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Man Accused Of Killing Toddler Dubbed ‘Foolish, Selfish Idiot’, But Not A Murderer By Lawyer

Nikki Francis-Coslovich was found dead in the roof of her home in Victoria’s Mildura.

Warning: This story contains distressing details.

The man accused of killing toddler Nikki Francis-Coslovic has been labeled a “foolish, selfish, idiot” by his defence lawyer in a Supreme Court, but cannot be found guilt of the murder he says.

John Torney, 32, is on trial for the murder of the Mildura toddler, but he claims it was the child’s mother, Peta-Ann Francis, who killed the girl before he helped her hide the body in the roof of their Oram Court home on August 25, 2015.

Lawyer Julie Condon said it was “unforgivable” that her client helped hide the body, but said there was no charge for being a “foolish, selfish idiot”, reports the Age.  

Chief Crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert QC reportedly told the jury in his closing statements that both Mr Torney and Ms Francis were self-confessed liars but evidence including CCTV footage and phone records corroborates the prosecutions timeline of events.

Neighbours reported hearing “no, no, no, no” being yelled between 10:30am and 10:45 on the day of Nikki’s death. The prosecution argued this was most likely Mr Torney realising what he had done.

The prosecution also argued that the defence’s claim that Ms Francis killed her daughter and went on to run errands was implausible.

“Can you really believe that she killed her child and then nonchalantly went about her business as if nothing had happened?” he said, adding that the injuries were inconsistent with the abilities of a woman.

“The horrific injuries caused to this child’s chest and abdomen, splitting her liver and causing one third of her blood to discharge, could only have been caused by repeated frenzied punches to her chest and abdomen, delivered with considerable force by a strong male fist and nothing less,” he added. 

In a tragedy fraught with conflicting stories, these are the police-reported facts:


Nikki Francis-Coslovich, 2, was found dead at 5.15pm on August 25, 2015, discovered in the roof of her home in Victoria’s Mildura.


The toddler was battered and bruised, and had lost one third of her body’s blood volume.

An autopsy showed she died between 11am and 2.30pm. After being abused, she may have suffered alone for an hour before dying of fatal injuries to her kidney, liver and skull.

The trial continues.


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