A housekeeper charged with the murder of her elderly client did not appear disturbed or mentally ill in CCTV footage taken just before her visit, a Sydney jury has heard.
And the lively police interview of Hanny Papanicolaouo did not show signs of a mental disorder, psychiatrist Dr Adam Martin said on Friday.
The 38-year-old regular has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 92-year-old Marjorie Welsh at her western Sydney home on January 2, 2019.
She pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of substantial impairment due to mental abnormality, but this was dismissed by the Crown.
After sounding her medical alarm, Ms Welsh told responders that ‘Hanny’ beat her with his own canes, threw ceramics at her and used a kitchen knife to stab her repeatedly in the chest and stomach. ‘abdomen.
Ms Welsh died six weeks later in hospital, but not before she told police ‘Hanny the Housekeeper’ had violently attacked her.
Dr Martin told the NSW Supreme Court jury that Papanicolaou gave long, detailed answers to police in his interview 12 hours after the altercation.
She said the elderly woman became violent, accusing her of stealing $50, and said she tried to defend herself when Ms Welsh punched her and threw a knife at her.
But in her June 2020 interview with Dr. Martin and in an interview with another psychiatrist, Papanicolaou said she had no recollection of what happened.
The “highly inconsistent” accounts were “the opposite” and simply didn’t add up, Dr Martin said.
When interviewed by police, Papanicolaou did not look conventionally depressed, was “very spirited”, coherent and spontaneous, as she gave an exculpatory explanation for the violence.
“I think you can infer that she knew right from wrong.
“She was almost expressing her outrage at being falsely accused.”
CCTV footage taken an hour before the altercation showed Papanicolaou entering the Canterbury Leagues Club car park, scanning his membership card, playing poker machines and twice going to an ATM.
“She doesn’t look bothered, she doesn’t look mentally ill,” Dr Martin said.
She looked well cared for, was able to drive and play machines, did not gesticulate wildly and seemed to perform at the required level.
Papanicolaou lost $430 in less than an hour and has only $11 left in his bank account, while the Crown alleged they knew Ms Walsh won $8million.
Dr. Martin noted that in the run-up to the murder, she was described as reliable, a good worker, pleasant and a good conversationalist, attributes which were not consistent with a “major psychiatric pathology”.
A person with major depressive disorder may appear disheveled, hunched over, move very little, have a flat expression, and not participate in normal activities.
Medical records showed she was screened for depression months before the altercation and her score was zero, despite having no mental health issues when she was taken into custody.
In cross-examination, Dr. Martin admitted that at the time he interviewed Papanacolaou in prison, she was suffering from a major depressive disorder.
He also admitted that such a disorder can interfere with the memory of past events.
But he said it was “unlikely” that this could have prevented Papanicolaou from remembering what happened on January 2.
Australian Associated Press