THE ex-husband of a woman whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase in Perth’s Swan River claims his daughter was the killer and he only helped dump the body, but she alleges she was the accessory to murder.
Two fishermen found the suitcase, containing the body of 58-year-old Annabelle Chen and distinctive ceramic tiles, floating on the river in East Fremantle on July 2, 2016.
She had suffered about 25 blunt force injuries to her head and had a fractured skull, the WA Supreme Court heard on Monday.
Prosecutor Justin Whalley said there was no motive established in the circumstantial case and it was not exactly known when an intention to murder Ms Chen was formed or who played each role in the crime.
But he said Ah Ping Ban, 65, and his daughter Tiffany Yiting Wan, 25, each gave the same false version of events to police and their “orchestrated litany of lies” were made to cover up their involvement.
Wan continued to message her mother afterwards in an attempt to conceal the murder and it showed she had no sense of remorse, Mr Whalley said.
“They acted together in the murder of Annabelle Chen,” he said.
“Their individual involvement in the cover up was of such a nature and such a degree that the only reasonable inference to be drawn from it was that each was responsible.”
The court heard there was blood in Ms Chen’s Mosman Park home and she had traces of alcohol in her system.
Mr Whalley said a pair of glasses found in the river were similar to those worn by Ban and there was also phone cell tower data evidence.
He said Wan also transferred a total of $135,000 in two instalments into her father’s bank account after her mother’s death.
Ban’s defence counsel David Brustman told the jury his client arrived in Perth from Singapore on June 30 and was “confronted with a horrible scenario”.
Mr Brustman said Ms Chen was killed during an altercation with her daughter at the victim’s home days earlier.
Ban did not know whether it was an accident, but he helped dispose of the body, the lawyer said.
“This is no more than a parent trying to protect his or her own child, though in an utterly misguided way,” he said.
Wan shook her head and looked over at her father during Mr Brustman’s opening address.
The court heard Ban would testify during the trial.
Wan’s defence counsel Simon Freitag told the jury Ms Chen was “essentially battered to death” and they must decide who was responsible for killing her.
Mr Freitag admitted Wan was guilty of being an accessory and had lied to police.
“Was she lying to protect herself … or was she lying to protect Mr Ban for something he had done?”
The trial is scheduled for four weeks.