It was a blind date set up by a friend that led Elsa Corp into the arms of her murderer.

The 26-year-old met David Patrick Clifford for the first time the night she died.

The two met for drinks before he took her back to his hotel room at City Park hotel, at South Melbourne in February 2010.

He told Corp they would meet friends there.


But they weren't. It was a trap and the popular hairdresser was suddenly alone with a psychopath.

Inside the room she was subjected to a prolonged attack by Clifford that has been called "psychotic" and "vicious".

He was on parole at the time for drug trafficking, which he had already breached. He also had a suspended sentence from earlier convictions and was awaiting sentence for bashing a bar owner.

It was the failure of authorities to keep Clifford off the streets which is the basis of a lawsuit Corp's devastated family are taking against the state of Victoria.

His sentencing hearing at the Victorian Supreme Court in March 2012 heard the two took illegal drugs in the room before the attack began.

Clifford, then 29, had already been on a three-day bender and unleashed on Corp while in a "psychotic" state, Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said.

He became anxious and paranoid after using amphetamines and had no sleep for three days.

Justice Hollingworth said the attack was severe and sustained, lasting almost an hour. And it was all without any apparent motive.

The City Park hotel in South Melbourne where Elsa Corp was murdered. Photo / Google
The City Park hotel in South Melbourne where Elsa Corp was murdered. Photo / Google

"The noises heard by witnesses, the nature and extent of the horrific injuries inflicted upon Corp and the state of disarray of the hotel room all indicate that it was a prolonged, vicious attack, going on for perhaps an hour or so," Justice Hollingworth told the hearing.

During the assault Corp suffered as many as 60 cuts and abrasions to her head and neck. She had severe fractures in bones in her face as well, along with her skull and ribs.

Internally, her liver was torn and she had a puncture wound on her back. Her spinal cord had been severed.

The damage and markings to the hotel room were a graphic illustration of the brutal attack Corp endured.

Bloodstains were found up the walls and on the furniture, fixtures like the smoke detector and air conditioner had ben torn down, and mirrors were shattered.

Before Clifford fled, he set fire to the room. When firefighters arrived they found the nightmarish scene, and Corp's body.

Hours after the murder Clifford was arrested at his home. Police found Corp's handbag beneath bushes at his home, with a bloodied towel and shirt inside.

Clifford claimed Corp had attacked him.

No one believed him.

Just before his three week murder trial was due to begin, Clifford changed his plea to guilty. He was jailed for 23 years with a non-parole period of 19 years.

It's absolutely gutted us, because it was a very bad failure in the system. For the sake of a bit of training, or procedure or supervision, the system fell over and failed us.


At the time the sentence and the fact Clifford was on parole disgusted her family, who said she could "still be alive today" if it hadn't been for system failures.

After Corp's murder it was revealed Corrections Victoria caseworkers didn't notify the Parole Board he had committed new offences which could have led to their parole being cancelled.

Corrections Victoria was notified that Clifford had been arrested on three separate occasions before he killed Corp, reported the Herald Sun in 2012.

Corp's parents, Andy and Gilly, said no-one had taken responsibility for their daughter's death or said they were sorry.

"It's absolutely gutted us, because it was a very bad failure in the system. For the sake of a bit of training, or procedure or supervision, the system fell over and failed us," Mr Corp said.

"Our daughter would probably be alive today if there hadn't been these stuff-ups".

In the lawsuit against the state of Victoria, the couple is claiming the state was at all times responsible for Clifford, including assessing his suitability for release, creating suitable conditions of parole, monitoring him, and protecting the public from him.

Clifford has a lengthy list of convictions including; aggravated burglary, intentionally causing injury, assault, resisting police, harassing a witness, breaching an intervention order, drug trafficking, dangerous driving, and possession of an unregistered firearm, reported The Herald Sun.

The Corps represent the sixth family of a murder victim to launch legal action against the Victorian government this year.

In June, the families of five people murdered between 2009 and 2012 - Sarah Cafferkey, Raechel Betts, Joanne Wicking, Evan Rudd and Douglas Phillips - lodged similar claims of negligence in a co-ordinated legal action that also includes two sexual-assault survivors.

All the cases are being handled by Shine Lawyers, including the Corps.

A Victorian government spokesman on Saturday acknowledged the "tragic and heartbreaking" losses and said the parole system had been comprehensively reformed in recent years.

The state government says it won't comment any further on the matter while it is before the courts.