This apartment building is near the crime scene in Werrington NSW
by Mary W Maxwell
It is said that someone stabbed the EXwife of Man Haron Monis’ 18 times and then spilled a bottle of petrol on her (after she died). The person then threw a match causing the immolation of the body.
Do people really do things like that? When I first read of it, I did not believe that it happened at all (see Bella Vista case) but now I feel reasonably sure it is true. Of course, we do not yet know who did it.
I attended only about 9 of the 22 sittings of the court trial. In this article I will tell of some of the things that I saw “on stage.” I mean I saw them on video within the courtroom – this is now a common way of bringing evidence before a judge or jury — plus regular witnesses.
What To Look For
Among the things that the prosecutor and defender are interested in discovering are:
Did the accused (Amirah Droudis) do it?
Did Monis help her, and if so, in what ways?
What is the motive?
What is the religious significance of the use of fire?
Who saw it happen?
Is there physical evidence of the presence of the killer at the crime scene?
Could the killer have been a professional hit man/woman?
Is there circumstantial evidence, such as insurance policies?
Note: I myself have other questions, which have to do with Monis, as I am still mulling over the “honesty” of the siege. Today I won’t mention these but will do so in a subsequent article.
An Old-Fashioned Investigation
The accused is Amirah (formerly Anastasia) Droudis, who was 36 at the time of her arrest. (The deceased lady was 30 at the moment of death; Monis – their mutual husband as it were — was about 48. Neither marriage was ever registered, but Monis and EXwife went to Family Law Court over custody of the two boys.)
Much evidence has been duly collected, to find clues of persons at the crime scene. No weapon was found but garbage bins were searched.
As I said in Part 1, every email ever sent by the accused or her lover, Monis, seems to have been ransacked. Fingerprints were taken, such as on the handrails to the Werrington unit (the crime scene) and the buzzer to the Intercom.
The accused pleads not guilty, yet (apparently) blames Monis for brain-washing her. Since the public defender, Mark Ierace, SC, has been trying to show that she did not do the murder at all, I take it he is holding another card to use, if needed, to show that if she did it, it was not her fault.
Judging from what I saw in court, Ierace’s main effort is to show that Amirah has an alibi; she was not near Werrington at the 4pm time when EXwife was murdered.
Let me mention Monis’ alibi. He does in fact have one, and it is almost comical. On that very afternoon — April 21, 2013 — we see him first with his two sons (pseudonym Billy and Josef) on a home video. He took them out to play sports and video’d them and himself – and also included in the video a clock tower showing 3.52.
See what I mean about comical? The clock tower does indeed prove that Monis was not at Werrington around 4pm. But it seems to say that he took the clock picture for the purpose of the alibi. In other words, it shows “guilty knowledge.”
And worse, he was in a car accident that day (after he left his kids off at a babysitter I think). Yes, Monis’ car hit the car of a friend. We also saw him, on video, driving perilously close to a parked police van. As a result of his “accident,” Monis was admitted to Nepean Hospital. An airtight alibi, reeking of guilty knowledge.
Note: he was charged with being an accessory to murder. But if he had lived, he may have found himself charged as a principal if he had sent Amirah to do his dirty work. Boy, this case goes around in circles.
The Collegiality of Prosecutor and Defense
This series of articles in GumshoeNews.com makes no attempt to do the rigorous work of a journalist. My motive to be there has to do with the siege (the subject of my new book entitled Inquest).
I’m rounding up some of the salient features of the trial in order that I can proceed to do some siege-related analysis of “the Monis situation.”
Thus, excuse me, but I am not taking great care to say which evidence came forth from the prosecutor and which from defense. Still, I have to say it was a confusing scene. The prosecutor seemed to me to provide the information about the alibis (although maybe the point was to knock it all down).
In any event, the collegiality between the adversaries at the bar table was amazing. I am not pleased about this. I want the prosecutor to look like he’s saying, “Amirah did the murder,” and the Defense to say “No way, Jose.” But it’s all a jumble.
As for the police detective, Melanie Staples, she finds herself equally at home when giving testimony for either side. I’m not saying she should do otherwise. It just confuses us in the gallery a bit. (Or just confuses me, as I am sometimes alone there!)
As an example, there was DNA found on the red-head matchstick that was lying on the upper back of the deceased’s body. You might think, since it was found NOT to contain evidence of Amirah’s DNA, that Melanie Staples would discuss this in her testimony for the defense. But she did so on her testimony for the prosecution.
The Six Pack Situation
Or maybe it’s just that the Prosecutor is very sharp. At court last Thursday, September 22, 2016, a man named Woods came forth to say he and his friend Andrew like to watch the footy together. Or rugby. Andrew lives in a unit at Werrington close to the crime scene. On April 21, 2013, Woods said he smelled smoke at the unit.
I thought Woods sounded believable, as he said they always watch the pre-game entertainment on TV and that he was sure of the time of his arrival at Andrew’s being ‘defo’ before the 4pm NRL game. But Tedeschi (“Mr Crown”) made mince meat of him by showing that there was no pre-game entertainment that day.
The prosecutor had got the witness to admit that he brought sixpacks to Andrew’s that were on sale at half-price, and that moreover, he, Woods, had started drinking in the morning.
But now I ask, did the Prosecutor want to have this corroboration of the smelling of smoke? It helps the murder case. You would think it would be the defense that tried to bury the Woods story, but no, it was Mr Tedeschi.
— Mary Maxwell is a graduate of Adelaide Law School.
Photo credit: domain.com.au