The mother of murdered Brazilian Cecilia Haddad has cried in a Rio court as she told of a frantic final phone conversation with her daughter in Sydney before she disappeared.
- Milu Muller said she told her daughter to hire private security
- Rita Maciel, who was a friend of Ms Haddad’s, appeared in court via video link from Sydney
- She told the court Mr Santoro had “threatened to kill” Ms Haddad
Milu Muller, 70, told the court she heard Ms Haddad’s ex-boyfriend Mario Marcelo Santoro, 40, who is accused of murdering her, banging on her daughter’s apartment door.
“I could tell his voice clearly,” she said.
“He was shouting ‘open the door’ and ‘I want to talk to you’.
“Cecilia told him she did not want to talk and twice threatened to call the police.”
The suspect, who was not present at the pre-trial hearing at a court in Rio de Janeiro, is accused of murdering the 38-year-old in Sydney in April.
Her body was found in the Lane Cove River.
It is alleged Mr Santoro then returned to Brazil to avoid arrest.
The pair had dated but Ms Haddad told family he did not accept the end of their courtship.
Ms Muller broke down as she told the court of her final phone call on April 28, in which she claimed Ms Haddad said she had concerns about Mr Santoro.
“I told her to go to the window to check that he had left, but she said she was sure he had,” Ms Muller said.
“I asked her to hire private security, but she said it would be too expensive.
“I never heard from her again.”
‘He threatened to kill her’, court hears
A friend of Ms Haddad also told the court how she spent the days prior to her death in a “panic” over threats and harassment from Mr Santoro.
Rita Maciel, a 37-year-old Brazilian who lives in Australia, said her friend had “a fear of being at home, a fear of going to work, a fear of driving her own car”.
“He threatened to kill her,” Ms Maciel said.
“She was in a psychological panic but had done nothing wrong.
“He followed her car to find out what she was doing.”
Ms Haddad pictured with her former partner and alleged killer Mario Marcelo Santoro. (Supplied: Facebook)
Maciel said she told her friend not to stay in Sydney.
“She did not have family here,” she said, while appearing in court via video link.
“She was strong and intelligent. She could have gone anywhere.
“She wanted a family and this guy destroyed her life.”
After Cecilia went missing Ms Maciel said she wanted to go the police immediately but was persuaded by her husband to wait for 24 hours.
Police in Rio arrested Santoro at a relative’s house in July.
He is expected to appear in court to testify on December 17.
Judge Daniel Werneck Cotta will decide if Santoro will face a full trial.
If he does, the result will be decided by a jury of seven.
If convicted, he could face a sentence of 30 years.