Alaine Sturniolo denies murdering grandmother Dawn Baldwin by swapping her medication

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Alaine Dawn Sturniolo is accused of murdering her 91-year-old grandmother in 2012. (Facebook: Alaine Sturniolo)

A 39-year-old Perth woman who posted on social media she “hated” her grandmother, has denied under oath murdering the elderly woman by swapping her medication.

Alaine Dawn Sturniolo is on trial in the WA Supreme Court over the death, more than nine years ago, of 91-year-old Dawn Baldwin who collapsed at her home in Wembley Downs in January 2012.

It is alleged Mrs Baldwin had been taking tablets containing morphine, which she was not prescribed, because Mr Sturniolo had swapped her tablets with ones being taken by her uncle before his death from cancer seven months earlier.

Prosecutors alleged Ms Sturniolo deliberately killed her grandmother after posting on social media before her death that she “hated” her and would like to change the elderly woman’s “life status”.

In her evidence today Ms Sturniolo admitted “hating” her grandmother in her teens because of the way she treated her mother and sister.

However, she told the court that as she got older, that changed because she got more time to spend with her.

“I wouldn’t have my love for classical music if not for her,” she said.

Ms Sturniolo, a mother-of-two, became emotional when asked about her grandmother’s death, testifying she was in “disbelief” because “she was still meant to be there”.

“She was never going to see my babies grow up,” she said.

“I was missing those opportunities, grandma was going to miss them. I was never going to be able to talk to her about music again.”

Defence suggests witnesses had ‘axe to grind’

The court has heard evidence from three people who claim Ms Sturniolo confessed to them she had swapped her grandmother’s medication, but today she denied she had ever said anything like that.

The defence has suggested that those three witnesses, including Ms Sturniolo’s sister, had an axe to grind against the 39-year-old.

In her evidence, Ms Sturniolo described her relationship with her sister as “really, really bad”.

Ms Sturniolo was not charged until 2018, when she took part in two video-recorded interviews with police, which were played at her trial.

One of the interviews lasted about seven hours, and during it Ms Sturniolo was asked about her posts on social media.

She repeatedly said they were meant as a joke.

When asked if she had swapped the medication, she replied she “would never do that to anyone” and would “never do anything” that would “take her away from her babies”.

The court heard Ms Sturniolo has been in custody since her arrest two-and-a-half years ago.

In her evidence, she said she spent her time in prison working as an educator, helping other inmates with reading and writing.

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