7 December 2023

Second man arrested for cold case murder of 73-year-old Irma Palasics

| Albert McKnight
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Irma Palasics

Grandmother Irma Palasics was killed in a home invasion on 6 November 1999. Photo: Supplied.

The cold case killing of Irma Palasics, which went unsolved for 24 years, has had another major breakthrough within months after a second person was arrested over her death.

On the night of 6 November 1999, two men forced their way into the McKellar home the 73-year-old shared with her husband, Gregor Palasics.

The elderly couple were bound and assaulted before the intruders ransacked the house, stole cash and jewellery and fled. Mrs Palasics died at the scene from her injuries.

After decades of a police investigation, pleas from her family and a $500,000 reward for information, 68-year-old Steve Fabriczy was arrested at his home in Rowville, Melbourne, in September this year and charged with her murder.

The second man alleged to be involved was still not publicly known at the time.

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However, today (Friday, 8 December), ACT Policing announced another 68-year-old man had been arrested at a home in Endeavour Hills in Melbourne earlier this week.

He faced the Dandenong Magistrates Court and was extradited to the ACT where he will appear to face a charge of murder later today.

Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said this second arrest was the culmination of a significant, complex investigation and was deeply gratifying for all involved.

“This investigation has spanned across several years, with our team of investigators having worked tirelessly to ensure the Palasics family were provided with answers,” he said.

“While the first arrest in September was tremendously satisfying, being able to provide comfort for Irma’s family and the Canberra community with the second and final arrest this week is what all of the investigators worked towards.

“There is no more traumatic experience than having to deal with the senseless murder of a loved one, so to the family of Irma Palasics, we are pleased to provide this outcome.”

man being arrested

Steve Fabriczy, 68, was arrested in Rowville, Melbourne in September. Photo: ACT Policing.

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. The autopsy revealed she essentially “drowned in her own blood”.

Fabriczy has pleaded not guilty to his murder charge. He is also accused of robbing Mr Palasics and stealing $30,000 in cash from him while armed with a solid, cylindrical weapon.

ACT Policing’s Unsolved Homicide team investigate other long-term unsolved matters. Anyone with information on these matters can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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