18 December 2023

Staff member allegedly 'stabbed to death' at Canberra Zoo, co-worker in custody

| Albert McKnight
National Zoo and Aquarium

A woman died after allegedly being stabbed at the National Zoo & Aquarium on Monday. Photo: James Coleman.

A Canberra Zoo staff member was allegedly stabbed to death before her co-worker was taken into custody with self-inflicted injuries, police said as a murder investigation began into the incident.

ACT Policing was called to the National Zoo & Aquarium at 12:50 pm on Monday (18 December) over reports of a disturbance, as witnesses had heard loud screams coming from a commercial kitchen area.

The officers arrived to find a dead 29-year-old woman in a storeroom at the back of the kitchen. It is believed she died after suffering stab wounds.

“At this stage, it looks like she’s been stabbed to death with a knife,” Detective Superintendent Hall O’Meagher told media on Monday afternoon.

“The knife was located at the scene.”

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One of her co-workers, a 29-year-old man from Oaks Estate, was taken into custody with alleged self-inflicted injuries and was taken to the Canberra Hospital, where he remains in a stable condition under police guard.

While no charges have been laid at this stage, a homicide investigation has begun.

“At this point in time, we don’t believe there were any direct witnesses to the disturbance, however there were people in the area at the time,” Detective Superintendent O’Meagher said.

He said the investigation was in its very early stages but was looking at the background of the man and the woman.

“We know that they were coworkers at the National Zoo & Aquarium. We’re uncertain at this time whether there was any further relationship between those two coworkers,” he said.

Detective Superintendent O’Meagher said police have spoken to the family of the woman, who is believed to be from Canberra.

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“It’s important to state that at this stage there’s no ongoing threat to the ACT community. The incident appeared to be contained to that location,” Detective Superintendent O’Meagher said.

“At this point in time our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim and the fellow workers at the National Zoo & Aquarium.”

The man is being treated for his injuries. A post-mortem will take place on the woman in the coming days.

The zoo was closed as a result of the incident and police were unsure how long it would remain closed.

Information about this incident can be reported via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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