MURDER TRIAL

Accused enters not guilty plea after being committed to stand trial on murder charge

WARNING: Readers may find this story distressing. If you are distressed contact: • Lifeline – www.lifeline.org.au/phone 13 11 14 OR Kids Help Line – www.kidshelpline.com.au/phone 1800 551 800.

MICHAEL Cardamone is to stand trial in the Victorian Supreme Court for the murder early last year of his neighbour Karen Chetcuti.

Magistrate John Murphy yesterday afternoon told a packed Wangaratta court that it was clear to him from evidence presented in a two-day committal hearing that a jury could convict Cardamone, 49, for the January 2016 murder of the 49-year-old mother of two, Rural City of Wangaratta employee and former Whorouly hotelier.

Those in the court – including Ms Chetcuti’s estranged husband, Tony, her sister Leny Verbunt and Wangaratta justice reform campaigner Carol Roadknight – heard shocking testimony about the prosecution’s reconstruction of the last days of Ms Chetcuti’s life.

Karen Chetcuti

It was alleged that Cardamone had driven to Ms Chetcuti’s Whorouly property, which adjoined the small farm where he lived, at about 9.20pm on January 12.

Victorian crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert QC told the court that sometime during the next 70 minutes – in a place which has not been identified – her assailant assaulted, incapacitated and tranquilised Ms Chetcuti and bound her by the wrists and ankles using cable ties, duct tape and rope.

He at some time afterwards murdered his victim and devised what Mr Silbert described as an “elaborate charade” in an attempt to construct an “innocent disappearance”.

The crown alleged that Cardamone in the early hours of January 14 had taken and destroyed Ms Chetcuti’s red Citroen sedan on Halls Road above Myrtleford by dousing it with petrol and setting it alight.

Ms Chetcuti’s remains – which the crown said showed distressing injuries – were found near Croppers Creek track west of Lake Buffalo on January 18.

But Melbourne barrister Patrick Tehan QC – for Cardamone – sought to call into question the strength of evidence against his client by subjecting police informant Sergeant Jason Wallace to a lengthy cross-examination of the testimony tendered by the crown.

Full coverage of this story can be read in today’s Wangaratta Chronicle.

This post is part of the thread: Karen Chetcuti murder investigation – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

The full version of this story can be read in the print edition of the Wangaratta Chronicle of Friday, 10 March, 2017 Click here to access current digital edition

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