Revealed: British stripper who was found dead in Australian lap-dancing club kept her job secret from her 'devastated' family who fear 'foul play' led to her death

  • British backpacker Stacey Tierney, 29, died at Dreams strip Club in Melbourne
  • Described by friends as a 'free spirit' she worked at the club as an exotic dancer
  • Stunning fitness instructor left Manchester for Queensland beaches in 2013
  • But friends have now revealed she began funding her travels with strip dances
  • They say she kept 'exotic dancing' secret from her family in northern England
  • Her cousin and uncle in the UK said today they knew nothing of her lap dancing
  • 'Since she lost her life rumours have surfaced of her being a stripper but we know nothing about this,' Paul Tierney told MailOnline
  • Friend Briar Rose reveals Stacey gave private dances to help pay for travels
  • 'I don't think her family knew. She's been dancing a few years on and off.'
  • Stunning Stacey had been at Dreams club at a private party with a group of men
  • Reportedly complained that she felt unwell and the unnamed men left the club
  • Her body was discovered slumped inside the venue more than 24 hours later

The family of a British backpacker found dead in an Australian gentleman's club had no idea of her secret life as an exotic dancer and would have been 'horrified', her cousin said today.

As Stacey Tierney's heartbroken parents try come to terms with their daughter's unexplained and sudden death her older cousin Paul said: 'We are devastated and think there was foul play.

'And whoever is responsible is a coward and a low life for leaving her dying or dead and failing to get any help.It is shocking behaviour and very distressing.'

'Since she lost her life rumours have surfaced of her being a stripper but we know absolutely nothing about this,' Mr Tierney said.

Tragic Stacey's uncle Graham Tierney, in Manchester, said: 'I didn't know she was working in that club and I don't think anyone in the family did.

'As far as we knew, she was just travelling around Australia and enjoying it. I saw all her photos on Facebook and it looked like she was having a good time.

'She wasn't the type of girl to get involved with drugs as far as I know but we just do not know what has happened. Maybe her drink was spiked or something like that, who knows?

He went on: 'I know my brother, Stacey's dad, has been trying to get some answers from the Australian authorities but everyone seems to be tight lipped at the moment. We only know what everyone else knows - the reports which have been in the papers.

'All the family see very upset because she was such a great girl who was enjoying life.'

Trip of a lifetime: British backpacker Stacey Tierney, 29, pictured at Wyndham on William, Melbourne, last January, was an exotic dancer at the city's Dreams Gentlemen's Club where she died in mysterious circumstances on December 17. She had been entertaining a private party of unnamed men. Her body was discovered on Sunday - 24 hours after she died
Wild moon child: Friends described Ms Tierney, pictured in October 2015, on Australia's Gold Coast, as a free spirit who was living the 'backpacker's dream' during her three years there. But her cousin Paul Tierney she kept her job working as a stripper hidden from her family
High octane: Fitness fanatic Stacey's Facebook page is filled with photos, chronicling her adventures in Australia including an adrenalin-fuelled skydive in March 2014, eight months after she arrived in July 2013. She said she was 'so happy' she had made the jump
'Love these girls': Stacey hid the truth about her exotic dancing from her family, according to friend Briar Rose, pictured centre in a picture from Stacey's Facebook page, above. She funded her travels with strip dances, according to friend Yasmin Donaldson, right
Live for the moment: An extraordinary online diary chronicling her adventures show free-spirited Stacey diving from a plane, sunbathing on a yacht, taking epic road trips and enjoying wild parties are prefaced with the words: 'The happiest time of my life is now'

Stunning fitness fanatic Stacey, 29, swapped the rain of Manchester for the white-sand beaches of Queensland in 2013, and for more than three years lived the backpacker's dream.

On her Facebook page she posted scores of incredible pictures showing her diving from a plane, sunbathing on a yacht, taking epic road trips and enjoying wild parties, prefaced with the words: 'The happiest time of my life is now'.

She described herself proudly as a 'free spirit' and a 'wild moon child'.

But behind the smiles and ocean sunsets that she invited her family and friends to view, the trained dancer hid the truth of how she was paying for glamorous lifestyle.

she was living a double life, working as a stripper offering private dances in seedy clip joints in some of Australia's toughest cities without telling her loving and large family back home.

