A man charged with the murder and robbery of a woman in her
Sydney waterfront home told police he was in the mansion when
three armed intruders stormed in.
Telling him "Don't worry, we are not here for you", he said
the men ordered him to "get her".
So Tony Halloun grabbed the 65-year-old Shahnaz Qidwai by the
hair and dragged her, "kicking and screaming".
The last time he saw her, she had tears streaming down her
face and a gun to her head.
"She was in fear for her life," he said.
Halloun said he went to his car, smoked a cigarette and
waited to see if the men came out. About 40 minutes later he
left the Henley property.
On the opening day of his trial, the Supreme Court heard the
labourer contacted police a year after he was charged with
the crime and said he had "more information" about that fatal
day on June 15, 2012.
It was one of three inconsistent versions of events that the
financially-stressed Halloun gave after Mrs Qidwai was bashed
to death inside her home, crown prosecutor Giles Tabuteau
told the jury yesterday.
Halloun, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder, had been
hired to concrete Mrs Qidwai's driveway and had arrived at
the house at about 7.40 that morning.
Her husband Dr Khalid Qidwai left to go to his Croydon
surgery about 9am and she was at home alone.
When the couple's youngest daughter Maha, 28, came home at
2pm, she found her mother on the floor near her bed with her
face and mouth covered in blood and bruises. She was cold to
Halloun had left more than two hours earlier.
The day before Mrs Qidwai's death Halloun went to Dr Qidwai's
surgery and asked him for $3500, Mr Tabuteau said.
When Dr Qidwai refused, saying he would pay once the driveway
was done, Halloun allegedly became aggressive, replying: "I
will win in the end".
At the time of Mrs Qidwai's death, the court heard she had
been organising her husband's staff pay and had about $3,400
in envelopes in the home.
"The crown case is that the money was taken at the time of or
moments after the attack on Mrs Qidwai and that it was the
accused who took that money," Mr Tabuteau said.
The crown says Halloun's business was $97,000 in debt.
After police questioned him about the murder, Mr Tabuteau
said he fabricated three different versions of events in
order to explain DNA and crime scene evidence.
But Halloun's barrister Peter Lange questioned that Halloun's
financial difficulties provided a motive.
"What does common sense tell you about a robbery worth $2000
to $4000? ... is that a motive to kill the wife of your
employer?" he said.
The trial continues.