Photo of Amirah Droudis from abc.net.au
by Mary W Maxwell
Amirah Droudis is on trial for killing a lady whose name we are not supposed to mention in connection with this court case, but which is well known from previous media discussion. I will refer to her as EXwife. In this Part 2 of the series, there will mainly be a listing of key names, dates, and places.
It’s cricket to name the accused, Amirah Droudis, and to say that she was the defacto, or the girlfriend, or partner of the late Man Haron Monis. She called him Michael.
At birth he was Mohamad Hassan Manteghi Borujerdi. On 16 September 2002, Monis changed his name to Michael Hayson Mavros.[ On 21 September 2006, he changed his name to Man Haron Monis.
As for Amirah, her first name was Anastasia – she is Greek – but she converted to Islam and altered her name. I believe she had a husband. Her 14 year-old daughter now practices that faith, too. We are not allowed to name her but I will contribute the pseudonym “Sara” for her.
EXwife, who was stabbed to death on Sunday, April 21, 2013, is the mom of two boys. I will give them the pseudonyms Billy and Josef. She had a partner at the time of her death, and two living parents. Her ethnicity is Fijian Indian.
There was also the elderly mother of Amirah who appeared via a November 2013 video in the trial. Since then she has died of emphysema. Her husband who is now in a nursing home. He did not get asked any questions at the trial as he had a stroke about 8 years ago and cannot talk. I will call the mom Mom.
I will voluntarily protect the late Mom and the stroke-victim Dad (born 1936) for the following reason. If their child Amirah ends up as a convict, they should not be blamed should they? I can’t imagine that they raised a kid to be a wild murderess. Their only other offspring is a man who has paranoia “and yells and screams.” Poor thing.
There is a neighbor who acted as a witness who speaks only Greek. She took the oath in Greek, and had a professional interpreter. I will just say “Greek neighbor.” She obviously cares about the welfare of the girl, Sara, who finds herself with a jailed Mom.
There was a witness who saw black smoke and heard “an amazing combination of police sirens and ambulances” at the time of the murder. As I don’t suppose it causes him any disgrace to have his name listed, here it is: Mr Woods.
For many days in the dock sat an official police witness. She was quite impressive and seems to have conducted most of the investigation of the murder. Name: Melanie Staples. Title: Detective, Homicide Division, and Officer in Charge.
The judge is Justice Peter Johnson. Seems trustworthy and wise. He certainly handled the 14-year-old Sara kindly. (She was in another room at Darlinghurst Court but we could see her by video link.)
The Prosecutor, whom the judge addresses as Mr Crown, is Mark Tedeschi, QC and the Public Defender is Mark Ierace, SC. At one point after the morning break, Mr Crown walked into the room carrying a live squirrel. Or so I thought till he slung over his bean and I realized it was the barristerial wig.
Suburbs (Districts of Sydney)
The parents of Amirah live in Belmore. Amirah and her daughter Sara stayed in Croydon. Sara said when acting as a witness in court, that she considered her Mother, Monis, and herself to be a family. Q. Do you consider Monis your step-father? A. “Yes.” Q. Did he love your mother very much? “Well, obviously they were in a relationship.”
The deceased EXwife, and her two sons Billy and Josef (around age 10 and 11), plus EXwife’s unnamed partner, lived in a unit in Werrington, and it is at that location where she was killed.
I find this a bit confusing — Monis seems to have owned or rented a unit at Werrington a few doors from EXwife. Unit 43, as everyone can hear him say in the video filmed at Nepean hospital. But at some point in the trial that unit was described as “empty.”
One cause of confusion is that the boys got handed over regularly for access visits, and this handover seemed to be done by car, rather than by walking along a passageway. Possibly Monis’ unit was essentially empty and he lived with Amirah and Sara. The murder took place outside Unit #43.
Dates of Relevance to the Case
Monis was born May 19, 1964.
He arrived in Australia in 1996 on a business visa and then applied for asylum based on alleged persecution in Iran.
On November 10, 2009 he was charged with using the postal service to send distressing letters to the bereaved families of Australian soldiers. The penalty he received was 300 hours of community service. Amirah was charged with aiding and abetting but was given a good behavior bond.
The murder of EXwife occurred on April 21, 2013.
(On that day, EXwife’s age was 30 and Amirah’s was 35.)
The arrest of Amirah took place on November 15, 2013. I think Monis was charged in that same day as an accessory.
On December 12, 2013 they appeared before a magistrate at Penrith Court and were granted bail. Magistrate William Pierce said it was a weak case.
On December 14, 2014 Monis’ Facebook was taken down by authorities.
The siege of the Lindt Café took place on December 15, 2014, with Monis dying in the morning of December 16.
Amirah Droudis’ entering of a plea of not guilty took place on October 2, 2015. Through her lawyer, Mr Ierace, she asked for a judge-only trial.
The trial opened on August 16, 2016.
The final witness, Mr Woods, testified on September 22, 2016.
The judge will soon repair to make his ruling.
The Drama of the Day, described by news.com.au
I did not attend on the first day of witness testimony, so I’ll give the Murdoch version here, of what Wayne Morris said:
Bringing his hand in a stabbing motion from his head down to his waist, Mr Morris said he saw the female assailant “going up and down like that” with the knife.
The woman had a “chubby” face and “plump” body and was wearing a long black hijab. He estimated the knife she held had a 20cm long blade [8 inches]. She was leaning over the body.
‘I saw at least three or four stabs and the person on the ground just went quiet. Everything just went quiet and I don’t know where the knife went and all of a sudden there was a plastic bottle in the lady’s [attacker’s] hand and she was pouring … it all over the body.”
‘Obviously I was afraid and I didn’t go out there at first,’ he told the court. ‘I ran out. I tried to scare her off lighting up the body. I just said “don’t” and she screamed back at me “No! You go back in there.” The rage in her voice. She was angry at me. She was very angry. She made me feel like I’d done something wrong.
Later the police showed Wayne Morris photographs of the possible attacker. He picked one out and said “That’s her. That’s her a hundred percent.” However that person was not Amirah. (No mention of whether police are seeking a statement from that person).
— Mary W Maxwell is skeptical of every aspect of this case as it all seems so implausible. However, she will continue to report what was said at the trial.