Mango tin murder charge sensationally dropped

A former McDonald’s worker accused of bashing a widower to death with a tin of mangoes and a Virgin Mary statue had the case against her sensationally dropped.

Katia Pyliotis was found guilty of murder in 2018 following her fourth trial but was later acquitted in the Court of Appeal and ordered to face a retrial.

The 39-year-old was due to face a fifth trial accused of the murder of widower Elia Abdelmessih, who was found bludgeoned to death at his Kew East home in 2005.

A dented tin of mangoes and a broken Virgin Mary statue were found near the 69-year-old’s body.

But Prosecutor Angela Ellis told the Supreme Court on Monday the charge of murder had been discontinued.

“It’s a very sensible suggestion given the way the evidence had been coming out,” Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said.

The move comes after a former homicide detective was quizzed about three confessions another woman – Susan Reddie – made about the murder.

The widower paid Ms Reddie for sex and she died of natural causes in 2012. She was never charged in relation to the murder.

The detective said she recanted her claims but a police diary unearthed last year found evidence of more confessions.

The judge said last year she had serious doubts about the officer’s credibility.

“I may well find that he’s an outright liar,” Justice Hollingworth said during the hearing last year.

Ms Pyliotis had spent four years behind bars until she was granted bail last year following the appeal decision.

She was working at McDonald’s where the widower was a regular customer in 2005 and had known him.

Her conviction was overturned with the Court of Appeal critical about comments trial judge Justice Paul Coghlan made about the defence argument including labelling some questions “boring”.

In a statement, the Director of Public Prosecutions said the relevant material and whether it was in the public interest to proceed with another trial had been reviewed.

“After careful consideration, the DPP determined that it was appropriate to discontinue the prosecution,” the DPP said.

Her lawyers now want the state to cover her legal costs since the Court of Appeal decision.

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