'I'll Never Be The Same': 92yo Woman Allegedly Stabbed By 'Gambling Addict' Cleaner
An elderly woman who suffered horrific injuries in a stabbing attack at her Sydney home told responding police “the cleaner did it”, a court has been told.
Police allege 92-year-old Marjorie Welsh was stabbed and bashed by cleaner Hanny Papanicolaou inside her Ashbury home in a “targeted, unprovoked and vicious” assault on January 2.
The elderly woman’s long list of injuries was read out by the police prosecutor in court as 35-year-old Papanicaou applied for bail in Burwood Court today.
As well as “substantial” emotional harm, Sergeant Ernest Chan said Mrs Welsh had suffered seven wounds to her torso, including one which punctured a lung, a nicked bowel, an injury below her eye and lacerations to the back of her head which required stitches.
Sgt Chan said the victim sustained multiple fractures to her eye region which require surgery, but her family had decided against proceeding with the operation because it will be life-threatening.
As a result, she will be “permanent disfigured”, and suffers anxiety.
“Her injuries will be long term.”
“She remains in a serious condition. She underwent surgery to her nose this morning, as she has trouble breathing... (and will) need further surgery in coming weeks.”
“In her own words, ‘I will never be the same’”.
Papanicolaou appeared via video link from Silverwater jail, charged with attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
She limped into the video-room at Silverwater jail on crutches, stumbled and almost fell as she sat down in front of the camera.
Her barrister James Trevallion told the court the Indonesian citizen, who moved to Australia in 2008, has been married for ten years, and has two children; including a baby that is still breastfeeding.
He asked the Magistrate to grant bail, in part due to the impact her incarceration will have on her family.
“It will cause irreversible damage to her children”, he said.
But Sgt Chan revealed police believe Papanicolaou is a gambling addict who may have tried to murder Mrs Welsh for money.
“On the morning of this incident she had been gambling at Canterbury leagues club”, he said.
“The accused has made enquires as to the financial status of the complainant, asking about the recent sale of her property at Box Hill.”
The court heard the cleaner had worked for Mrs Welsh for 12 months, and at her daughter’s house for five years.
She usually cleaned on a Friday, but this attack occurred on a Wednesday, and she did not bring any of her cleaning equipment with her.
Sgt Chan said the assault involved the use of a knife, a walking stick and household crockery.
“It was a frenzied attack on a vulnerable 92-year-old”, he said.
“There were no attempts to render assistance”, and there were “attempts to conceal the offence and prevent the complainant obtaining help”, he said.
He alleged Mrs Papanicolaou hid the knife, discarded the clothing she wore and also removed the victim’s landline phone handset when she left.
Mrs Welsh managed to call for help using her personal panic alarm.
Magistrate McManus refused bail, and adjourned the case until March 6.