Natalina Angok’s body was found in Chinatown and her boyfriend has been charged with murder.
Natalina Angok’s body was found in Chinatown and her boyfriend has been charged with murder.

Chinatown horror met by ‘silence’

A DELIVERY truck is parked in Celestial Avenue, unloading produce for restaurants in Melbourne's Chinatown.

Kitchen staff are taking smoke breaks as the lunchtime rush shrinks the Little Bourke Street footpath.

It's loud and smells of a rich mix of Asian cuisines.

The police tape is gone and there are no visible signs that a day earlier a woman who should've been safe was found dead a few metres away.

There are no floral tributes. There's no space for Melburnians to stop and pay their respects, which feels strange.

The same city grieved so publicly after Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered in Carlton in June last year. They spoke out angrily and held vigils when Aiia Maasarwe was murdered walking home from a night out in Bundoora in January.

But when Natalina Angok suffered a similar fate, there was relative silence.

The response to the death of the Sudanese refugee who moved to Melbourne for a better life was met with outrage on social media.

"I am outraged," Sharon Orapeleng wrote on Twitter. "Her name is Natalina Angok and she matters. She is not just a number. Say her name."

Eurydice Dixon vigil. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty
Eurydice Dixon vigil. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty

Sudanese-born Melbourne lawyer Maker Mayek expressed sadness that the 32-year-old who was well known in the South Sudanese community was not being spoken about the same way as other women who were killed in the city.

"Of course, her name isn't probably as important to attract a public outcry and a vigil," he wrote on Twitter.

Monash University journalism student James Hearnes asked why there were no vigils planned for Ms Angok.

"Natalina was a Sudanese migrant. She came to our nation Australia as a refugee to flee the perils and poverty of Sudan for a safety Australia was supposed to offer her," Mr Hearnes wrote. "Her body lay in a Melbourne city laneway for hours."

Others were quick to point out the differences in the women's deaths. Both Eurydice Dixon and Aiia Maasarwe were killed at the hands of strangers.

Christopher Bell, 32, who was dating Ms Angok, has been charged with murder and remanded in custody.

SES workers are seen covering a vehicle on Celestial Avenue. Picture: Stefan Postles/AAP
SES workers are seen covering a vehicle on Celestial Avenue. Picture: Stefan Postles/AAP
Natalina Angok migrated to Australia for a better life.
Natalina Angok migrated to Australia for a better life.

Ms Angok's family told The Age newspaper the pair had been together for more than a year.

"They were dating, in a relationship. That was her boyfriend," Ms Angok's sister Helena said.

The Melbourne Magistrates' Court was told on Thursday that Bell was released from a mental inpatient facility a week ago and required treatment for schizophrenia.

Jessamy Gleeson, organiser of the vigil for Ms Maasarwe, is also organising a vigil at sunset tonight on the steps of Melbourne's Parliament House.

She told news.com.au the vigil will be a "space to honour Natalina Angok's life, and to come together in our grief and anger".

Ms Gleeson said every woman's life was important and that society has "trained people to care about victims of family violence less than those who are victims of a stranger in the street" but "we will gather in silence for every last one of them".

"We don't accept these women's deaths as inevitable," she added.

It's a sentiment shared by Carolyn Worth, who has spent her life campaigning against family violence.

The names we remember are Jill Meagher, Tracy Connolly, Eurydice Dixon," she told news.com.au. "We do not remember the names of countless women killed by partners. This needs to change."

Little Bourke Street was closed off by police after the young woman’s body was found on Wednesday. Picture: Stefan Postles/AAP
Little Bourke Street was closed off by police after the young woman’s body was found on Wednesday. Picture: Stefan Postles/AAP
Chris Bell has been charged with murder.
Chris Bell has been charged with murder.
Natalina Angok was found dead in Chinatown.
Natalina Angok was found dead in Chinatown.

Ms Angok was remembered yesterday as a loving and happy sibling, a day after her body was found about 6.30am on Celestial Ave.

Her sister said the 32-year-old did not deserve to die the way she did.

"She was a loving and caring sister, and a down-to-earth person, not a troublemaker. She loved everybody, even if someone did something bad to her, she would just talk and laugh with them."

Police arrested Bell late on Wednesday after spending hours speaking with businesses in Chinatown about CCTV footage.

The accused appeared briefly in court on Thursday and will appear again today.

Police have not yet revealed the cause of Ms Angok's death but previously said her body showed no physical signs of injury or struggle.

Ms Angok's family issued a short statement through Victoria Police today.

"We are heartbroken. Our family is finding the strength to come to terms with this tragedy and the loss of Natalina Angok," the statement read.

rohan.smith1@news.com.au | @ro_smith

- with AAP



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