Melbourne: Man lawyers say is real killer of woman says he heard details of death by door camera

Man who lawyers say is the real killer of elderly woman found slain in her home claims he heard police details about how she died through a doorbell camera – as her son stands trial for her murder

  • Lawyer for accused killer told jurors he believes a family friend is the real killer 
  • Thomas Bednar is standing trial accused of murdering his mother in May 2021 
  • Holocaust survivor Judy Bednar, 78, was found dead in her bedroom on May 15

A man lawyers say is the real killer of a Melbourne mum claims he knew details of where her body was found because he heard police talking about it on a doorbell camera.

Judy Bednar’s son, Thomas Bednar, is standing trial accused of murdering the 78-year-old in her Chelsea home in May 2021.

Home security video from the scene showed a man in a hazmat suit fleeing Holocaust survivor Mrs Bednar’s home. 

But her son’s barrister, John Desmond, told jurors he believes the real killer is family friend Danny Cohen and that he framed Bednar, 54.

Holocaust survivor Judy Bednar (pictured) was found dead in her home in May 2021. Her son Thomas has been charged with her alleged murder

Holocaust survivor Judy Bednar (pictured) was found dead in her home in May 2021. Her son Thomas has been charged with her alleged murder

Mr Cohen is giving evidence in the Victorian Supreme Court, where he has revealed he knew details of his friend’s murder through conversations overheard between police officers on a Ring doorbell.

He had access to Mrs Bednar’s security camera and had a conversation with officers who discovered her body during a welfare check.

She was naked and lying between the bed and a wardrobe.

Mr Cohen discussed the news in a message exchange with a friend.

When the friend asked if her body had been found, Mr Cohen replied: ‘Of course. She was in bed.’

Mr Desmond grilled Mr Cohen, who described himself as a half-brother or step-brother to Bednar, about how he learned that level of detail.

‘There’s a video of two members of the police talking about that there is a lot of blood in the bedroom and something about the bed, and that was clearly heard on the Ring doorbell,’ Mr Cohen said.

He admitted he didn’t tell police he knew that when he was interviewed and gave a formal witness statement to police later that night, on May 15, 2021.

‘That came from police, why should I repeat it?’ he told jurors.

Mr Cohen’s evidence began on Wednesday, when he told Mr Desmond he had staked out Bednar’s home after Mrs Bednar’s body was discovered.

He admitted he had left that information out of an earlier timeline of his movements that day, claiming it was irrelevant because nothing had happened.

Chilling home security video from the scene showed a man in a hazmat suit (pictured) fleeing Mrs Bednar's home

Chilling home security video from the scene showed a man in a hazmat suit (pictured) fleeing Mrs Bednar’s home

‘My family was fearing for safety. I watched where Tommy was going because they hadn’t arrested Tommy yet,’ he said.

‘Why would I be staking his house out if I was part of the murder.’

Mr Desmond told jurors in this opening statement that Mr Cohen was a plausible alternative suspect in the murder.

Prosecutor Mark Rochford KC alleged Bednar killed his mother because he blamed her for a series of involuntary mental health admissions.

The relationship between the mother and son broke down when Bednar was young. He went to live with a foster family at 15.

He said Bednar had sent abusive text messages to her in the year before his death, including telling her ‘it won’t be long until the sharks eat your flesh’.

Thomas Bednar (pictured) is charged with the murder of his 78-year-old mother after her body was found inside her Chelsea home

Thomas Bednar (pictured) is charged with the murder of his 78-year-old mother after her body was found inside her Chelsea home

Chilling home security video from the scene showed a man in a hazmat suit fleeing Mrs Bednar’s home. 

The footage showed an unidentified man, covered in a head-to-toe white suit, walking away from Ms Bednar’s front door on Thursday, May 13 – inside the timeframe police nominated as to when the murder happened. 

Locals became concerned about Ms Bednar’s welfare when they hadn’t seen her in several days.

Her body was discovered in her home at 10.30am on Saturday, May 15.

Mrs Bednar grew up in Hungary but fled during World War II to escape the Nazi regime. 

Her father and other family members had been imprisoned in concentration camps. 

The trial is continuing.

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