A MELBOURNE Jewish man has been charged with murdering his mother, Holocaust survivor Judy Bednar in the city’s south-eastern suburbs.
Thomas (Tommy) Bednar, 53, of Chelsea, was arrested on Monday and has been charged with one count of murder after his mother’s body was discovered inside her Chelsea home on Saturday morning during a welfare check. A charge sheet alleged the woman was murdered between May 12 and May 15.
A police spokesperson said an investigation is in progress.
Homicide detectives had seized security camera footage of a man dressed in white hazmat gear entering the 78-year-old woman’s Drinan Road property shortly before the murder.
A source told The AJN Judy Bednar had CCTV cameras fitted to her property. The quiet Chelsea street where she lived was cordoned off as homicide detectives began their investigation, and neighbours expressed shock and disbelief at what happened. Police were seen going back to the deceased woman’s home and leaving with bags of evidence.
One neighbour described the elderly resident as “bright and clever … very easy to get along with … and computer savvy”. She said, “I’ll probably never come to terms with it, it is just so unreal. I’m still in shock.”
An old acquaintance, meanwhile, posted online that Judy Bednar was “generous and with a heart of gold, she passed on her good fortune as much as she could, and spoke often about her family origins in Hungary”.
Bednar, whose father had been in a Nazi concentration camp, had endured the Holocaust as a girl in Hungary before emigrating to Australia.
A close family contact told The AJN she had immigrated to Australia about 50 years ago, living in St Kilda East before moving to Chelsea some 10 years ago.
Bednar’s Facebook page showed she had been interested in many causes. Her posts indicated her concern about antisemitism and Holocaust denial and about racist incidents at the football. She had also been seeking information about another Hungarian family who had arrived in Melbourne from Hungary in 1956 after the Hungarian Uprising.
Thomas Bednar did not appear during a short filing hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday night.
His lawyer told magistrate Victoria Campbell he was not aware Bednar had a history of psychiatric illness. Bednar did not apply for bail and was remanded to appear in court on October 4.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at crimestoppersvic.com.au.