HGV driver Paul, 32 - whose dad Alan is brother of the victim's dad Steven - said Stacey from Stockport, Greater Manchester, who had been due to celebrate her milestone 30th birthday in just two weeks on January 20, 'absolutely loved' Australia.

Paul, from Mitcham, Surrey, explained: 'She had lots of friends there and I really think she wanted to settle there for good.

'She was always in great spirits and just oozed life. She was very pretty and petite and very energetic and would light up a room.

'We were in contact on social media and knew Stacey was working hard to pay for her lifestyle, doing some pole dancing for cash, but not anything shameful which would cause any embarrassment to her family.

'It was all harmless dancing, her friends in Melbourne have since told us. She was also into fitness and loved doing all that energetic Zumba.'

Paul said he last saw her two years ago during a trip to Oz. He recalled: 'I went on holiday in June 2014 to help settle another cousin who had just moved over there. At the time Stacey was in Brisbane and we met up for the day and went to the beach. She was in great spirits and loving life.'

Fighting back tears, he said: 'That was the last time I ever saw her. I can't believe she has gone and in such mysterious curcumstances.

'We will have no closure until we know what happened. The police have been hopeless and haven't told us much at all.'

Dingo Divas: Sun-kissed snaps show her living life to the full with trips down Australia's Gold Coast before her mysterious death. In October 2015, she toured Fraser Island and posted a photo of a human pyramid with the caption: 'It took a few attempts but we did it!
Beach bum: Backpacker Stacey, pictured on Fraser Island, loved her carefree lifestyle with few commitments. She joyfully described her adventure as having 'no actual plan, just winging it'.
'Down Under!' In February, ten months before her mysterious death, Stacey was pictured on a boat of Australia's coast soaking up the sun and seemingly without a care in the world

Close friend and fellow exotic dancer Briar Rose has revealed to MailOnline how Stacey danced 'as much as she could' to fund her travels, a secret the young Briton apparently kept hidden.

Briar Rose said: 'I don't think her family knew she was a [exotic] dancer. I don't think she spoke [to her family] about it. She's been dancing a few years on and off.'

New Zealander Briar worked with Stacey as an exotic dancer in strip clubs in Brisbane and Darwin, hard-partying cities in Australia's north-east.

Ms Rose has revealed how the young Briton had to attend private parties and offer private dances in order to make money.

Asked by MailOnline if Stacey offered private dances, she replied; 'Yes. That's how we all make money. If we didn't do private lap dances we wouldn't get paid so much.'

And the Kiwi revealed the precarious nature of a stripper's earning potential with club management taking almost half of their earnings. On some nights dancers would walk out of the club with nothing, she said.

'We get paid for tips and privates [dances]. At the end [of the night] the money we make [the management] took 45 per cent.

'So you can have s*** nights and good nights.

'You can easily make hundreds [of Australian dollars] or you can walk out with nothing.'

While working at Brisbane's Showgirls nightclub Stacey befriended another dancer, Yasmin Donaldson, before the Briton left Queensland for Melbourne.

She told MailOnline: 'We were both strippers. Stacey was really nice.

'She was travelling from England and she was staying in Brisbane at a backpackers place and we used to do shifts [at Showgirls nightclub] together.'

Miss Donaldson added she was 'pretty sure' that the Briton had 'funded' her glamourous travelling lifestyle through exotic dancing.

'I went to her backpackers place where she was staying once. We went to the gay pride march with another stripper who worked with us. We had a really good talk and had a few drinks and had a really good time.'

She added: 'Stacey left Brisbane and went to Melbourne I think with some friends or other backpackers.'

As well as working in strip clubs in Brisbane and Darwin Stacey also performed as an exotic dancer in three venues in Melbourne when she arrived in the Victoria city about six months ago.

The Briton worked at Goldfingers, Men's Gallery and Dreams Gentlemen's Club where her lifeless body was discovered slumped in a corner just days before Christmas. She had allegedly been there for 12 hours.

'Happiest soul': Her friend Briar Rose told MailOnline: 'Stacey really was just a free spirit. She loved exploring and loved dancing. 'She was the happiest soul, and was free spirited.'
Halloween queen: Stacey quit her job at the sports nutrition retailer Bodybuilding Warehouse Stacey arrived in Australia in July 2013, where she set up home in Brisbane. Her closest friends said she was a fun-loving party girl who liked to dress up

Her father Stephen Tierney said he was heartbroken by the loss of his 'beautiful' daughter, he added, while the mystery surrounding what happened to her was only adding to their grief.

