Not guilty: Little black dress that sunk a stabbing trial
This is the little black dress - allegedly showing the puncture marks of a vicious knife attack - that sank an attempted murder trial.
It was worn by Pervin Maroufi on the night she was stabbed seven times in her Ermington home on August 19, 2017, in an attack that almost killed her.
Ms Maroufi told police her husband Mehdi Cheraghi was the one who plunged the knife into her in a jealous rage after accusing her of sleeping with another man.
But a jury decided otherwise acquitting Cheraghi of attempted murder.
Parramatta District Court heard the pair had a fight after Ms Maroufi arrived at 7.50pm. After she was stabbed multiple times in the neck and abdomen.
Ms Maroufi told police her husband said "Die quickly, I'm going to kill myself" before putting his hand over her mouth and saying "Come on, die".
Mr Cheraghi was charged with attempted murder but denied stabbing his wife and pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution told the court that his wife had said her husband did it and that he had her blood all over him. He had a fresh cut on his right middle finger. And there was evidence his phone was inside the home at the time of the stabbing.
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There was also no knife at the scene, suggesting someone other than the victim had disposed of it, the trial heard.
But Mr Cheraghi told the court he had gone for a walk to the park to smoke - because his wife hated him doing it around the house - and that he arrived home to find her stabbed.
On Tuesday, he was found not guilty. And the little black dress was a major reason why.
A picture of the dress tendered in evidence showed there were 22 cuts on it.
However, Mr Cheraghi's lawyers Abdullah Reslan and Tom Hughes argued the number and location of the cuts did not match the number and location of where the cuts were on Ms Maroufi's body.
A picture of the dress was tendered to the court and showed where the cuts were located, including multiple cuts in several of the spots.
Two of Australia's leading forensic pathologists could not explain how the extra cuts got there.
One of the experts, Professor Peter Ellis, told the court: "I'm a little surprised when you make reference to 22 (cuts on the dress) because there clearly aren't 22 wounds on the deceased."
Another expert, Professor Johan Duflou, said: "It's a larger number of cuts to the garment than you would generally see in a stabbing situation, whether it is self-inflicted or the result of infliction by another person … but it is certainly my experience that you often see more cuts in a garment than you see on the person's body."
Coupled with evidence that Ms Maroufi had a history of self harm, doubt emerged as to who inflicted the stab wounds.
In his closing address, Mr Hughes said: " … there is no sensible way of explaining that tear damage (to the dress). Those 22 tears to the fabric of that black dress, in the context of this assault … just doesn't make sense."
"I submit … that the dress was damaged by her slowly and deliberately … with the same implement that she used to inflict harm upon herself," Mr Hughes told the jury.
The barrister argued Ms Maroufi had inconsistencies in her story, such as claiming her husband stabbed her from behind while she was sitting on a couch that was pressed against a wall.
Mr Hughes told the jury: "This poor bloke - I think you might find - genuinely loved this woman."
The jury returned with a not-guilty verdict in three hours.*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Not guilty: Little black dress that sunk a stabbing trial