A 91-year-old great-grandfather has been arrested and charged with her murder after his wife was found dead at their home in Adelaide’s Western suburbs.
Police prosecutors have told a court Frank Dimasi, 91, was found at the couple’s home after he called triple-0 having admitted to having an argument with his wife and subsequently killing her. He was allegedly found intoxicated and covered in blood.
Police allege they located the body of his wife, Maria Dimasi, 85, which had sustained several injuries and was also surrounded in blood.
Mr Dimasi was arrested at the scene and was then taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was treated for self-inflicted injuries under police watch.
Appearing in front of the Port Adelaide Magistrate’s Court on Monday via video link, Mr Dimasi was charged with his wife’s murder.
“[Mr Dimasi] said he was sorry that he killed his wife and that she deserved it,” a police prosecutor told the court.
“At the time of the incident his blood alcohol was […] more than four times the legal limit.”
During the hearing, defence counsel for Mr Dimasi said his client may have dementia, had been unconscious for the last few hours and was unable to answer any questions.
Mrs Dimasi was well-known in Adelaide’s Italian community for her cooking, including volunteering efforts to make meals for vulnerable people.
It was said that Mrs Dimasi returned home from a community event on Friday night, the night before her alleged murder.
South Australian Police (SAPOL) said an 85-year-old was found dead inside the couple’s Findon home just before midnight on Saturday after reports of an incident at the address.
The State’s newspaper The Advertiser alleges he may be experiencing symptoms of dementia.
Affectionately known as “Nonna Maria” to locals, Mrs Dimasi was a valued volunteer at Nonna’s Cucina, a community meal service.
Nonna’s Cucina President Rebecca Staltari said Mrs Dimasi was a passionate and dedicated supporter of the organisation and is “forever grateful” for her time, energy, friendship and love given for so many years.
“Nonna Maria is our Executive Chef Stefan’s Nonna and also became everyone else’s Nonna in our community. She will be remembered for her big smile and generosity,” Ms Staltari wrote on Facebook.
South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas also spoke of Ms Dimasi’s death, describing her as a “very significant contributor” to the State.
“Mrs Dimasi was a generous, warm individual,” he said on Sunday.
The Dimasi family has not yet commented on the incident.
New reports claim friends and neighbours said Mrs Dimasi used a mobility scooter but was otherwise in good health and described Mr Dimasi as ‘frail’, requiring a walking frame to walk.
ABC News alleges a neighbour said he became aware that something had happened when police spoke to him late Saturday night.
Neighbour Kamal Kumar told 9News he frequently interacted with the couple in the street.
Fellow Frank Tripoli said he had known the couple for years and was “very sad”.
“She always looked after him, all the time,” Mr Tripoli also told 9News.
SAPOL are still investigating what happened the night of the murder.
On Monday, Magistrate Pandya Jayanthi adjourned the case to the end of the week to provide time for Mr Dimasi to undergo a psychiatric assessment.