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Stuart Rattle's partner charged with murder

Michael O'Neill is charged with murder of partner Stuart Rattle, who was found dead after a suspicious fire at his South Yarra flat on Monday.

PT0M26S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2z76e 620 349

Prominent Victorian interior designer Stuart Rattle was killed days before his South Yarra unit was burnt out, police claim.

Mr Rattle, who designed the homes of many high-profile Melbourne families, was found dead in his burnt-out South Yarra home in the early hours of Monday morning.

But, in a charge sheet tendered to Melbourne Magistrates Court, police allege Mr Rattle was murdered by his partner, Michael O'Neill, on Wednesday of last week.

Interior designer Stuart Rattle on his rural property near Daylesford.

Designer Stuart Rattle on his rural property near Daylesford. Photo: Eamon Gallagher

Mr O'Neill, 47, appeared briefly in court on Thursday to face one charge of murder.

Dressed in a red shirt, brown cardigan and dark jeans, he did not say anything during his appearance, but wiped his nose with a tissue as he entered the dock flanked by security guards and appeared as though he had been crying.

Chief magistrate Peter Lauritsen remanded Mr O'Neill in custody to return to court on June 5.

Mr O'Neill was charged with murder on Thursday morning.

The charge sheet listed his home suburb as South Yarra.

Firefighters discovered Mr Rattle’s body in his flat after battling a blaze at the two-storey apartment complex in Malvern Road.

Friends of the well known designer mentioned Mr O’Neill in their public tributes following Mr Rattle’s death.

Friends of Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, in Daylesford, posted a message on their website paying tribute to Mr Rattle.

“It is with the greatest sadness that we express our sympathy to the family and friends of Stuart Rattle on the passing of this wonderfully generous member of our community. We feel especially for his partner, Michael O’Neill,” the message said.

Several messages of condolence of Mr Rattle’s business Facebook page also offer sympathies to Michael along with the Rattle family.

Mr Rattle, known for his classic, timeless designs and his clever use of colour, lived in South Yarra and at a farm at Musk just outside Daylesford.

Veteran landscape gardener and close friend Paul Bangay paid tribute to Mr Rattle on Monday, describing him as an "incredible" and "passionate" designer.

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