Annette Brennan was allegedly murdered by Stephen Fleming in her own home

A beloved school teacher sang what will likely be her own final funeral song during a touching tribute to frontline workers during Victoria’s harsh Covid-19 lockdowns. 

The body of Annette Brennan, 67, was found dead at a rubbish tip in Epping last week, about 8km from her home in Coolaroo, in Melbourne’s north-west.

It can be revealed Ms Brennan was an active member of the Brunswick Indonesian Uniting Church, whose grieving congregation has been shocked by her death. 

On May 24, 2020, Ms Brennan hosted an online call to trapped parishioners to pay tribute to frontline medical workers and those who lost their life ‘standing strong to what they believe in’. 

It was the day then-Premier Dan Andrews temporarily eased the tight Covid lockdown restrictions imposed on Victorians after the pandemic outbreak. 

But Ms Brennan’s thoughts also lay with the victims of a terrorist attack at a United Nations hospital in Iraq. 

‘May you find some peace and solace in the words,’ Ms Brennan said before going into a sweet rendition of the Christian hymn Abide With Me. 

It is a haunting song made popular in recent times after appearing in the hit zombie  movie 28 Days Later. 

Annette Brennan was allegedly murdered by Stephen Fleming in her own home

Annette Brennan was allegedly murdered by Stephen Fleming in her own home 

The hymn had been Ms Brennan’s personal favourite and is expected to feature at her upcoming funeral. 

The moving footage showed Ms Brennan finished her rendition with a beaming smile. 

On Wednesday, her alleged killer Stephen Fleming appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court charged with her murder. 

The scrawny, bald headed 45-year-old sat in the prison dock behind protective glass as he was told he would remain in jail until his next court appearance in January. 

The alleged killer’s link to Ms Brennan remains a mystery but Victoria Police has confirmed she was not his mother. 

It is understood one theory being investigated is that Fleming had been renting a room in Ms Brennan’s Hilgay Street house where she had recently moved in. 

Real estate records show the home was sold in February this year for $545,000, and Ms Brennan had previously been known to take in housemates in years gone by. 

Stephen Fleming sported a bald head with a fluffy half-mullet on the back of his head

Stephen Fleming sported a bald head with a fluffy half-mullet on the back of his head 

Annette Brennan's Coolaroo home (pictured) was sold in February this year

Annette Brennan’s Coolaroo home (pictured) was sold in February this year 

A birds-eye view of Ms Brennan's Coolaroo home where she is alleged to have been murdered

A birds-eye view of Ms Brennan’s Coolaroo home where she is alleged to have been murdered 

In 2013, she placed an online advertisement asking for housemates for her property in Ormond, 12km south-east of Melbourne’s Central Business District. 

‘Hi everyone. Do you know someone who is looking for accommodation? I have a room with a double bed, desk and built in wardrobes in Ormond for $120 a week,’ she said in the ad. 

‘A couple could live in it, sharing electricity and unlimited internet. It is three minutes walk to Ormond station and close to North Road where there are shops including a supermarket. Please call me to arrange an inspection.’

Detectives arrested Fleming in Glenroy, in Melbourne’s north-west, about 11.15am on Tuesday.

According to charge sheets, police allege Fleming murdered Ms Brennan on or around July 1, the previous day. 

They alleged her remains were put inside a bin that was picked up from her home by a garbage truck on Tuesday last week.

Staff at a tip in nearby Epping located her body while moving green waste on Wednesday last week and contacted police.

Tributes continue to flow for the kind-hearted teacher, who had worked as a teacher for several language and training courses since 2012, including in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen. 

Since 2020, Ms Brennan had been employed as an online tutor for Australian Education Management Group, a company promoting cultural and language exchanges between Australia and China. 

Annette Brennan could not contain her joy after singing her favourite hymn during the Covid lockdowns

Annette Brennan could not contain her joy after singing her favourite hymn during the Covid lockdowns

Police attended the Coolaroo home of Annette Brennan after her body was located in a green wheelie bin

Police attended the Coolaroo home of Annette Brennan after her body was located in a green wheelie bin 

‘Just read the news about Annette, can’t believe this, she’s a kind and loving person. You’ll be missed Annette. God loves you more, Rest in peace in God’s side,’ one friend posted to social media on Thursday.

‘I’m sure your beautiful soul is with Jesus! Until we meet again,’ another wrote. 

Ms Brennan’s neighbours had described her as quiet, but friendly.

While she was not known to drive, neighbours had observed a car parked in the driveway, which was allegedly used by a man also living at the property.

Ms Brennan is alleged to be the 48th woman murdered in Australia this year.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or log onto www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

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