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Lin family killer used a key to their house, court told

The violent murder of five members of the Lin family was motivated by ‘‘intense bitterness and hatred’’ and carried out by an assailant familiar with the layout of their North Epping home, a jury has heard.

Lian Bin ‘‘Robert’’ Xie is accused of murdering Min Lin, 45, Lin’s wife, Yun Li Lin, 44, their sons Henry, 12 and Terry, 9 and Ms Lin’s sister, Yun Bin ‘‘Irene’’ Lin, 39.

Mr Xie, 50, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of murder. He is married to Kathy Lin, who is Mr Lin’s sister.

In his opening address in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday, Senior Crown Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, QC said the ‘‘horrendous injuries’’ inflicted on the three adults and the degree of damage to their faces shows ‘‘this was a crime motivated by intense bitterness and hatred’’.

The three adults were killed in their beds while they were asleep or just awoken, but there was ‘‘furious struggle’’ with the two boys in their bedroom, the forensic evidence shows.

The assailant used a hammer-like object attached to his wrist by a rope. The victims were killed by blows to the head and four of the five were also asphyxiated.


Nothing was stolen, including $1400 in cash in Min’s wallet, and none of the five victims had been sexually assaulted, Mr Tedeschi said.

The power had been switched off and the killer did not force his way in but used a key. He was able to navigate his way around the house in darkness, knew which victims slept in which bedroom and didn’t even go to the bedroom usually occupied by another female because he knew she was away.

Min, known as Norman, and Yun Li, known as Lily owned and ran a local newsagency in Epping called the Epping Central Newsagency. Irene was a student at Macquarie University.

They were killed in the early hours of July 18, 2009.

Mr Tedeschi told the jury of 15 that there was no issue that the five members of the Lin family were killed and that their killer intended to cause their deaths.

‘‘The real issue for you in this trial is has the Crown satisfied you beyond reasonable doubt that it was the accused Robert Xie that was the person who murdered these five people,’’ Mr Tedeschi said.

He said the case of murder against Robert Xie is like a ‘‘jigsaw puzzle’’ with each piece of evidence fitting together to give the whole picture.

Mr Xie was a ear nose and throat specialist in his native China before leaving the medical profession and working as a factory manager.

He migrated to Australia in 2002 and ran a restaurant in Melbourne until 2005 when he moved to Sydney with his wife.

Mr Xie and Kathy didn’t work once they moved to Sydney.

On most Friday evenings Kathy and Min’s parents, Yang Fei Lin and Feng Qing Zhu, had dinner with their children, in-laws and and grandchildren at their Merrylands home. On the night before the murders, Lily did not attend.

Fifteen jurors, rather than the usual 12, have been empanelled because the unusual length of the trial creates a risk that some jurors will be unable to continue until the end of the trial.

But only 12 jurors, including the foreperson and another 11 selected by a ballot, will retire to reach a verdict.

A trial began earlier this year but it did not go ahead.

The opening address continues.