Vic sex worker choked from behind: court

A 65-year-old Melbourne prostitute dubbed Jazzy-O was likely strangled from behind with some kind of ligature, a court has heard.

Steve Constantinou, 48, of Port Melbourne, is charged with murdering stripper and prostitute Johanna Martin.

Her body was found dumped, wrapped in a bloodied blanket, in bushes in Port Melbourne on October 11, 2011.

Police have also charged Constantinou with stealing various gold chains, rings and bangles collectively worth $33,000 belonging to Ms Martin, on October 10.

Constantinou wept and rubbed his eyes in court as forensic pathologist Paul Bedford took the stand on Wednesday and said Ms Martin died as a result of neck compression.

Dr Bedford, who performed the autopsy, told the court the haemorrhaging of blood vessels in her eyes indicated strangling or choking.

Theo Kassimatis, for Constantinou, asked Dr Bedford: “You would conclude, wouldn’t you, that a ligature was probably used in this case?”

Dr Bedford said: “That would be my favoured scenario, yes.”

Questioned by Crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert, SC, Dr Bedford said Ms Martin’s injuries indicated such a ligature would likely have been applied from behind.

There were also no apparent injuries to the fingernails or fingertips of the accused, and there was no direct evidence of Ms Martin trying to struggle against choking, Dr Bedford said.

Constantinou smiled and blew kisses at his family seated in the courtroom and tapped his fist against his chest before being led from the dock.

He has not applied for bail and was remanded in custody, with Magistrate Hugh Radford ordering his committal hearing resume on September 18.

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