Recovered Apple smartwatch data, which indicated when a murder victim’s heart stopped beating, will be key prosecution evidence in the case against a South Australian woman charged with killing her mother-in-law, a court has heard.
Caroline Nilsson has been charged with the bashing murder of Myrna Nilsson, 57, at their
in September 2016.
At the time of the incident, the 26-year-old told police that her mother-in-law had been attacked by a group of men who had forced their way into the property after a road rage incident.
About three hours after the reported home invasion, she was found in the street by neighbours with her hands and face bound with tape.
But opposing bail on Thursday, prosecutor Carmen Matteo told Adelaide Magistrates Court that it was the crown case that the story Nilsson had concocted was demonstrably false and the home invasion crime scene had been fabricated.
Ms Matteo said a forensic expert had analysed the dead woman’s Apple smartwatch and had narrowed the time from when she was attacked to when she died to a seven-minute window.
She said the data showed a burst of heavy activity, consistent with the woman being the victim of an ‘ambush-type’ attack followed by a period of less activity when she possibly lost consciousness.
Ms Matteo said the watch stopped recording the woman’s heart rate soon after.
‘The prosecution accumulates those timings and the information about energy levels, movement, heart rate, to lead to a conclusion that the deceased must have been attacked at around 6.38pm and had certainly died by 6.45pm,’ she said.
The prosecutor said if those timings were accepted then it contradicted statements from the accused that her mother-in-law had been involved in an argument with her attackers for about 20 minutes.
She said it was also alleged that Nilsson used her mobile phone at 7.02pm to send a text to her husband and at 7.13pm to access eBay, despite her claims that she had also been attacked and tied up by the intruders.
Defence counsel Mark Twiggs said his client would deny the offending and asked for her to be released on home detention, telling the court she had been named as a prime suspect by police more than a year ago and had not tried to flee.
But magistrate Oliver Koehn rejected the application because of the seriousness of the charge, the strength of the prosecution case and the woman’s alleged efforts to conceal evidence.
Nilsson, who sobbed throughout the hearing, will return to court on June 13.