Man Arrested After Grandmother Fatally Stabbed in Victoria Unit

A man has been arrested after a grandmother was fatally attacked in a Maryborough, Victoria unit.

What you need to know
  • Homicide Detectives are investigating after grandmother Karen Ashcroft was stabbed to death in Maryborough, Victoria
  • Police have arrested a 39-year-old man in a nearby location
  • Ashcroft's death has devastated the community

A 39-year-old man has been arrested  after a much-loved grandmother was fatally stabbed in a unit north west of Melbourne overnight.

The murder sparked a major manhunt and left a community in shock.

Emergency crews were called to a unit in Alma Street, Maryborough at about 3.45am, and discovered Karen Ashcroft, 52, with serious injuries.

Paramedics were unable to revive her, and she died at the scene.

A close friend of Ashcroft said she was loved by everyone in the Maryborough community, and her death has left her children and grandchildren devastated.

Grandmother Karen Ashcroft, 52, was fatally stabbed inside a Maryborough, Victoria unit overnight. Photo: Facebook

"This morning, a very, very, very good friend of mine was stabbed and died," friend Kim Barns said.

"She is going to be very sorely  missed in this town.  She would give the shirt off her back to anyone. She wouldn't hurt a flea. She wouldn't do anything nasty towards anyone.  She was always a happy, outgoing person, and I feel so bad for her children.  Right now they are grieving so badly."

Barns said Ashcroft, a stay-at-home mum,  was visiting the unit to attend a gathering, and  as she was leaving, she was attacked.

The victim then fell into the arms of a friend, who tried to resuscitate her, but she died in his arms, Barns said.

She said the man who stabbed her was "the smallest person in the room," and she has no idea why anyone would want to hurt her friend.

"There was no reason why anyone would want to hurt this woman, believe me," she said.

"She was loved by this community. And he didn't say why, he didn't give a reason why, and out the back door and he was gone.  Only he can tell you," she said.

Police launched a major search for a “male offender,” believed to be known to Ashcroft, who fled the scene before officers arrived.

SES crews search the grounds outside the unit where Karen Ashcroft was stabbed.

Barns implied the man who stabbed Ashcroft may have been on ice at the time.

"Get the ice off the streets.  Because it's sending people crazy and an innocent person is now laying dead on the floor.  Gone through senseless violence."

A 39-year-old Maryborough man was arrested  just before midday Monday at a nearby location. He has been taken to hospital for treatment.

Homicide detectives have launched an investigation, and  the SES have searched the scene.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.