and it certainly was – the alluring and mysterious Ms. Phoebe could never be mistaken!

Although she was loved by so many, she could never be yours to keep, you could only have Phoebe for a moment and then she’d be gone, without a trace. With anyone else you would lose trust, but you knew with Phoebe that no matter what she was doing, she still thought of you the same way.

My last conversation with Phoebe was in September before she passed away; we were planning to meet up and I still remember my last words to her; “Your messages always make me smile, you have always had such a kind heart, and your mumma too if she remembers me.” In someway I am glad that she knew just a little bit as to how much she meant to me, but I do believe in some way she did know just how much.

When I heard about Phoebe’s passing, I could never let any answers go unanswered. Nothing made sense, I knew from my instincts in recent months before her death her depression was bad, but Phoebe was NEVER the type to give up. No matter how many pieces of information was found around her death – I just knew something wasn’t right from the bottom of my gut. For justice and for peace, I was so relieved that the inquest went through. My thoughts and prayers are with the Handsjuk’s every day.

Phoebe, you will never be forgotten. I think about you everyday, and you continue to inspire me in any situation, I try my hardest to think what you’d do. You taught me so much, and I thank you. I wish you were here.


The Coroner WILL Hold An Inquest

We have received notification from the Coroner that, “Having considered all the material which currently forms part of the brief as well as written submissions he has decided to exercise his discretion under section 52(1) of the Act and hold an inquest as part of his investigation”

The purpose of the inquest is to establish the findings required by section 67 of the Act. Which include the cause of death and the circumstances in which the death occurred.

The inquest does not operate as a criminal trial and a coroner is prohibited under section 69(1) of the Act from including in a finding or comment, any statement that a person is or may be guilty of an offence (other than a comment of a statement relating to a notification to the Director of Public Prosecutions)

*note: A coroner my hold an inquest into any death they are investigating pursuant to section 52(1) of the Coroners Act 2008 (the Act). This is referred to as a discretionary inquest. Thae Act also outlines circumstances where an inquest must be conducted, such as where the coroner suspects the death was the result of homicide [section 52(2)(a)]. this is referred to as a mandatory inquest.

We have been advised that a directions hearing will be convened on the 1st of May and that time has been set aside in August for the inquest.

On behalf of our family, I would like to take this opportunity, once again, to thank you all for your overwhelming support for us, in our search for the truth of what happened to Phoebe. This is a further step towards unravelling the mystery of her death. We will keep you updated on any further information.


Natalie Handsjuk (Phoebe’s Mother)

Buddy – Elia Barresi

Hello Thomas. You don’t know me, I don’t think we have ever met but I went to Sophia Mundie myself for many years- phoebe was actually my “buddy” on my first day of year 1 at the school. I remember her walking up to greet me with a rose. I remember saying that I was really scared to start school and she told me that I had nothing to be afraid of; that I had amazing things to look forward to and that it’s ok to be a little scared sometimes. She actually took my hand and walked me upstairs and right to my desk and said she wouldn’t leave until she saw me smile… She was absolutely beautiful. I was saddened to hear of her passing…. I just thought you would like to hear of my lovely memory of her.

Kindest wishes.

– Elia Barresi

What Happened to Phoebe?


Help uncover the truth of what really happened to Phoebe. Support the inquest.

Background Information

On the evening of the 2nd of December 2010, 24 year old Phoebe Handsjuk was found dead on the floor of the refuse compactor room at the bottom of ‘Balencea’, a luxury high rise apartment building, located on St Kilda Road Melbourne. It was discovered that she had fallen feet first from the 12th floor refuse room, down the waste disposal shaft to the compactor below. The Toxicology report revealed Phoebe to have a blood alcohol reading of 0.16% and high levels of prescription drugs.

There have been no known reported incidents of a cause of death such as this, in the history of Australia.

On the 7th of December, Homicide detectives said that no second party was involved in Phoebe’s death; she had entered the chute, feet first, voluntarily.

The police brief was passed to Detective Senior Constable Brendan Payne of the South Melbourne Criminal Investigation Unit to be completed for the Coroner.

Phoebe’s Grandfather, retired Detective Sergeant Lorne Campbell  had suspicions regarding the circumstances surrounding her death from the outset. He began to ask questions of the police and to make his own enquiries.

Senior Detective Brendan Payne and Lorne Campbell have worked for over two years, in an attempt to unravel the unexplained mysteries surrounding her violent and tragic death.

We, the family, have requested that there be an open Coronial Inquest into Phoebe’s death, where witnesses can be cross examined, in the hope of finding answers to the many questions still remaining.

The Brief is now with Coroner Peter White of the Coroners Court of Victoria. We await his decision whether to hold an Inquest.

You may view the history of media coverage on the Press page.