2 November 2023

Irma Palasics' alleged murderer also accused of $30,000 armed robbery

| Albert McKnight
man being arrested and a picture of Irma Palasics

Steve Fabriczy was arrested by police in Melbourne (left) and charged with the murder of Irma Palasics. Photos: ACT Policing, Supplied.

The man arrested over the cold case murder of Irma Palasics has now also been charged with assaulting her husband and stealing $30,000 cash from him.

The 73-year-old died on 6 November 1999 after two masked intruders forced their way into the McKellar home she shared with her husband, Gregor Palasics, and assaulted them.

The case went cold for years before Steve Fabriczy, a 68-year-old from Rowville in Melbourne, was arrested in September, then extradited to the ACT and charged with killing her.

In the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (2 November), he appeared over audio-visual link from custody and his lawyer, Dr Jan de Bruin from Legal Aid, said he would enter a not guilty plea to his murder charge.

He was handed fresh charges, accusing him of using force to rob Mr Palasics and stealing $30,000 in cash from him while armed with a 30 to 50 cm long solid, cylindrical weapon on 6 November 1999.

He is also accused of assaulting and unlawfully confining Mr Palasics on the same date as well as burglarising the couple’s home.

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The fresh charges were single counts of armed robbery, assault, unlawful confinement and two counts of burglary.

When Magistrate Robert Cook asked whether Mr Fabriczy understood the charges, he answered “Yes sir” for each of them, except for the armed robbery, for which he replied, “Sort of”.

He did not enter pleas to these charges.

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Anthony Williamson SC asked for a 12-week adjournment in the matter, saying as it featured a charge of murder as well as an over 20-year investigation, there was a tremendous amount of documents involved.

Magistrate Cook said he understood why the longer adjournment period was sought so he listed the matter for late January 2024, noted the not guilty plea to the murder charge and remanded Fabriczy in custody.

“No questions, sir,” Fabriczy said when asked if he had any. Members of the Palasics family were in the courtroom on the day.

A court has already heard that on 6 November 1999, two masked intruders had forced their way into the Palasics’ home.

The elderly couple was violently assaulted by the men, who demanded the location of money and valuables hidden in the house.

When the couple was not forthcoming, they were bound with cable ties, duct tape and a telephone cord, and their house was ransacked.

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Mr Palasics, who had been in and out of consciousness, was able to free himself after about an hour and found his wife in the hallway, still with bindings over her hands, ankles and mouth.

He removed the bindings, but she died. She had suffered a broken nose, and as the bindings were over her mouth, she couldn’t expel the blood so, in effect, she “drowned in her own blood”.

It is alleged Fabriczy was linked to the home invasion via DNA and admitted that he had been on the premises for a burglary.

Police said the second alleged offender was yet to be identified.

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