Accused child stealer au pair fronts court
Accused child stealer Samantha Azzopardi has fidgeted and shielded her face during a brief court appearance.
The 31-year-old appeared via video link in Bendigo Magistrates' Court this morning as she faces 53 charges, including making false reports to police and obtaining property by deception.
She did not address the court directly during the brief hearing but chatted to a custody officer.
She fidgeted for much of the proceeding, shaking her head during a discussion about whether a photo taken after her arrest could be released to the media.
Police had previously applied to the court to take her photo and DNA to help resolve a "lot of outstanding matters".
Wearing blue pants, a white T-shirt and her brown hair in a ponytail today, she sighed and rested her elbows on her knees and her head in her hands as her case was adjourned to March 10.
The notorious au pair was nabbed with two girls, aged 10 months and four years, in Bendigo's Myer store on November 1 last year.
She was initially charged with two counts of child stealing, stating a false name and having stolen goods but was later hit with dozens of extra charges.
It included charges for dishonestly obtaining $250 a week while posing as "a suitably qualified au pair" Harper Hernandez between December 2018 and June 2019.
She also allegedly pretended to be a nurse named Sakah, who dishonestly obtained a school hat, dress and jumper by claiming her patient needed her former school uniform for a performance.
Ms Azzopardi's court hearing today came after a bizarre appearance in November, during which she sat so close to the video link camera that the magistrate had to ask her to sit back in her chair.
The video link was cut after she failed to respond to a series of questions, including whether she could hear the magistrate.
She did not apply for bail on either occasion.
Ms Azzopardi will return to court on March 10.