1. How an Adelaide woman’s smartwatch became the key evidence police needed to arrest her daughter-in-law for her murder.
When 57-year-old Myrna Nilsson was murdered at her Adelaide home in September 2016, her daughter-in-law told police they had been attacked by a group of men.
According to AAP, 26-year-old Caroline Nilsson said the men had forced their way into the home after a road rage incident, arguing with Myrna for 20 minutes before she was killed. Three hours after the reported home invasion, Caroline was found in the street by neighbours with her hands and face bound with tape.
Watch: How Myrna’s smartwatch is helping to put her killer behind bars.
But Caroline has now been charged with her mother-in-law’s murder, and at a bail hearing this week, the prosecution says data from Myrna’s smartwatch contradicts Caroline’s story.
Prosecutor Carmen Matteo told Adelaide Magistrates Court that the story she 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 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.