A senior Victorian policeman has denied the investigation of a 2005 murder, involving a confession by a woman who was discounted as a suspect, was botched.
Elia Abdelmessih, a lonely widower who frequented McDonald's up to three times a day, was brutally bashed to death in his Melbourne home.
Suspected murder weapons included a Virgin Mary statue and a tin of mangoes.
Katia Pyliotis was tried four times for his murder, after DNA linked her to the crime in 2016.
But her conviction was overturned by Victoria's Court of Appeal in May and now her lawyers are trying to stop a fifth trial from going ahead.
Homicide investigators who looked into the crime at the time are being called back to court to explain why another woman, Susan Reddie, was not re-interviewed after confessing three times to the murder.
Superintendent Wayne Newman told the court on Tuesday that he ruled out Ms Reddie - who has since died - as a suspect after her first interview and before any of the confessions.
Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth questioned whether that was done on the basis of opinion or evidence.
Supt Newman didn't answer the question, but replied "whether it was in haste or ill-formed - I had formed that view".
Pyliotis' barrister Dermot Dann QC suggested the investigation had been "botched", telling the court the inquiry wasn't thorough, all lines hadn't been followed and alternative suspects weren't fully examined.
Supt Newman rejected that.
"I think there were aspects of that investigation we could have done better," he said.
"I don't think it was a botched investigation. I accept in any investigation you can do better, and this was one of those."
Ms Reddie was interviewed initially by police after matching the description of a regular visitor to Mr Abdelmessih's house.
She was taken back to a care facility where she was living at the time, and confessed to a support worker that she had assaulted Mr Abdelmessih with a blue and white ornament on the day he died.
Another officer, Warren Ryan, recorded the confession in his diary as a statue, but crossed it out and wrote ornament.
Despite initially telling a colleague that Ms Reddie was a "good suspect", he claimed through multiple trials that she had recanted the confession to him in a Kew supermarket car park.
Mr Ryan, now a Queensland police officer, was adamant his police diary would back him up.
When it was finally found in June this year, it actually showed she confessed twice more.
Ms Reddie admitted having sex with Mr Abdelmessih for $20 and then repeatedly hitting him with a Jesus statue while "very, very angry and drunk".
Supt Newman said he couldn't remember knowing about the Jesus statue admission at the time.
He gave evidence at the previous trials that he might have put those words in Ms Reddie's mouth when he earlier interviewed her.
The hearing is due to continue in November. Justice Hollingworth doesn't expect to make a decision until 2021.