Defence suspect knew details of mum's body

A man lawyers say is the real killer of a Melbourne mum claims he knew details of where her body was found because he heard police talking about it on a doorbell camera.

Judy Bednar's son, Thomas Bednar, is standing trial accused of murdering the 78-year-old in her Chelsea home in May 2021.

But Bednar's barrister, John Desmond, has told jurors he believes the real killer is family friend Danny Cohen and that he framed Bednar, 54.

Mr Cohen is giving evidence in the Victorian Supreme Court, where he has revealed he knew details of his friend's murder through conversations overheard between police officers on a Ring doorbell.

He had access to Mrs Bednar's security camera and had a conversation with officers who discovered her body during a welfare check.

She was naked and lying between the bed and a wardrobe.

Mr Cohen discussed the news in a message exchange with a friend.

When the friend asked if her body had been found, Mr Cohen replied: "Of course. She was in bed."

Mr Desmond grilled Mr Cohen, who described himself as a half-brother or step-brother to Bednar, about how he learned that level of detail.

"There's a video of two members of the police talking about that there is a lot of blood in the bedroom and something about the bed, and that was clearly heard on the Ring doorbell," Mr Cohen said.

He admitted he didn't tell police he knew that when he was interviewed and gave a formal witness statement to police later that night, on May 15.

"That came from police, why should I repeat it?" he told jurors.

Earlier, Mr Cohen told the court he had staked out Bednar's home after Mrs Bednar's body was discovered, and admitted he left that information out when asked to give jurors a timeline of his movements that day.

"My family was fearing for safety. I watched where Tommy was going because they hadn't arrested Tommy yet," he said.

"Why would I be staking his house out if I was part of the murder."

Mr Desmond said Mr Cohen was a plausible alternative suspect in the murder.

Prosecutor Mark Rochford KC alleged Bednar killed his mother because he blamed her for a series of involuntary mental health admissions.

The relationship between the mother and son broke down when Bednar was young. He went to live with a foster family at 15.

Dianne Katz, a friend of Mrs Bednar for more than 40 years, described her as a devoted mother whose relationship with her son was tenuous.

"She had to walk on eggshells so she didn't anger him," she said.

"She said many times she felt threatened by him and he was either going to kill her or go on a stabbing rampage ... she was concerned he was going to kill others."

The trial is continuing.