Marcus Volke was working as an escort in Melbourne’s club scene to pay off his credit card when he met and struck a deal with Indonesian woman Mayang Prasetyo, who desperately wanted to stay in Australia.
It was an agreement that involved them living for a long time together, but eventually it led to their deaths.
In October 2014 Volke, 27, murdered, disfigured and began cooking the remains of Ms Prasetyo – born Febri Andriansyah – at their Brisbane flat, before evading police and taking his own life in an industrial bin.
An examination of their deaths and the response from police began on Monday, with Coroner Terry Ryan hearing evidence from first-response officers, an investigator and member of the Queensland Police dog squad.
During questioning by counsel assisting the coroner, Emily Cooper, Detective Sergeant Joshua Walsh told the court the couple had met earlier while working as escorts, according to police interviews with Volke’s former partner.
“She provided the information that they were residing together for an extended period of time,” Detective Sergeant Walsh said.
“During that time Marcus had accrued a debt of approximately $9000 in credit cards, with no means of repaying it.”
Detective Sergeant Walsh said Volke had worked as a chef part-time, but was unable to continue because he was mentally unwell.
He decided to become a male escort in Melbourne clubs as a way of repaying the debt.
“That was where he came into contact with Febri Andriansyah,” Detective Sergeant Walsh said.
“They came up with an agreement between the two parties that he would assist with her getting a permanent partner visa for Australia and she would assist him within transgender clubs within Melbourne and overseas, in Europe and Asia.”
The pair had travelled through Asia and Europe together, working as escorts in transgender clubs, the court heard.
Detective Sergeant Walsh said Volke and his former partner had kept in regular contact through emails and Facebook.
“She was able to ascertain that he was struggling, with both his identity and his employment, and wanted to break free from that and start as a dog breeder in Brisbane upon his return,” he said.
“On one occasion she stated that he was considering self-harm.”
During Monday’s hearing the court was told Volke had presented to a Newstead-based doctor with anxiety, depression and a sleep disorder, and had previously been treated by Victoria’s Ballarat Hospital as a teenager.
The hearing continues on Tuesday.