Fresh evidence blows lid on womans freak death fall down garbage chute

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Questions have been raised over the death of a Melbourne woman who died after falling 12-storeys down a garbage chute.

Phoebe Handsjuk, 24, was killed after falling 40m to the ground floor into a garbage compactor which almost severed her foot.

According to, she survived the fall before being thrown from the compactor into a bin. Reports indicate Ms Handsjuk had attempted to crawl but died from her injuries.

Police suspected Ms Handsjuk, who was under influence of alcohol and sleeping pills, had taken her own life but the coroner ruled it a “freak accident” in 2010.

At the time, she was sharing an apartment with her boyfriend Anthony Hampel, who came home and called the police citing a disturbance had occurred inside.

However, a TV show has questioned the ruling after it conducted an experiment with a replica of the exact chute in the St Kilda Road apartment building.

Channel 9 show Under Investigation conducted an experiment with a replica and a model who is the same age and build as Ms Handsjuk at the time of her death.

The model purposely tried to lift herself into the 22cm latch opening of the chute multiple times but was unsuccessful on each attempt.

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She was only successful when she put her arms directly over her head, but she could only just about manage to wriggle in.

Speaking during the program, Rowland Legg, a retired Victoria Police Detective, said: “One of the major problems apart from the dimensions is that the door comes up against your lower back and jams you in.

“Trying to manoeuvre yourself is then not helped by the fact there is nothing to grip onto.”

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The show also demonstrated the exact position investigators determined Ms Handsjuk had plunged down the chute.

They believe she had her hands at her side due to the injuries she sustained but the experiment showed how difficult it would be to get into that position, considering the alcohol and sleeping pills she had consumed.

Former Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy QC also told Channel 9 that police failed to seize CCTV footage from other parts of the building other than the foyer.

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He also told the show that the blood of Ms Handsjuk, believed to be from a finger cut, was found in the apartment but no blood or fingerprints were found on the outside of the chute.

Police also didn’t examine her computer or other electronic devices but when her family retrieved them, her sent emails had been deleted.

Her boyfriend Mr Hampel, an events promoter, has had tragedy twice with the deaths of another girlfriend just eight years following Ms Handsjuk’s death.

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In 2018, his model girlfriend Baillee Schneider, 25, also died in tragic circumstances just weeks after taking out a life insurance policy, according to her father Cameron Schneider while speaking to The Age newspaper.

She was discovered with a gold cord wrapped around her neck at her parents home in Moonee Ponds.

Schneider’s death came just hours after she broke up with Mr Hampel and her death was ruled as suicide.

There is no suggestion that Mr Hampel, who is the son of former Supreme Court Justice George Hampel, and the stepson of County Court Judge Felicity Hampel, is accused of being involved in either of the women’s deaths.

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