Magistrate Rodney Higgins and court clerk Ashleigh Petrie.
Magistrate Rodney Higgins and court clerk Ashleigh Petrie.

Young fiancee of controversial older magistrate dies

The young fiancee of a Victorian magistrate 45 years her senior, whose relationships sparked headlines and calls for an inquiry by the integrity watchdog, has died suddenly.

Ashleigh Petrie, 23, a court clerk, shared news of her engagement to Rodney Higgins, 68, earlier this month after he popped the question during a holiday to Fiji.

News.com.au understands Ms Petrie was hit by a car and killed at 1 o'clock this morning in Metung in the East Gippsland region of country Victoria.

Latrobe Valley Magistrates' Court, where the couple worked, cancelled all hearings today as co-workers grappled with the shock news.

Magistrate Rodney Higgins and court clerk Ashleigh Petrie became engaged during a 10-day romantic getaway to Fiji last month.
Magistrate Rodney Higgins and court clerk Ashleigh Petrie became engaged during a 10-day romantic getaway to Fiji last month.

Their romance made headlines around the country after a Victorian Liberal MP called for an investigation by the Judicial Commission of Victoria.

In response, Attorney-General Jill Hennesy said the relationship did not break any rules.

Her Opposition counterpart Ed O'Donohue told the Herald Sun the relationship warranted an investigation, even though Ms Petrie did not work directly with Mr Higgins.

However, Ms Petrie was publicly overjoyed about the engagement, sharing happy snaps from their recent holiday.

Yesterday, she shared an Instagram snap from the deck of Metung Hotel.

 


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