Phone records place brothel owner near murder scene

Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

A brothel owner has been placed near a Melbourne mother's apartment building on the morning it's alleged she was murdered.

Ellie Price, 26, was found dead inside her South Melbourne apartment about five days after an alleged violent knife attack.

Prosecutors have accused her boyfriend, Ricardo Barbaro, of fatally stabbing Ms Price before fleeing in her Mercedes about 4.30am on April 29, 2020.

Barbaro has pleaded not guilty to her murder and is facing a month-long jury trial.

However, brothel-owning accountant Mark Gray, a long-time friend of Ms Price, has become a focus of the trial.

Mr Gray returned to the Supreme Court witness box for a fourth day on Tuesday, when he was shown phone records from the day it's alleged Ms Price was killed.

Barbaro's barrister Rishi Nathwani asked Mr Gray where he was on the morning of Ms Price's alleged murder, on April 29.

He said he was at home, and Mr Nathwani then produced call charge records that placed his mobile phone near a tower on Kings Way East in South Melbourne at 6.27am that day.

Mr Gray said he was in bed that morning and denied being near Kings Way, which intersects with Park Street where Ms Price's apartment was located.

"Your phone doesn't say that," Mr Nathwani replied.

"I don't go out at 6.20am," Mr Gray said.

Mr Gray has been accused of being Ms Price's "sugar daddy", as he paid for her to live in luxury apartments, gave her a $1000 to $2000 per week allowance and helped her to buy a $100,000 Mercedes.

The court was shown text messages Mr Gray sent to Ms Price's sister Danielle, about eight months after her death, where he said she was sharing his money with her boyfriend, Barbaro.

"The problem is he knew Ellie was receiving money from me as she was sharing it with him as he had no money," Mr Gray texted.

He then told Danielle Price he had a "security guy" who had been in jail and was "very well connected with everyone".

"Bikies come to him when they are at war with each other to sort it out," Mr Gray wrote.

Mr Nathwani accused Mr Gray of hiring a hit man to kill Ms Price and injure Barbaro, after she had tried to extort $100,000 from Mr Gray by threatening to file a false rape report.

"As a result of the extortion you had to act so you used one of your meanest men in Melbourne to go around to Ellie Price's apartment ... to deal with Ellie Price and Ricardo Barbaro," he said.

"No, denied," Mr Gray replied.

He accused Mr Gray of trying to pervert the court of justice by manipulating Ms Price's mother and sister to get them to do what he wanted after Ms Price died, which he also denied.

The trial before Justice Lex Lasry continues.