Cleaner charged with murdering client
A HOUSE cleaner who allegedly stabbed and beat a 92-year-old woman, leaving her bleeding and with broken pottery embedded in her skull, has now been charged with her murder.
Hanny Papanicolaou, 35, who was an alleged gambling addict and ambushed the lady to steal her money, did not appear in Burwood court today.
But police prosecutor Ernest Chan formally added a charge of murder to Ms Papanicolaou's original charges of attempted murder and wound with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Court documents seen by news.com.au indicate the alleged victim, Marjorie Welsh, died on February 19 at 9.38am.
Horrific details of the alleged brutal and "frenzied" attack by the trusted cleaner at the elderly woman's Ashbury home emerged in court in January.
Mrs Welsh's injuries were described as "life-threatening" and she said after the incident: "I will never be the same."
Prosecutor Chan alleged in January that Hanny Papanicolaou was gambling at Canterbury Leagues Club at 9am on January 2 before she went to Marjorie Welsh's home, entering via the back.
Mr Chan told the court that Ms Papanicolaou, an Indonesian national, had the elderly lady's door key and usually cleaned on a Friday.
But on that Wednesday, the day of the alleged attack, Mr Chan said the accused parked away from the house instead of in the driveway and walked to the rear fence.
Mr Chan alleged the 35-year-old cleaner then used Mrs Welsh's walking stick, a knife and blue kitchen crockery in the attack, which left the elderly woman with a punctured lung, nicked bowel, multiple facial fractures, back and head lacerations, and seven torso wounds.
Police say the accused had asked Mrs Welsh about a recent sale of a property at Box Hill before the alleged attack, and that she had no money in her bank account.
Ms Papanicolaou had worked as a cleaner for five years for Mrs Welsh's daughter and for a year at the Ashbury house.
Police allege Ms Papanicolaou, who was on crutches during her last court appearance, broke her ankle jumping over the fence at Mrs Welsh's house while fleeing the scene.
She allegedly stabbed and assaulted her client after arriving unannounced at 10.45am and then left the victim on the floor, bleeding from the abdomen and scalp where crockery shards were embedded.
Mr Chan told the court police later found a discarded knife wrapped in a bloody cloth and the accused's dumped clothing.
"It was a frenzied attack on a vulnerable 92-year-old with no attempts to render assistance and with attempts to conceal the offence," he said.
Mr Chan alleged Ms Papanicolaou fled the crime scene with Mrs Welsh's phone.
Mrs Welsh activated her personal panic device and a neighbour heard her cries for help after seeing the alleged attacker flee.
Mr Trevallion told the court in January his client had acted in self defence.
He alleged the incident had begun when the elderly lady threatened Ms Papanicolaou with her walking cane and broke it across her knee.
He denied the accused had a gambling problem or that she was a flight risk back to Indonesia.
Mr Trevallion said Ms Papanicolaou had closer ties here with her husband, baby son and nine-year-old daughter, and damage would be done to her family if she was held without bail for up to two years before a trial.
Ms Papanicolaou sent text messages after the alleged attack, which may have indicated she was suicidal or intending to flee the country, but they were "ambiguous", Magistrate McManus told the court.
In the messages, the accused said: "I love you all so much … Mummy loves you".
Ms McManus said Ms Papanicolaou "knew she was in trouble".
The accused's defence lawyer presented nine affidavits on her behalf, including one from her husband, Nick Papanicolaou, to plead for her release on bail.
The court heard that the accused's family might be forced to sell their family home if she remained in prison while awaiting trial.
Prosecutor Ernest Chan tabled a record of $22,000 in gambling losses by the accused at West Ashfield Leagues Club in the three years up to May last year.
Mr Chan said the record demonstrated a gambling addiction, but the accused's lawyer refuted this, saying it represented only a small average weekly loss.
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