A woman attacked and killed her daughter-in-law with a hammer before placing the body in a black travel bag and dumping it in a creek, a court has heard.
Mother-of-three Huajiao Zhuang, 50, has pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court to murdering Dan ''Selina'' Lin, 21, on May 3, 2012, at Bundoora.
In his opening address to the jury, Crown prosecutor Peter Kidd, SC, said Ms Lin had met Mrs Zhuang’s son, Peter, at a year 12 formal before they married on February 26, 2010, after Ms Lin’s family in China had given permission for the couple to wed.
They had a son, Alfred, who was two years old when Ms Lin was allegedly murdered.
Mr Kidd said the relationship between Mrs Zhuang and Ms Lin had initially been fine, but it soon deteriorated.
Mrs Zhuang allegedly complained that Ms Lin did not show her or her family enough respect. She was also dissatisfied with Ms Lin’s attitude towards her. She complained that the family lived too far away, and about a lack of contact with her grandson. She said Peter should never have married Ms Lin.
The prosecutor said a witness claimed Mrs Zhuang once asked Alfred, ''How would you like to change your mother?''
Mr Kidd told the jury it would be alleged that Mrs Zhuang once slapped Ms Lin across the face and told another witness Peter had the chance to marry another girl in China and receive several hundreds of thousands of dollars from her family because he had a permanent visa in Australia.
Mrs Zhuang allegedly claimed Peter was getting nothing from his marriage to Ms Lin.
Mr Kidd said Mrs Zhuang assaulted Ms Lin on July 20, 2011, during an argument in the car, when she suddenly cut Ms Lin’s hair with a pair of scissors.
When Peter stopped the car and told Ms Lin to run, she fled to a nearby house, where she was found shaking and crying on the front verandah.
Mrs Zhuang had earlier allegedly confronted Ms Lin and asked, ''Do you believe I can kill you?''
The prosecutor said Mrs Zhuang was at Ms Lin’s home on May 3, 2012, when she repeatedly struck her daughter-in-law with a hammer in the bathroom after an argument.
Ms Lin died from repeated blunt-force trauma to the head.
Mrs Zhuang put Ms Lin’s body in a large black travel bag before placing it inside a green wheelie bin, which she left in the backyard, Mr Kidd said.
About 3.50pm that day, one of the tenants at the Bundoora house came home and allegedly found Mrs Zhuang wiping the floor with a blue towel before he left to go to soccer training.
Mr Kidd said that once Mrs Zhuang finished cleaning blood from the laundry and bathroom, she put Alfred to bed and rang one of her two daughters to pick her up before she walked to nearby shops.
Alfred was left home alone with the house in darkness and the doors locked.
The prosecutor said Peter rang Ms Lin’s mobile phone but there was no answer.
Mrs Zhuang later woke at about 2am on May 4 and asked her daughter to drive her to Ms Lin’s Bundoora home because she had left something there.
Mr Kidd said Mrs Zhuang then retrieved the wheelie bin and rolled it about 700 metres down several streets to the Darebin Creek area. She allegedly tipped Ms Lin’s body, which was still inside the travel bag, into the creek before returning to the car where her daughter was waiting.
Mr Kidd said Mrs Zhuang then went to bed but later that morning talked to her two daughters who drove her to Preston police station where she confessed to killing Ms Lin.
Mrs Zhuang claimed she had been trying to protect herself and her grandson from Ms Lin whom she feared was going to kill them.
She told police she had gone to Ms Lin’s home to see her grandson but Ms Lin told her to go away.
Mrs Zhuang said that once she was inside the house the pair argued over how Ms Lin had filled the bath with too much water and it was too hot to give Alfred a bath.
Mrs Zhuang claimed Ms Lin wanted to assault her with the hammer but she grabbed it from her and hit her on the head with it.
She could not remember how many times she hit Ms Lin with the hammer.
Mr Kidd said Mrs Zhuang told police Ms Lin either fell or was pushed into the bath before she took Alfred outside to another room. When Mrs Zhuang returned to the bathroom, Ms Lin was dead.
The trial, before Justice Stephen Kaye, continues.