Melville Burglary Turns Violent

Family friend Ivan (surname withheld) addresses media on behalf of Valeria Fermendjin’s daughter Violeta and her husband, also named Ivan.
Family friend Ivan (surname withheld) addresses media on behalf of Valeria Fermendjin’s daughter Violeta and her husband, also named Ivan.

POLICE believe Melville woman Valeria Fermendjin, found dead in her Leach Highway home last Thursday, was murdered during the course of a burglary on the morning of Tuesday, January 5.

The 70-year-old grandmother ran an ironing business from her home and collected washing from a client that morning, returning at or shortly after 7.30am.

Major Crime Squad Detective Inspector Mark Fyfe said police believed at that point Mrs Fermendjin disturbed one or more people robbing her house.

“When Mrs Fermendjin came home she took the washing into the house,” he said.

“Due to her frail nature we know it would have taken her some time to walk up the steps and into the house carrying washing baskets.

“Those baskets were located within the house away from where (her body) was located so therefore we know that she had gone into the house, walked past certain rooms and then had come back.”

Det-Insp. Fyfe said there was no sign of forced entry into the home but the house might have been left unlocked when Mrs Fermendjin left that morning.

“If her door was unlocked before she left (the offenders) may have been there already,” he said.

“If it was unlocked when she came home they may well have followed her, in but I just don’t know.”

Mrs Fermendjin was killed with an object located on her property which was left at the scene.

Det-Insp. Fyfe described her injuries as “not pleasant”.

Her body was discovered two days later by her daughter Violeta, who lives on the same block with her husband and twin 10-year-old sons.

Det-Insp. Fyfe believed the crime was opportunistic rather than premeditated and there was nothing to indicate Mrs Fermendjin had been targeted because of her age.

“One thing I’m confident in saying is that I don’t think she was targeted because of who she is or because she is 70 years of age and lived alone,” he said.

“I believe it was opportunistic in nature and for that reason and that reason alone, I don’t wish to alarm pensioners who live alone. I don’t think she was targeted for that reason.”

Close family friend Ivan, who did not give his last name, described Mrs Fermendjin as a beautiful lady with the best smile.

He said her murder was not the first tragedy to strike the family.

“She lost her husband at a young age, which makes it even more of a tragedy,” he said.

“Violeta was 17 at the time and it was a tragic accident.

“Nobody deserves this. She always had a big smile on her face and I loved talking to her. It’s just sickening.”

Ivan said the family was extremely close, with Mrs Fermendjin often babysitting her twin grandsons.

He appealed to the person or persons that committed the murder to turn themselves in to police.

“There must be an ounce of humanity left in you,” he said.

“I just can’t comprehend it to be honest – how do you sleep at night basically? You must have a conscience.”

Police have CCTV from nearby homes and businesses which they will analyse this week.

Anyone who has information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at www.crimestopperswa.com.au.