Monika Chetty told police a man approached her in Bigge Park at Liverpool and doused her with acid when she refused him a cigarette.
Monika Chetty told police a man approached her in Bigge Park at Liverpool and doused her with acid when she refused him a cigarette.

Nurse died from ‘acid burns’ but kept fatal secret

AS acid burns slowly killed her, Monika Chetty rejected medical help enduring up to 10 days of "unimaginable" pain - all to protect her attacker, police believe.

Detectives have begun a review into the horrific acid murder of the mother of three, who was found moaning in pain in bushland behind homes at West Hoxton on January 3, 2014.

The 39-year-old survived in Concord Hospital for 28 days with burns to 80 per cent of her body, including her face, before she was overwhelmed by infection.

 

Monika Chetty endured up to 10 days of “unimaginable” pain.
Monika Chetty endured up to 10 days of “unimaginable” pain.

 

More than four years on, investigators are going public, urging anyone with information on Ms Chetty to come forward.

The acid had burnt through layer after layer of Ms Chetty's skin before she was found.

From her hospital bed, the former nurse told police a random man approached her in Bigge Park at Liverpool, dousing her with acid when she refused him a cigarette.

But police did not believe her. Investigators think she was attacked five to 10 days before she was found and was so fearful of her real ­attacker she wandered the streets and slept rough around Liverpool and Hoxton Park instead of going to hospital and the police.

"We strongly believe she did know who the attacker was and she was fearful of reprisal if she sought any assistance," Liverpool City Detective Chief Inspector Dean Johnstone said.

"This is one of the most horrific things I've seen in a long time. We're talking about a woman who was a qualified nurse, had a family life, who then was horrifically attacked … there's a lot of unanswered questions."

Doctors believe that, given the sheer coverage of burns on Ms Chetty's body, the amount of corrosive acid poured on her must have been excessive, enough to also scorch marks into the surrounding crime scene.

There were no acid burns in the grass at Bigge Park, where officers did a forensic search at the time. Nor were there any acid marks in the grass at West Hoxton, leading police to believe Ms Chetty was attacked at a third, unknown site, in the West Hoxton area.

"With those kind of chemical burns on her body there would have been marks on the grass," Insp Johnstone said.

 

Monika Chetty was found in bushland in West Hoxton.
Monika Chetty was found in bushland in West Hoxton.

 

"We went all over Bigge Park … there was nothing.

"West Hoxton is a massive distance from Liverpool. If she was catching public transport someone would have seen her.

"It is likely that it happened in that area (West Hoxton)."

It is believed Ms Chetty had taken part in a lucrative marriage visa scam. Detectives believe the scam could be linked to her death.

They have spoken to victims of the visa scam. Still, they have no key persons of interest to pursue.

"We've looked into her background, we've looked into her associates. We wouldn't be in the position we're in now if we thought we had any kind of lead on them," Insp Johnstone said.

Ms Chetty had been homeless since the breakdown of her marriage more than three years before the acid attack.

 

Detective Senior Constable Andrew Booth, left, said the family needed answers.
Detective Senior Constable Andrew Booth, left, said the family needed answers.

 

Ms Chetty made attempts to organise a reunion with her three children - now aged 19 and under and who live with her ex-husband - around the time of her attack, but it never took place.

She would beg for money on the streets of Liverpool and West Hoxton. She was repeatedly offered help but only wanted money.

Detective Senior Constable Andrew Booth said the family needed answers. "They're very distraught. In particular, the manner in which it happened and the fact that she was so committed to not saying anything and not getting help … that plays on their minds a lot," Const. Booth said.

On Friday, police carried out a fresh search of bushland beside Ferraro Cres, West Hoxton, where Ms Chetty lived. They seized metal cans and rubbish to examine.

Residents told police they repeatedly offered her food and help - someone even tried to bathe her wounds - but she refused help and instead wanted money.

Detectives believe someone in the community has information which could lead them to identify Ms Chetty's attacker.

"Even if the person thinks it's irrelevant, tell us anyway. It might be just the one little bit of evidence that kicks it along," Insp Johnstone said.

Police do fear though, Ms Chetty took a vital clue to her grave.

"Essentially she has. We're now in a situation where we have to work through the evidence and any leads … and bring justice for her and her family," Insp Johnstone said.

Anyone with information should call CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

 

 

 

Police search bushland in West Hoxton for evidence.
Police search bushland in West Hoxton for evidence.


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