Jury retires at NSW woman's murder trial

·3-min read

A jury has begun deliberating at the murder trial of a NSW woman accused of sedating and gassing her sheep farmer partner.

Natasha Beth Darcy pleaded not guilty to murdering Mathew Dunbar, who was found dead in his bed on his Pandora property in the Northern Tablelands town of Walcha on August 2, 2017.

The 46-year-old's NSW Supreme Court trial began on March 31, with the Crown alleging she murdered the grazier to inherit his $3.5 million property, knowing she was the sole beneficiary.

She contended the 42-year-old killed himself, but the Crown rejected her guilty plea to aiding or abetting suicide.

Justice Julia Lonergan has directed the jurors to entirely put out of their minds the issue of assisted suicide, reminding them of the absence of any evidence about such a scenario.

The jury retired to consider its verdict about 11am on Wednesday.

It was sent home about 3.30pm and is due to resume deliberations on Thursday morning.

Prosecutor Brett Hatfield alleged Darcy planned the murder for some time, citing hundreds of Google searches on death methods starting with poisonous spiders and fungi.

He said she sedated her partner using a Nutribullet to blend a cocktail of sedatives, before moving a gas tank into his room and gassing him in his bed.

The jury was told of a letter Darcy sent to a friend after Mr Dunbar's death, offering her $20,000 to tell lies about him that would assist her at any murder trial.

Agreed facts tendered in the case state that in 2009, Darcy hit her husband, Colin Crossman, on the head with a hammer as he slept.

Three days later when he was again asleep she took a tin of petrol from the garage and poured it on the bedroom floor and set it alight.

She had earlier given him a meal of tacos and samples later showed he had sedatives in his system.

The previous month, she had taken out a life insurance policy which paid $700,000 to her on the death of Mr Crossman.

Mr Hatfield said these events indicate Ms Darcy has a tendency to sedate and inflict serious harm on her domestic partners for financial gain.

In support of the contention that Mr Dunbar killed himself, Darcy's barrister Janet Manuell SC cited a string of issues including what she said was the sheep farmer's confused sexuality, his serious leg problem, depression and the suicide of his close friend.

Google searches about redback spiders may have related to "creepy crawlies" in the house, while mushroom searches may have involved checking on edible fungi around the rural property.

She also asked the jurors "if your murder weapon was a blender and a glass tumbler, wouldn't you put them in the dishwasher and get rid of the evidence?".

Darcy had made things worse for herself by telling repeated lies to police, Ms Manuell said.

"Think about it; one of the problems with lying is that once you've told one lie you've got to keep telling a whole lot more lies if you're going to keep up with the original lie."

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