McDonalds worker Katia Pyliotis, 37, who bludgeoned customer Elia Abdelmessih, 69, in his own home, was sentenced to a 19-year jail term.

Abdelmessih was found in the entry foyer of his Kew East home in 2005 with his face down in a bowl of bloody fluid. He was surrounded by a number of bloodstained items, including a broken statue of the Virgin Mary and a dented tin of mangoes.

Motives for the attack are unclear. Victorian Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan described Mr Abdelmessih’s behaviour as “unusual and to a degree over-friendly” but there was no evidence that there had been any interactions that were out of the ordinary. Despite the brutal attack that was likely triggered by some event, it did not appear to be premeditated.

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Pyliotis, aged 23 at the time of the crime, left for South Australia the following year and lived there undetected for 11 years. She was captured after her DNA was taken following her involvement in a minor criminal matter. Police matched it to the DNA collected from parts of Abdelmessih’s home.

Pyliotis denied involvement in the crime, however admitted to her mother in a phone call from prison that she was at his house on the day he was killed. She did not explain why she was at his house.

Pyliotis will serve a minimum of 15 years and six months.

Outside court, Abdelmessih’s goddaughter Susan Ayad said that the sentence was not enough. “He’s a father to me, father to my children, so we miss him greatly,” she said.

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