Girlfriend accused of partner’s dad’s death

Kon Kritikos died after he was allegedly assaulted by Danielle Birchell in November 2021. Picture: Supplied.
Kon Kritikos died after he was allegedly assaulted by Danielle Birchell in November 2021. Picture: Supplied.

A Melbourne woman accused of killing her ex-partner’s elderly father has been released into the community after a judge found delays in her case were “quite out of the ordinary”.

Danielle Lee Birchall, 49, was charged with murder after Kon Kritikos, 87, died in hospital in November 2020.

Two weeks earlier, Mr Kritikos was found with critical injuries at his Coburg home in Melbourne’s north.

Ms Birchall was arrested and charged over his death in March the following year.

Kon Kritikos was found injured by family on November 11, 2021. Picture: Supplied
Kon Kritikos was found injured by family on November 11, 2021. Picture: Supplied

She returned before the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday as her barrister, Chris Pearson, sought bail, arguing that more than three years in custody justified her release.

The court was told there was a plan for her to be assisted in the community by the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women.

Justice Christopher Beale granted the request, finding the “exceptional” delay in her case warranted Ms Birchall’s release.

“This is a delay of a magnitude that is quite out of the ordinary,” he said.

“Accordingly, I will grant Ms Birchall bail.”

The 87-year-old had allegedly been seriously assaulted. Picture: Supplied.
The 87-year-old had allegedly been seriously assaulted. Picture: Supplied.

Prosecutors had argued the accused woman posed a risk to the community if she relapsed, but Justice Beale said this could be mitigated with “strict conditions”.

These included daily reporting to police, fortnightly drug testing and a nightly curfew at a home in Melton.

She had been suffering from “ill health” while in custody, Justice Beale said.

Ms Birchall, the court was told, is scheduled to face trial over Mr Kritikos’ death later this year.