Mr Tierney said: 'We are finding it difficult to get information, and realise there is an investigation regarding the suspicious circumstances.'

The third of four sisters - Stephanie, Kristie and Kelly-Anne - Stacey grew up in a large and loving family in south Manchester.

Originally from Withington, she studied dance at Oldham College, then started teaching zumba and fitness classes at the Manchester Aquatics Centre.

The year before she left for Australia, she was working at Bodybuilding Warehouse, a company that sells fitness supplements.

She had told her family she planned to become a student in Melbourne, and when she returned home for Christmas last year her cousin believed she was working as a fitness instructor.

Stacey's cousin Colleen told the Manchester Evening News just before Christmas: 'We obviously knew how great she was. We were so proud of her and spoke to her all the time.

'She was so fit and loved dancing. She came back for Christmas last year. She had been working as a fitness instructor but she decided she was going to reapply and she was accepted back on a student visa.'

Full of life: During her time in Australia she toured the Gold Coast's tourist attractions including the stunning Whitsunday Islands and Fraser Island with other backpackers, pictured
Tragedy: In a tribute to Stacey, pictured lying on 'remarkable rocks' in February, Nathan Cartwright wrote: 'Dark day to hear of someone so full of life to come to such a tragic end'
Party loving: Stacey, whose mother Michelle, 52, and sisters live in Stockport in the UK, made friends easily as she stayed in backpackers' hostels and told her friends on Facebook she was 'In love with the Gold Coast' when this photo was taken in July last year
'Happiest time of my life is now': Former Oldham College pupil Stacey was pictured doing yoga on the lookout Torquay Surf Beach on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, in April - eight months before she died
Sea frolicks: Stacey, pictured on Fraser Island, Queensland, in October 2015, moved to Melbourne from Brisbane six months ago and worked as an exotic dancer at a strip club
Sunday climbs: In Melbourne, Stacey reportedly made a close group of friends, with whom she had recently moved in with. Here she is pictured at an indoor climbing centre in the city in May

In fact, Stacey was reliant on the income from three separate lapdancing clubs in Melbourne to fund her dream, according to friends she had made locally.

She is reported to have been entertaining a group of men at a private party at the strip-club when she fell ill.

The unnamed men are then said to have left without raising the alarm or calling for help for ailing Stacey. Murder squad detectives are now part of the investigation into Stacey's death.

Her cousin Paul blasted some reports that his cousin may have died after dabbling in drugs.

He insisted: 'Stacey would never take drugs. She liked a drink but did not do drugs. She was too into her fitness.

'The worst thing is apart from losing her is that we don't know the circumstances of her death. I don't know when we will find out, the police over there are still investigating.

'Something suspicious has happened and someone knows exactly what! The club where she worked was closed but had been opened up by somebody for a private party.

'Her poor parents are devastated and can hardly cope with the lack of information. It's tearing them apart. The body hasn't been repatriated yet and they and we don't know if we should be going to Australia. No one is really telling us anything.'

A desperate Paul fumed: 'How can they [the police] rule out foul play. Why aren't they treating it as suspected manslaughter or murder? Police are not being helpful.'

Paul told of the moment he learned his cousin was dead. He recalled: 'It was the Tuesday before Christmas and my niece phoned to break the news. It was dreadful.'

Stacey, who had joyfully described her trip as having 'no actual plan, [I'm] just winging it', had initially gone backpacking to Australia about three and a half years ago with her boyfriend Matthew Girvan , 29.

Paul said: 'They had been together for a long time but they split up while they were over there. He had a contract as an engineer.'

Stacey retuned to the UK when her first visa ran out. Paul explained: 'She loved it so much and just wanted to go back so she applied for a visa to study. It was her dream to become a nurse.

Setting up home in Brisbane, she took part in a sky-dive - posting heartstopping pictures of herself in a tandem parachute jump with an instructor.

And over the coming months she visited some of Queensland's incredible nature spots including the paradise-like Whitsunday Islands.

