Woman’s haunting description of brutal attack revealed in court

Steve ZemekNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: Supplied

An elderly woman’s harrowing account of a brutal attack which is believed to have led to her death has been revealed in court as her cleaner stands trial over her alleged murder.

Hanny Papanicolaou has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Marjorie Welsh inside the 92-year-old’s Sydney home in early 2019.

The court has heard that Ms Papanicolaou spent the morning gambling and was left with just $11 in her bank account before she attacked Ms Welsh.

Ms Welsh later told police she was shocked to find Ms Papanicolaou inside her home before she was attacked with her own walking sticks and ceramic pottery.

Ms Papanicolaou also took a knife from a cutlery drawer and stabbed her elderly client six times in the abdomen, prosecutors told a court on the first day of her murder trial.

Supplied  Hanny Papanicolaou
Camera IconHanny Papanicolaou has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Marjorie Welsh. Supplied. Credit: Supplied

Ms Welsh managed to activate a medical alert necklace and raise the alarm, with neighbours and emergency services rushing to her aid, the court heard.

She was taken to hospital where she underwent emergency surgery having sustained facial fractures, lacerations and a collapsed lung, but died of her six weeks later.

In the time before she succumbed to her wounds, she gave two statements to police during which she told detectives she was attacked by “Hanny the cleaner”.

An excerpt of a statement which Ms Welsh gave to police before she went into surgery was read to the jury by crown prosecutor Christopher Taylor during his opening address on Monday.

The court heard that Ms Papanicolaou was not due to be at Ms Welsh’s Holden St on the day of the January 2 attack.

“Well, she’s always been charming,” Ms Welsh told police in her statement.

“I thought we were good friends. I didn’t expect her today but suddenly she was in the house.

“She’s only small, she greeted me as she usually does, most affectionately. I’ve never seen anything else but kindness from her.

“From smiling she became an absolute dynamo. She had a stick, she was beating me with the stick every which way.

“I’m saying ‘why Hanny why?’”

Ms Welsh went on to say that Ms Papanicolaou did not say a word during the assault.

“She was utterly ferocious,” Ms Welsh said.

“I was on the floor most of the time just trying to cover up. It seemed to go on forever.”

Supreme Court Stock
Camera IconA harrowing statement from Ms Welsh was aired in court. NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi Credit: News Corp Australia

The prosecution told the court that Ms Papanicolaou did not deny carrying out the attack or causing the injuries which led to her client’s death.

Rather she had pleaded not guilty on the basis that she was suffering an abnormality of the mind at the time of the alleged murder.

The court heard that Ms Welsh had sold her Box Hill acreage following the death of her husband.

Ms Welsh told police that she had disclosed to Ms Papanicolaou that she had sold the property for $8 million as she downsized and moved to be closer to her daughters.

At the time of her death, she had several health problems having undergone a hip replacement and required a walking stick and two hearing aids.

The court heard that following the attack Ms Papanicolaou ran out the back door, taking a cordless phone and the knife with her, which she later dumped in a bin.

Ms Papanicolaou gave a statement to police including one in which she claimed that Ms Welsh had attacked her, that she had defended herself and that the 92-year-old had accidentally stabbed herself during the struggle.

“She had been savagely assaulted and severely injured by the accused, Ms Papanicolaou, during that 25 minutes,” Mr Taylor told the court.

“The police and ambulance arrived quickly to Ms Welsh’s home along with a neighbour who was alerted to Ms Welsh’s cries for help. They found Ms Welsh lying across the back doorway.”

The trial before Justice Robertson Wright is due to continue on Tuesday with opening statements from the defence.

Originally published as Woman’s haunting description of brutal attack revealed in court

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