Murder victimYasmin Sinodinos. Picture: Supplied by Ms Sinodinos’ family.
Source: News Limited
A Supreme Court jury was today told Sinodinos’ killer bashed her so many times, and with such severity, that forensic examiners found no blood remaining in her body.
Jurors were also told Ms Sinodinos, then 25, had sustained fractures to the thickest parts of her skull — injuries which, prosecutors said, ruled out any crime other than murder.
Timo Hekki Pasanen, 43, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Sinodinos in December 1991.
Opening the trial, prosecutor Sandi McDonald, SC, said the victim and her alleged murderer did not move in the same circles.
“It’s not the prosecution case that this was a falling-out between friends or a relationship turned sour, quite the contrary,” she said.
“It’s the prosecution case that Ms Sinodinos and the accused lived very different lives, that they existed in different worlds.
“The accused was in university … he was interested in computers … he mixed with a limited social circle and played role-playing games with friends … he was a bit of a night-owl.
“Ms Sinodinos was a single mother traumatised by her own demons … she was a drug addict, and her drug of choice was heroin.”
Ms McDonald said that, prior to December 15, 1991, Ms Sinodinos travelled from Mt Gambier to Adelaide to deal with a family inheritance matter.
She saw several friends and acquaintances over that period, but was last seen alive by a police officer and a long-time friend.
Ms McDonald said police were called to a Broadview address where Ms Sinodinos was attempting to gain entry — her demeanour was described as “vague and confused”.
Unable to identify her, and having determined she was not suffering from a mental illness, the police allowed her to leave.
Ms McDonald said Ms Sinodinos then went to a friend’s home where she spent 45 minutes “just talking nonsense” before she was picked up by a man she called “Paul”.
“She got into a silver Sigma — at the time, the accused drove a Sigma,” she said.
She said the next time anyone saw Ms Sinodinos was after she had been murdered.
“On the afternoon of 18 December, a young man and his girlfriend went for a drive around the Tea Tree Gully area … off the road and into an area of scrub,” she said.
“There was a plastic garbage bin that looked out of place … it had been placed upside-down.
“Near the bin were a pair of what were found to be female brown leather-type sandals (and) what appeared to be a pile of garden debris.
“Amongst that, they saw a human hand — that hand was the hand of Yasmin Sinodinos, (who) had been beaten to death.”
Ms McDonald said forensic examiners found it “pretty straightforward” to determine her cause of death.
“She suffered massive injuries and had been repeatedly bashed with such force that there were extensive fractures to the thickest parts of her skull,” she said.
“There was no blood left in her body at the time of post-mortem (examination) … from the number and nature of her injuries, she would have bled profusely.”
She said little blood was found at the scene, making it likely Ms Sinodinos had been murdered somewhere else and dumped in the area of scrub.
Her white jacket was found over her face while a length of calico was around her mouth — not as a gag but seemingly “to staunch some bleeding”.
Ms McDonald said forensic samples were taken from semen found in Ms Sinodinos’ body and “contact DNA” found inside the knot in the calico.
She said testing showed the semen had been deposited in either the 17 hours prior to her death, or the 17 hours following.
“It matched (and) in some samples, it was greater than 100 billion times more likely that Pasanen had contributed the DNA as if it was contributed by someone else,” she said.
Greg Mead, SC, for Pasanen, told jurors there would be no dispute that his client had sex with Ms Sinodinos prior to her death.
“What is in dispute is that he was involved, in any way, in the tragic death of Ms Sinodinos,” he said.
“By his plea of not guilty, he completely denies the prosecution’s claim that he killed Ms Sinodinos, and that’s the issue at trial.
“The accused says he did not kill her and was not involved in her death.”
The trial, before Justice Anne Bampton and a jury of eight men and four women, is expected to last 10 days.