Mersina Halvagis: stabbed to death as she tended her grandmother`s Melbourne grave

Date: 01/10/1997
Location: , Australia
Postcode: 3060


On Saturday November 1 1997, 25-year-old Mersina Halvagis left her home in Mentone to drive to Fawkner Cemetery, in Melbourne`s northern suburbs, to place fresh flowers on her grandmother’s grave. She arrived at the cemetery around 3.45pm.

She parked her fiance`s red Telstar and walked to her grandmother`s grave. As she was about to put water in the matching stone urns, she was stabbed to death in a frenzied attack.

Ms Halvagis came from a hard-working Greek family. She was known as a warm, friendly, compassionate person. She had no known enemies. After months of investigation the police had no leads.

Detective Chief-Inspector Rod Collins has said police believed the murderer could have a psychiatric illness or be a thrill-killer who lurked in the cemetery waiting for a victim. Police feared the killer may strike again.

On 1 November 1998, one year after the brutal stabbing, 500 people gathered at the Archangels` Greek Orthodox Church to pray for Mersina`s soul.

“I ask you to take a minute to think of the pain and suffering Mersina went through a year ago,” said her brother Nick Halvagis.

“Lying on the ground at Fawkner cemetery, bleeding, hurt, helpless and then finally dying all by herself (with) no one to help or care (for her).”

The family had been shattered by Mersina’s death, but thanked the homicide squad for its support and asked the community to help in the relentless search for the killer.

In the hope that it will provide them with a vital clue, detectives are asking anyone who has a nagging feeling they know the killer or who knows someone who acted out of character at the time of the murder to call police.

In August 2001 a report in the Herald Sun stated notorious sex monster and convicted murderer Peter Norris Dupas was a suspect in Ms Halvagis’ murder. Dupas is currently serving a life term with no parole for the 1999 stabbing murder of 28-year-old Nicole Patterson in her home.

The report also revealed that Dupas’ grandfather’s grave was only 100 metres away from that of Ms Halvagis’ grandmothers’ grave. Dupas has also been interviewed by police in regards to the murder of three other Melbourne women between 1985 and 1997.

During a five-hour interview with police on August 6, 2001, it is believed Dupas answered “no comment” to all questions pertaining to the murders of Mersina Halvagis, Helen McMahon, Margaret Maher and Kathleen Downes.

In February 2005 a reward of up to $1,000,000 was been offered for information leading to the arrest and subsequent conviction of anyone responsible for the death of Mersina Halvagis.

Detectives believe members of the community may have information in relation to this incident and are asking them to come forward.

Detective Inspector Bernie Rankin said the death of Ms Halvagis had shocked the community and devastated her family.

“The investigation needs that vital piece of information that will enable us to prosecute those responsible and resolve this case,” Detective Inspector Rankin said.

“We hope this reward will encourage anyone to come forward, any piece of information could help. We particularly want to speak to anyone with information who has not yet contacted us.”


Dupas will go to trial later in 2007 to face a charge of murdering Mersina Halvagis. Dupas has pleaded not guilty to committing the crime.

Lawyer Andrew Fraser has made a statement to police claiming Dupas confessed to the murder.

Reward information

In early 2005 the reward was increased to $1,000,000 for information leading to the conviction of Mersina Halvagis` killer.