Police launch manhunt for Albert Park killer
A young architect is found stabbed to death in his Albert Park townhouse. Investigators are keen to speak to witnesses or neighbours in the area who may have heard or seen anything suspicious.PT1M20S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-37sd5 620 349 May 5, 2014
A young Melbourne architect is believed to have been murdered in his Albert Park townhouse. His body was found by a family member on Monday morning.
It is understood the body of James Crawford, 33, was found by his sister in his home above a vintage shop in Cardigan Place, near the corner of Merton Street, from which he ran his architecture firm Inner Arc.
Police said he suffered several blows to his torso with a sharp object. It is possible his body could have been in the house as long as two weeks.
Police at the scene of the investigation. Photo: Penny Stephens
James was the son of television producer Henry Crawford, who won an Emmy Award for the show A Town like Alice, and screenwriter Sarah Darling and was also the grandson of Gordon Darling, founding patron of the National Portrait Gallery.
Henry Crawford, who spoke moments before flying out from New Zealand to be with his family, said he was in shock.
"It's horrid, it's a bit of a state of shock and you feel powerless," Mr Crawford said.
James and his older sister Missy Cutcher, who lives in Melbourne, were brought up in Sydney before James moved to Victoria to board at Geelong Grammar.
He completed an information technology degree at Bond University before moving to the United States where he finished an interior architecture degree in Denver and an architecture degree in San Francisco.
His father, who is based in Queenstown, said James returned to Melbourne about two years ago to start his own company.
"He always had a good visual sense, he was more into the visual than the written word so what's sad is there's an illustrious career cut short quite apart from the personal aspects of it," Mr Crawford said.
He said his son never caused any trouble and he was at a loss to understand why he was killed.
"James is a good boy and to my knowledge, was never involved in anything shady or anything like that. It sounds to me like robbery, but I don't know," he said.
Mr Crawford said his last contact with his son was two weeks ago by email.
Two weeks ago was also the last time the tenant renting the shop below James' house saw him.
Lynda Gardner, who has owned Empire Vintage for 20 years, said she and her staff would often collect James' mail and she would hear the sound of his footsteps, his music and phone conversations drifting from the floor above.
But upstairs had been silent for two weeks. "It was just so quiet that I thought it was a bit too quiet," she said. "But I just thought he was away."
Ms Gardner said James was "very sweet" and kept to himself. "He was very private, but he was a lovely, friendly young man."
James was a regular face along the stretch of shops on nearby Bridport Street that many said was like a close-knit village.
Hardware shop owner Tony Bisbas said he saw James every day and he would stop to talk outside his shop.
"He was a true gentleman. I couldn't fault him for a second," Mr Bisbas said. "He was always smiling, always happy."
The homicide squad investigating James' death has appealed for witnesses or neighbours who may have heard or seen anything suspicious to come forward.