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Steve Fabriczy, 68, appeared in Dandenong Magistrates Court in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon, for an extradition hearing to take him to the Australian Capital Territory to face a murder charge.
Two men forced their way into Irma and Gregor Palasics’ home in McKellar in November 1999, binding and violently assaulting the couple, and then ransacking their house.
Palasics freed himself from his bindings, which included cable ties, duct tape and a telephone cord, and found his wife had died from injuries sustained in an alleged assault by one of the burglars, the court was told.
The 72-year-old woman was found face down in the hallway, with bindings covering her hands, mouth and ankles.
An autopsy later revealed she had suffered a broken nose during the home invasion.
“She’s been unable to expel the blood and she has, in effect, drowned in her own blood,” AFP Detective Sergeant Craig Marriott told the court.
He said after two decades investigating the murder, in 2019 police found Fabriczy’s DNA was allegedly a match to forensic evidence from the crime scene.
Fabriczy was interviewed by police on September 8 this year, where Det Sgt Marriott said he admitted being in the Palasics’ home on the night the woman was killed, but denied assault or murder.
“He admitted being in the premises, he admitted to being there for the purpose of burglary,” the detective said.
“He gave details of that incident that we say would only be known to a person who was involved in the incident, they were not otherwise known publicly.”
He alleged Fabriczy’s claims he did not murder or assault anyone were “false denials”.
Fabriczy was charged with murder this week and the court heard he asked police to “shoot him” during his arrest.
The detective gave evidence to the court as Fabriczy tried to apply for extradition bail.
He said Fabriczy was previously convicted for plotting to hijack $1.6 million worth of cigarettes.
The prosecution opposed bail as they said Fabriczy had plans to move back to his home country of Hungary, and had “significant financial means at his disposal”.
This included $250,000 in the bank, a healthy superannuation balance, a mortgage-free property in Melbourne and land that he had purchased last year in Hungary.
“This is an extremely serious charge with extremely serious consequences and the temptation to flee would be significant,” the prosecutor said.
Further, he said police feared Fabriczy would speak to his co-accused, who remains at-large in the community.
“The danger of interfering with apprehension and prosecution of that person should be paramount to the court’s consideration,” he said.
Fabriczy’s lawyer said his flight risk could be mitigated by conditions including surrendering his passport.
She said he had medical issues and needed to see a GP, and had no prior convictions for failing to answer bail.
Magistrate Jason Ong rejected the bail application and ordered Fabriczy be escorted in AFP custody to the ACT.
He will be flown out of Melbourne on Thursday evening to face the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday.