The Block’s new digs have a dark past.
The Channel 9 renovation show debuted it’s 11th season last night, with the show making much of the ugliness of the ‘Blocktagon’ – a derelict hotel in Melbourne’s South Yarra.
But the eight level, 34-roomed Hotel Saville has a past.
According to Property Observer, in 2002, a 30-year-old woman was violently raped in one of the rooms by a man who claimed he was a vampire.
The woman, known as Jenny, was found by hotel staff half conscious in the shower of her room, with blood bubbling from her mouth, blackened eyes, teeth marks on her thigh and bruising to her neck and jaw. Part of her tongue had also been ripped out.
The accused, Melbourne man Shane Chartres-Abbott, was later murdered in his driveway, right in the middle of his trial.
Chartres-Abbott allegedly told his victim that he was a 200-year-old vampire who drank blood to stay young.
All this news was a past glossed over last night as this years contestants – including “The Larrakins”, “The Single Mums” and “The Go-Getters”- began their DIY dream.
Real estate agents have a duty to disclose murders, suicides and other material facts that may be off-putting to buyers, and the exact laws around these issues vary from state to state.
In NSW, agents that fail to tell prospective buyers about events that occurred in the property can be hit with fines, but in Victoria, where the hotel is located, agents only have to mention a crime has taken place if asked.
The property was purchased last year by Watercress Pty Ltd, the production company of Channel 9’s The Block for $6.25 million.
The Herald-Sun Crime reporter, Liam Houlihan, wrote of the bizarre case in his book, Once Upon a Time in Melbourne:
The pair had been meeting for sex for a little over a year when, on August 16, 2002, Jenny rang Shane from her mobile and arranged a rendezvous with him around midnight at the Hotel Saville in leafy South Yarra. Jenny expected a night of steamy passion with the gigolo but instead it became an evening of terror.
On previous occasions both parties had willingly engaged in sex play that was on the fringes, but on that August night kinky gave way to criminal. In the confines of the rented suite they drank red wine together, Shane spoke of money troubles and then he attacked her.
Shane raped Jenny twice, blackened her eyes, sunk his teeth into her thigh, bruised her neck and jaw, and tore out part of her tongue.
Shane then dumped Jenny’s unconscious, bleeding body in the suite’s shower and fled into the night, Jenny’s mobile in his black work bag, her blood still on his jacket.
At 11.20 the next morning the hotel manager found Jenny naked, bruised, bloodied and still not completely conscious.
A Channel Nine spokesman told news.com.au the hotel’s horrific past had “no relevance”.
He also would not clarify if, or how the program intended to deal with the disclosure matter or if the couple renovating the floor where the room was located were aware of the incident.
Would you want to know if something had happened in your home?