MELBOURNE – Police are appealing to the public for any information about the murder of 33-year-old Greek-Australian hairdresser Penny Galanopoulos. who was found dead in her fire-damaged house on January 10. Police determined her death was “suspicious” and that she was killed before the fire was lit in her Como Parade West house.
The homicide squad set up an information caravan in the Mordialloc area this week in the hope someone will come forward. Homicide squad detectives have revealed that a handwritten letter recently posted to the Mordialloc police station contained information about Galanopoulos’ death and the fire at her home, believed to be credible. Investigators believe the writer holds the key to solving the suspected murder, Detective Senior Sergeant David Snare said. ”It might help us if the person was able to recontact us to shore things up,” he said.
Galanopoulos was described by her family as “fun-loving and open-hearted.” Her sister, Helen Papas, described her younger sister as “always outgoing” and always “caring about others.” The hairdresser spent much of her free time socializing and it is believed that a number of people were at her house before she was killed. Her sister said she believes her kindness might have been the catalyst to her death. “She would do anything for anyone, she was so open-hearted and she just let the wrong people in, in my view,” she told The Age.
Galanopoulos’s neighbor Julie Green called the emergency number at 5.11am after she woke to see the fire on January 10. She said there had been a lot of fights, hoon activity and late-night arguments since Galanopoulos moved in about 18 months before her death. On December 30, Green saw a man break a window and enter the property. “On hot nights around midnight we were always ready to hear an argument or shouting,” she told the Leader.
Police are also investigating any potential links to a home invasion three days after Galanopoulos’ death. Three men broke into the Beaumaris house of one of her friends and threatened her with a sawed-off shotgun. The men returned later that night but were asked to leave by the woman’s friends. Papas said her sister’s death had been particularly hard on the family, especially on their elderly father.