Frank Dimasi appears at Port Adelaide Court for alleged murder of wife Maria

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The elderly man accused of murdering beloved grandmother Maria Dimasi has appeared in court for the first time since her death last Saturday.

Francesco Dimasi, 91, appeared at Port Adelaide Court via videolink from Queen Elizabeth Hospital, flanked by a social worker and a police guard.

The accused murderer has been diagnosed with dementia and he spoke in a frail, wispy voice.

An Italian interpreter sat in the court and translated the hearing before magistrate Jayanthi Pandya for Mr Dimasi.

At one point, Mr Dimasi spoke to the interpreter and the interpreter replied, “non capito”, which is Italian for “I do not understand”.

The interpreter told Ms Pandya at another point in the hearing that he was having trouble understanding Mr Dimasi.

“Sometimes it is not very clear what he says,” the interpreter said.

The police have charged Mr Dimasi with the murder of his wife Maria, 85, at their home of 60 years in Thornton St, Findon, in Adelaide’s west about 11.20pm on Saturday.

At an earlier hearing on Monday, the court was told Mr Dimasi had dialled triple-0 after the alleged murder and said he had killed his wife.

Police officers arrived on scene within six minutes and found Mr Dimasi sitting in the kitchen with blood on his clothing, arms and hands, the court was told.

Officers searched the house and found Mrs Dimasi with significant wounds to her head and upper body.

While police were speaking to Mr Dimasi, the court was told the elderly man drifted in and out of consciousness and a blood sample taken from him later at the hospital revealed a blood-alcohol reading of 0.36.

The prosecution told the court they would allege Mr Dimasi said he was “sorry” he killed his wife and she “deserved it”.

At Friday’s hearing, Mr Dimasi’s defence lawyer Tyson Leung requested a special aspects report to drill further into Mr Dimasi’s level of dementia, his physical health and his risk to the community.

The prosecution said they supported the request but remained opposed to bail in all forms.

Ms Pandya ordered the report and a mental health report and listed the matter for another hearing on January 8, 2024.

“No bail application made at this time,” the magistrate said.

Mr Dimasi will remain in custody in hospital under an in-treatment order.

The Dimasi family owns the community meal service Nonna’s Cucina. They taught people how to cook and made meals for those in need.

Their grandson visited the couple’s home on Sunday afternoon.

He buried his face in his hands as he cried and declined to speak to media.

Premier Peter Malinauskas paid tribute to Mrs Dimasi during a press conference on Sunday, saying she was a “good person who has lost their life in tragic circumstances”.

“On a personal level, Maria Dimasi was a very significant contributor to our state, particularly in the western suburbs Italian community,” he said.

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