Two men guilty over 1990 Sydney murder


Mark Caleo has been found guilty of soliciting his wife’s murder in 1990. (file)Almost three decades after Rita Caleo was repeatedly stabbed in her Sydney home in the middle of the night, her restaurateur husband has been found guilty of ordering the murder.

But Mark Caleo, now 55, was found not guilty of soliciting the murder of her brother, Dr Michael Chye, 39, who was shot in the head as he drove into his Woollahra home in October 1989.

The NSW Supreme Court jury on Thursday also found former Kings Cross bouncer Alan Afu, 51, guilty of murdering Ms Caleo, who was stabbed 23 times at the family’s Double Bay townhouse in August 1990.

The Crown’s main witness – Caleo’s former employee, Anthony Stambolis – testified that his boss told him to offer $10,000 to find someone to kill his wife and to make it look like a robbery gone wrong.

Mr Stambolis spoke of getting a man he referred to as “the Tongan” to carry out the hit before driving with him to the Double Bay home.

Holding back tears during his evidence, Mr Stambolis said the Tongan got back in his car and said “I stabbed the s***” before telling him to “f****** drive”.

Ms Caleo, who was 12 years older than her husband, had written him out of her will amid suspicions he was having an affair with her friend Janice Yap.

But Caelo told the jury he did not have sex with Ms Yap before his wife’s death as she thought she may have caught herpes from her then husband.

On the day his wife died, he said they lunched together before she left to pick up some jewellery from an order involving up to $20,000 cash in Chinatown, while he went to work at their Brighton Le Sands restaurant.

She had about 80 to 100 pieces of jewellery and she usually wore “too much” seven days a week.

He denied unlocking the doors from his wife’s bedroom to a balcony, when he popped home in the afternoon to have a shower, to allow someone to come in later.

Caleo also denied telling his second wife he had been involved in both deaths, saying that marriage break-up had been acrimonious.

He initially told his third wife that Rita had died of cancer, but told her the truth when they started going out.

“I said that somebody entered the premises and I believed we were being robbed,” he told the jury.

Caleo denied threatening his brother-in-law over a property sale by saying “if you keep pressing you will end up dead” or boasting to his second wife that he had paid a hitman $50,000 to kill him.

The slain doctor was a “pathetic gambler” who was involved with triads, he told the jury.

“Quite often he would come to us and let us know his life was in danger,” he said.

The men will face a sentence hearing on a later date.

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