A jury has found a Cambodian man guilty of the murder of a family friend and former member of the Pol Pot regime, Ranny Yun, in Springvale over three decades ago.
Ms Yun, 27, was stabbed and her throat was cut while she was at home on October 15, 1987.
Meth Mean’s semen was found at the scene in addition to other DNA evidence, the prosecution said during a five-and-a-half week trial in Victoria’s Supreme Court.
In 1985, Mean’s family had been sponsored to come to Australia from war-torn Cambodia by Ms Yun’s husband.
They lived in the same neighbourhood.
During a 2017 police record of interview played to the jury, Mean admitted that he had been to Ms Yun’s house after school on the day she was murdered.
He claimed he only stayed five minutes to have a glass of water.
But when confronted with the forensic evidence — his semen was on Ranny Yun’s body and her tracksuit pants — he admitted he had returned to the house and got sexually excited when he saw her partially naked body.
“I could not remember and also I believe I did not rape her, and I know that I haven’t done anything wrong,” Mean told police.
“What, so there was nothing wrong with ejaculating onto a dead or dying woman,” prosecutor Nanette Rogers asked in her closing argument last week.
“At the very least that response was cruel and callous. But apparently the accused himself saw nothing wrong with his behaviour.”
Defence lawyer Anthony Lewis told the jury the fact Mean masturbated in the presence of the dead body was “clearly revolting” but said Mean was not charged with that, he was charged with murder.
“He may well have been shamed and embarrassed at his conduct. He may have panicked,” Mr Lewis said.
Age, school record questioned
During the trial, the jury heard Ms Yun’s throat had been cut while she was still alive.
In all, there were 20 injuries to the body including stab wounds, bruising, lacerations and abrasions.
She also had a fractured skull and a fractured jaw.
The jury was told Mean claimed he had moved the murder weapon, a knife, from beside Ms Yun’s head and taken it into the kitchen.
But it was found by her body.
The court also heard that when asked by police about a bloodied piece of wood found at the scene, he admitted to moving it outside.
But it was found under a bed in a different room more than a week after the murder.
Ms Rogers told the jury those were among many lies Mean told police.
The prosecution alleged he lied that he was at school that day, referring to records from Westall High school from the time which show an “exit date” of October 12, 1987, indicating he was no longer attending school.
But Mr Lewis, for the defence, said the court had not been able to test those records and the people who wrote them and so it could not be relied upon as evidence.
He also said daily school attendance records had been destroyed.
There was, he said, “a lack of documentation and a lack of witnesses” to prove that.
It is not clear how old Mean was at the time.
He claimed he was 14, but the prosecution contended he was 18 or 19 years old.
The court heard it was common for refugee families to backdate their children’s birthdates in order for them to be eligible to go to school.
Victim in contact with ‘unsavoury characters’
The court heard Ranny Yun worked in a plastics factory but also ran a gambling operation out of her house and often loaned money to her clients.
The defence said it was possible others could have killed her as she came “into contact with a range of unsavoury characters”.
Mr Lewis said Ms Yun’s husband, Kuy Hieang Thong, had a “sexually violent disposition” and had married another woman in Thailand just before Ms Yun’s death.
The court heard evidence from William Grumball that Mr Thong had confessed to killing her more than ten years after the murder, while the men were visiting Thailand.
But the prosecution dismissed Mr Grumball’s evidence, saying he only reported the confession after he had fallen out with Mr Thong over a financial debt.
The jury deliberated for two days before handing down their guilty verdict.
Justice Jane Dixon will sentence Mean at a date to be determined. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-08/woman-found-guilty-of-murder-of-pol-pot-supporter-ranny-yun/11092952