The man accused of murdering his Brazilian girlfriend in suburban Sydney has faced court for the first time in Rio De Janeiro.
Mario Santoro sat handcuffed as detectives dropped a startling revelation.
They claim he confessed to killing Cecilia Haddad, then taunted her family with messages to cover up what he did.
Dr Fabio Cardoso, of the Rio Homicide Squad, testified that, in an informal meeting, Santoro admitted to strangling Ms Haddad because he felt “rejected” when she ended their relationship.
He told the court Santoro left Ms Haddad, then returned two hours later, using a mattress or sack to cover her and put her in a car.
The court heard Santoro used his ex-girlfriend’s own diving weights to sink her in the Lane Cove River.
Then, prosecutors say he devised a callous cover-up.
Using Ms Haddad’s dead finger to access her phone, they claim he taunted her family, messaging her mother: “Dear Milu, my WhatsApp is not working right.”
“He’s not here. He left his keys and he’s returning to Brazil on Tuesday. He misses his daughters.
“I’m going to spend some time in the mountains.”
Police allege Ms Haddad was already dead, and that Santoro threw her keys off the Gladesville Bridge on his way to flee home to Brazil.
But Santoro’s legal team is already casting doubt on any confession.
“He made Santoro feel comfortable and maybe seduced him into saying things,” defence lawyer Mauricio Mayr said.
“We don’t even know if this conversation happened.”
Defence lawyer Dr Anderson Rollenberg said: “Cecilia used dating apps to meet new people, so who’s the criminal?”
“Maybe a psychopath, maybe her ex-husband that was in a legal battle with her?”
However, NSW Police say her ex-husband was not in New South Wales when she died.
When the case goes to trial, the judge will decide if the media is allowed to record the court proceedings.
Ultimately, seven jurors will determine Santoro’s fate inside a Brazilian courtroom.
Brazilian police hope when they return to court in a month, Australian detectives will join them.