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Serial killer named as murderer of 95-year-old grandmother inside a nursing home on New Year's Eve 

A serial killer and rapist has been named as the murderer of a 95-year-old grandmother inside a nursing home.

Kathleen Downes was stabbed and had her throat sliced at her aged-care home in Brunswick, in Melbourne’s inner north-west, on New Year’s Eve in 1997.

It can be reported for the first time that in 2015, the then-state coroner Ian Gray found that the grandmother’s death was caused by Peter Dupas.

‘I am satisfied that the death of Mrs Kathleen Gladwyn Downes was a result of the actions of Mr Peter Dupas,’ Mr Gray said at the time.

The findings were released on Monday after Coroner Paresa Spanos lifted a long-standing gag order.

Kathleen Downes (pictured) was brutally murdered in a Brunswick nursing home by serial killer Peter Dupas

Kathleen Downes (pictured) was brutally murdered in a Brunswick nursing home by serial killer Peter Dupas

Peter Dupas (pictured centre) is already serving life behind bars without the chance of parole

Peter Dupas (pictured centre) is already serving life behind bars without the chance of parole

The original order aimed to prevent the findings being published to allow the now 67-year-old a fair trial.

Mr Dupas represented himself over video link from prison to the Coroner’s Court to ask for the suppression order to stay in place.

‘I’m not a very good public speaker. I’ll do my best,’ Dupas said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

He claimed he could change his ways ‘tomorrow, next week, next month’ and the release of information could hurt his chances at a fair trial, but officials saw no reason for the order not to lift.

‘The public have a right to know what the findings were into the tragic death of Kathleen Downes,’ lawyer for the Director of Public Prosecutions Raymond Gibson submitted.

Dupas’ trial collapsed last year when star witness and disgraced lawyer Andrew Fraser became too ill with cancer to testify. 

Fraser spent time with the killer in prison after he was jailed for trafficking cocaine and said in an inquest that Dupas made references to ‘the old sheila, Downes’.

Former solicitor Andrew Fraser (pictured) is seen as he leaves the Supreme Court after giving evidence at the trial of Peter Dupas in Melbourne in 2007. He has since become too ill to give evidence

Former solicitor Andrew Fraser (pictured) is seen as he leaves the Supreme Court after giving evidence at the trial of Peter Dupas in Melbourne in 2007. He has since become too ill to give evidence

He also claimed Dupas boasted about how he left no forensic evidence behind with the ‘old sheila’.

Mrs Downes’ body was found by a staff member on her bedroom floor in a pool of blood after she had been repeatedly stabbed and her throat had been cut.

It is believed the killer sneaked into the home through a kitchen window. 

Prosecutors believed Dupas was motivated to kill Ms Downes because she resembled his overbearing mother, whom he resented, the report claimed.

Ms Downes was described as ‘a dear old lady with a wonderful nature’ and the matriarch of the nursing home. 

Dupas was interviewed over the murder in 2001, but refused to comment, and again in 2013.

Sergeant David Dimsey told the the Coroners Court Dupas was the prime suspect due to his lengthy history of violence against women, especially with knives. 

Margaret Maher (pictured) had been strangled, and her left breast cut off and placed in her mouth. Peter Dupas was later convicted of her horrific murder

Margaret Maher (pictured) had been strangled, and her left breast cut off and placed in her mouth. Peter Dupas was later convicted of her horrific murder

Dupas had stabbed his next door neighbor without warning as a teenager in 1968, while wearing his school uniform.

In 1972 he was caught peeking through the windows of a woman as a 19-year old. 

He was charged with rape later that year. 

His victim was a married woman he asked for help after claiming his car had broken down outside her Mitcham home. 

He hid in the house while she was looking for a screwdriver, then threatened her and her 18-month-old baby with a knife before raping her. 

 Dupas was just 21 when he was sentenced to nine years’ jail with a non-parole period of five years.

He was released from jail on September 4, 1979 and immediately attacked four women in ten days.

Dupas would rape and stab multiple women, later telling police he had ‘the urge’.

Dupas stabbed to death young female psychotherapist Nicole Patterson (pictured) and mutilated her body

Dupas stabbed to death young female psychotherapist Nicole Patterson (pictured) and mutilated her body

‘It just comes over me … I can’t help myself,’ he told detectives. 

Dupas was sentenced to just six and a half years in prison with a five-year minimum. 

Four days after his release he raped another woman. 

This time he copped 12 years’ jail, with a minimum of ten years before parole. 

While inside, he married a nurse and claimed to be reformed. 

But he was back at it again shortly after and sentenced yet again to more jail time after being caught with a rape kit after another attack.

He was released in 1996 and by October 1997 had murdered sex worker Margaret Maher.

Mersina Helvagis was stabbed to death as she tendered to her grandmother's grave

Mersina Helvagis was stabbed to death as she tendered to her grandmother’s grave

She had been strangled, and her left breast cut off and placed in her mouth.

Less than a month later, he murdered Mersina Halvagis as she was tidying her grandmother’s grave at Fawkner Cemetery.  

Dupas stabbed her more than 30 times. 

He killed Mrs Downes less than two months later.  

Dupas is serving three life sentences with no parole for the murders of Mersina Halvagis, Margaret Maher and Nicola Patterson.  

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