Stacey, pictured with a friend, chronicled the first two and a half years of her trip of a lifetime in Australia on her Facebook page, but for the last six months of her life the photos dried up
Party girl: In one of the last pictures she posted, in July, Stacey posed for a selfie at a nightclub with a male friend which she wrote along with the caption: 'I'm in love with the Gold Coast'
Stacey, pictured posing with backpackers at a waterfall on her travels, moved to Melbourne and was earning a good salary and had recently moved into a nice house, according to friends
Stacey, pictured left with a male friend, had been partying with a group of men at the club where she worked on December 18. It is believed the club was closed and she was with them at a private party. Stacey is believed to have complained that she felt unwell and the men left. He body was discovered on December 19, 24 hours later

A fun-loving party girl, Stacey loved dressing up, particularly for Halloween. One year she dressed in a black and white stripped convicts uniform, the following year as a 'she-devil', in a tight leather all-in-one suit and a horned tiara.

Christmas 2014 was a far cry from the wind and cold of Manchester with horse rides along a soft sand beach followed by a doze in a beach-side hammock. New Year's Eve was a raucous party back in Brisbane.

Making the most of her exotic location Stacey took frequent trips out of town, sleeping under the stars in Nossa Everglades and visiting Fraser Island, famed for its white sand beaches and quiet lagoons. In another cute post she reveals she took the chance to hug a koala bear.

Sleeping in backpackers hostels and taking forest hikes, Stacey marvelled at Australia's tropical north during a trip to Darwin and watched open-air music concerts on the beach.

The party-loving young woman from Manchester also danced the night away the Queensland's Brisbane Pride Festival with friends Briar Rose and Yasmin Donaldson, both exotic dancers who she had met while working as a stripper.

In January last year Stacey took a trip to Victoria, staying at the prestigious Wyndham on William Hotel.

With friends she took in the awe-inspiring twelve apostles sea rock formations during an epic drive with friends along the Great Ocean Road and McKenzie Falls in Victoria. She also visited the Remarkable Rocks national park in South Australia.

Paradise lost: The former fitness trainer, from Greater Manchester, in England's north west, had reportedly been partying at the club with a group of men while the venue was closed
Mystery: Friends of Stacey, pictured at at Halloween party in November 2015, said it was out of character for her to be spending time with men she did not know at a club she worked in after hours. There is no suggestion that the club's management is implicated in her death
Investigation: Initially the investigation into Stacey's death was being overseen by the homicide squad but it is understood police are taking the view - prior to the post mortem results - that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death

Stacey returned to Melbourne about six months ago and started work at the Dreams Gentlemen's Club, where she was finally to lose her life.

It was around this time when public posts stopped appearing on her usually prolific Facebook feed.

The club, which boasts that it is Melbourne's 'finest table top dancing venue' with 'a selection of the most exquisite ladies' offers 'full throttle' nights where lapdances last three songs for 'just $50'.

Shockingly, the sister of the club's owner has questioned whether her death was an overdose after claiming girls who work at strip clubs 'get high on whatever drug'.

Antoinette Aparo, 51 - the sister of Dreams Gentlemen's Club owner Salvatore - told Daily Mail Australia: 'I know strip clubs and I know the type of girls who work there.'

'They go get high on ... whatever drug ... then they go to work, do their dancing and go home - how do we know this girl didn't just overdose?'

'All I can say is it will be interesting to see what the police come up with.'

However, a friend of Stacey pictured in 2014, has raised doubts about her death, saying she had never taken drugs. Briar Rose said: 'As soon as I heard she had died I asked if she had been killed I knew in my heart that something was not right.'

However Stacey's friends and family have vehemently disputed Ms Aparo's allegations, insisting the young Briton was the 'first to say no' if offered drugs.

Friend and fellow stripper Briar told DailyMail Australia: 'Stacey was healthy, didn't touch drugs and was so upbeat about life she wouldn't take her own life.'

She added: 'She would not get high then go to work. When I was working with her she was hardly drunk at all.'

Friends and colleagues at the club have told of their sadness at her tragic death.

Heartbroken exotic dancer Cherly Minxy Grant said: 'You didn't deserve this. No-one does.

'I thought it would make things easier if we knew what happened but with each new detail I think everyone becomes more shocked and heartbroken that in your last hours on this earth you had to endure what you did.

'I really hope you know how much you are loved and that we won't stop until whoever did this to you is put behind bars.'

Her cousin Paul added: 'She was living the dream. What happened was so tragic, she didn't deserve to die.

'She would have been celebrating her big 30 in a few weeks - that would have been a party!'

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