Australian Cleaning Lady Nearly Kills Elderly Client to Get to Her Money to Gamble
A cleaning lady is charged with attempted murder after stabbing a 92-year-old woman and beating the victim with her own walking stick. The cleaner is a gambling addict who ambushed the elderly woman to steal money, according to an account given in court.
Terrible details of the alleged attack were shared in court. The cleaning lady knew her victim and cleaned the woman’s Ashbury home. The elderly woman had life-threatening injuries as the result of the attack. Details emerged in Burwood Local Court, when Prosecutor Ernest Chan alleged the perpetrator, Hanny Papanicolaou, was gambling at nine o’clock in the morning on January 2. Papanicolaou was at Canterbury Leagues Club that morning before she went to the home of her victim, Marjorie Welsh. The cleaning lady entered the victim’s home through the back.
Chan also shared with the court that Papanicolaou, who is an Indonesian national, had the key to Welsh’s home, since she usually cleaned the victim’s home on Fridays. On the day of the attack, which was Wednesday, Chan said the accused parked farther away from the house than usual. The cleaning lady normally parked in the driveway of Welsh’s home and walked to the fence at the back of the house.
The prosecutor then alleged the accused, 35; used Welch’s walking stick, knife, and blue kitchen crockery during the attack. Welch was left with a punctured lung, nicked bowel, multiple facial fractures, back and head lacerations, and seven torso wounds.
The Aftermath of the Attack
Welsh will likely have permanent facial disfigurement. Having surgery to correct the injuries would be life-threatening for Welsh due to her age. Ms. Welch had nose surgery and her breathing has been labored since the attack. After the incident, Welch told police, “The cleaner did it.” She also stated that she now suffers from anxiety and “will never be the same.”
Police also state that the accused asked Welch about a recent property sale at Box Hill before attacking her. Authorities also state at the time of the attack, the accused didn’t have any funds in her bank account.
Additional Information on the Accused
Papanicolaou worked for five years as a cleaner for Welsh’s daughter and spent one year cleaning Welsh’s home. The accused recently appeared in court via video. She was seen using a pair of crutches from Silverwater Women’s maximum security prison. Papanicolaou nearly fell over before sitting down. Police say the accused broke her ankle while jumping over Welsh’s fence while she was fleeing the scene after attacking Welsh. Papanicolaou has two young children, including a three-month-old that she is currently breastfeeding, according to her lawyer, James Trevallion.
Chan also told the court that a knife was later found wrapped in a bloody cloth. The accused clothing was discarded with the knife. Chan states, “It was a frenzied attack on a vulnerable 92-year-old with no attempts to render assistance and with attempts to conceal the offence.” The prosecutor also alleges the accused fled the scene of the crime with Welsh’s phone handset. Welsh activated her panic device. A neighbor heard her calling for help after the accused fled. Trevallion says the accused was defending herself, and says Welsh threatened Papanicolaou with her cane, breaking it across Papanicolaou’s knee. Trevallion also denies that his client is a compulsive gambler, or that she is a flight risk back to her home country of Indonesia.
Trevallion says his client has close ties to her husband, infant son’ and nine-year-old daughter. The lawyer states that if the accused is held without bail, her family would be damaged, particularly if she is held in jail for two years before trial.
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