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Vasyli Trial Told Couple Had Fight The Night Before Murder

Donna Vasyli

Donna Vasyli

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

DONNA Vasyli reportedly told a policeman she and her husband had had an argument the night before he was found dead in their Old Fort Bay home, a Supreme Court jury heard yesterday.

Constable Jermaine Knowles told the sixth day of the Australian’s high-profile murder trial that he saw Philip Vasyli, a millionaire podiatrist, lying on the floor in blood in the guest house kitchen and that when he went to the main house found Vasyli “lying in the bed wrapped in sheets, crying and shaking”.

He said Vasyli told him that she and her husband “had a fight that night” before arresting her for murder.

Vasyli, 55, denies killing her husband at their home on Ocean Drive.

In yesterday’s proceedings before Acting Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs, Con Knowles, of the police force’s K-9 unit, told the court he had received information from the police control room that led him to the home of 59-year-old Philip Vasyli on March 24.

Con Knowles testified that around 7:45am, “I received information from the police control room. I was in the Oakes Field area and I proceeded to Old Fort Bay.”

Con Knowles said he was greeted at the gated community in western New Providence by security guards, who took him to a beige coloured residence on Ocean Drive.

“Quinton de Graaf escorted me to a guest house on the premises where I noticed blood on the wall, the floor, the table and I also noticed a black handled knife with what appeared to be blood,” he said.

Prosecutor Neil Braithwaite asked if he did anything after this.

“I looked through the kitchen door and I noticed a male lying on the floor in what appeared to be blood,” Con Knowles said, adding that he then contacted the control room for emergency medical services personnel.

“I asked Quinton de Graaf for the name of the person on the ground. He told me Philip Vasyli and said he (Phil) was residing with his wife who was in the main house at the time,” the jury heard.

Con Knowles said Mr de Graaf escorted him to the main house on the compound and on going upstairs, “I noticed a female lying in the bed wrapped in sheets crying and shaking”.

“I identified myself as a police officer and the lady stated that her and her husband had a fight that night,” Con Knowles said.

“What, if anything, did you do next?” the prosecutor asked.

“I cautioned and arrested her for murder,” the constable answered.

Con Knowles said another woman then came into the bedroom, identified herself as her daughter, Lauren Vasyli, and “whispered into Mrs Vasyli’s ears but she said nothing afterwards”.

“I didn’t hear what she said,” the officer said, continuing that he further cautioned the accused in reference to the matter.

“Do you see the person in this room you saw that day?” the prosecutor asked.

The constable said he did before pointing to Mrs Vasyli, who was seated in the prisoner’s dock behind one of her lawyers, Murrio Ducille.

In cross-examination, Vasyli’s other lawyer, Elliot Lockhart, QC, asked the officer if he asked “any questions of Donna Vasyli concerning any fight?”

Con Knowles said he did not.

“Did you ask her anything about any murder for which you arrested her?” “No, sir,” the officer answered.

“I suggest to you that at no point she stated to you she had a fight with her husband,” Mr Lockhart said.

Con Knowles said Vasyli did say this and when probed on the time that she gave him this information, he said he could not recall.

“You wrote that down?” the lawyer asked.

Con Knowles said he wrote it on a scrap of paper but had discarded it.

“You threw it away?”

“Yes, upon completion of my report,” the witness answered.

“Where did you get the scrap of paper?” Mr Lockhart asked. Con Knowles said he took it from the police vehicle in which he came to the scene.

“The person who came into the room, how was that person dressed?” Mr Lockhart asked. The officer said he could not recall.

“Did you have a police notebook with you?” the lawyer asked. Con Knowles said he did not have one at the time.

“I suggest to you it’s all false, it never happened!” Mr Lockhart said.

“Yes it did,” the witness replied.

“That scrap of paper, why did you throw it away?” the lawyer probed.

“Everything on it is contained in my report,” the witness answered.

“Did you write anything at all in your government (issued) diary?” Mr Lockhart asked. Con Knowles said he could get the diary for the court’s viewing.

“What was the accused wearing?” Mr Lockhart asked. The witness said he could not see because “she was underneath the blanket crying”.

“I suggest you had absolutely no words with Donna Vasyli in that house,” the lawyer said. Con Knowles disagreed.

“I suggest to you, you concocted this story, it never happened, you made it up!” Mr Lockhart said. Knowles, again, disagreed.

“Having 13 years experience, you took no notes for a homicide you were dealing with?” the lawyer asked.

Con Knowles maintained that “what I put on the scrap piece of paper is what I put in my report. Nothing changed, nothing different, nothing added,” the witness stressed.

The trial resumes today at 10am.

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