High-profile Perth barrister Linda Black has told Lloyd Rayney’s Supreme Court murder trial the Perth barrister appeared “the happiest I’d seen him in months” hours before his wife disappeared.
The court also heard that Mr Rayney "didn't really mind" if Corryn was having an affair but was concerned about the effect their marital breakdown might have on their two daughters.
Ms Black, who worked with Mr Rayney at the Department of Public Prosecutions and played bridge socially with him most weeks, said when she spoke to Mr Rayney on August 7, 2007 he appeared optimistic about plans to talk to Mrs Rayney after her bootscooting class that night.
Ms Black said that was in contrast to his demeanour in previous weeks, where he worried about the effect his marriage breakdown would have on their two children.
“He was the happiest I’d seen him in months,” she said.
“He said to me that… he’d had a talk to Corryn in more detail about maybe the two of them sitting down… and he was just really pleased.
“He said ‘she’s agreed to talk with me after bootscooting… we’re going to sit down and have a chat about it’.
“He had a smile on his face, he was brighter, he just looked really relieved. The context of the conversation was ‘thank God she’s agreed we can talk’.”
Mrs Rayney disappeared after her dance class that night. Mr Rayney has pleaded not guilty to her wilful murder.
Ms Black said when she spoke to Mr Rayney the next day he appeared “a bit sadder”, telling her he had waited up for his wife the previous night until about 11.30pm but she had not returned home for their planned talk.
Ms Black said she and Mr Rayney discussed his marital problems in the lead up to Mrs Rayney’s death.
“He was sad and he was deeply concerned about the impact it would have on the children,” she said.
“His predominant concern was he didn’t want the girls to get caught up in a nasty divorce battle with their parents.”
She said Mr Rayney told her he wanted the children to have a mother and a father.
Ms Black also told the court Mr Rayney told her he “didn’t really mind” if his wife was having an affair, except with regards to his children.
“I had probably been fishing for information a bit and I said to him, you know, ‘do you think she’s seeing someone else?’,” Ms Black said.
“He said there was a Dad at the school and he said it in the context of ‘look, I don’t really think anything’s going on between them’.”
Ms Black said from what Mr Rayney told her she believed Mrs Rayney was likely having an affair.
“I think I said ‘you’re living in the dark ages, Lloyd, of course she’s having an affair’,” she said.
“His response was very much something to the effect of ‘I don’t really mind if she is, my only concern is I don’t want him being around the children.”
Ms Black painted a picture of Mr Rayney as an immaculately-dressed and softly spoken man and a devoted father who was distressed by what effect a messy divorce would have on his children.
Asked if she had ever seen Mr Rayney express aggression towards his wife Ms Black said: "I don't think I've ever seen him angry".
Ms Black said she was concerned about comments Mrs Rayney had made to Mr Rayney suggesting it was not appropriate for him to be reading books to his daughters.
"Corryn said she didn't think it was right Lloyd was up reading books," she said.
"I remember that more than anything because I just got completely panicked and thought oh my God surely she wouldn't go that far and make up an allegation like that... I got a bit panicked."
The court has previously been told Mrs Rayney sent Mr Rayney emails suggesting he was sleeping in his daughters' beds, which he told a friend was untrue.Colleague and friend Clare O'Brien gave evidence earlier this month that she believed Mrs Rayney may have been setting up an "email trail" ahead of divorce proceedings.
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