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Texts expose alleged pillow murder plot

Accused attempted murderer Letiticia Fortune is now on home detention bail. Picture: Supplied
Accused attempted murderer Letiticia Fortune is now on home detention bail. Picture: Supplied

A woman at the centre of an alleged murder plot to snuff out a man recovering in hospital from an axe attack allegedly sent text messages admitting to the gruesome scheme, a court has heard.

The allegations were heard at Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday where Letiticia Fortune appeared charged with attempted murder for her alleged involvement in the plot to smother Jonathon Hawtin with a pillow at the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre on New Year’s Day in 2018.

Ms Fortune, 34, is the ex-lover of Lisa Lines, who police allege convinced Ms Fortune to kill Mr Hawton, who is also the ex-partner of Ms Lines.

The prosecution revealed the messages during Ms Fortune’s application for home detention bail.

In one message, which Ms Fortune allegedly sent to a third party, prosecutors allege Ms Fortune admitted to the plan to smother Mr Hawtin and said she and Ms Lines planned out the act for the early hours of New Year’s Day because there would be less security working at the centre.

In another, Ms Fortune allegedly said Ms Lines had suggested she get off her medication before the kill so that she could claim insanity if she was caught, the prosecution told the court.

LISA LINES ADELAIDE
Lisa Lines lands in Adelaide under police escort after she was extradited back to Australia on charges of attempted murder of her former partner Jonathon Hawtin. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes

It is understood Ms Fortune was stopped by hospital security guards and fled the scene.

The prosecution agreed to bail but asked the court that Ms Fortune be blocked from contacting five witnesses in the case and also her co-accused, Ms Lines and Zacharia Bruckner.

Ms Lines and Mr Bruckner have separately been charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to murder for their alleged roles in a long-running plot to kill Mr Hawtin.

Police allege Mr Buckner and Ms Lines conspired to kill Mr Hawtin in 2017.

Mr Bruckner allegedly attacked Mr Hawtin with an axe at an Adelaide Hills address in 2017, leaving Mr Hawtin a tetraplegic.

The police also allege from December 2021 through to this year, Dr Lines and Mr Bruckner conspired to have a hit man kill Mr Hawtin and his mother, Rohnda, with undercover police operatives securing evidence of the alleged plot.

Zacharia Josef Bruckner
Accused attempted murderer Zacharia Josef Bruckner arrives at the Adelaide Airport with police after being extradited from Queensland. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes

Ms Lines, an academic with a PhD in social sciences from Flinders University and the founder of Capstone Editing, was arrested on November 22 in the small Pacific nation of Palau and extradited to Adelaide, where she appeared in court on November 27.

Defence lawyer Craig Caldicott, appearing for Ms Lines, said his client would contest the allegations against her.

The police arrested Ms Fortune, from Everard Park, on November 25.

At an earlier appearance, Director of Public Prosecutions Martin Hinton told the court Ms Lines allegedly manipulated Ms Fortune to attend the rehabilitation centre.

“[Ms Fortune] attended with a bag or pillow – she is in the hospital and she is in the corridor where his room is … looking for him, with a view to smother him,” Mr Hinton said.

Defence lawyer Andrew Williams is representing Letiticia Fortune. He did not say anything about the case as he left Adelaide Magistrates Court on December 4, 2023. Picture: Duncan Evans
Defence lawyer Andrew Williams is representing Letiticia Fortune. He did not say anything about the case as he left Adelaide Magistrates Court on December 4, 2023. Picture: Duncan Evans

Andrew Williams, appearing for Ms Fortune on Monday, said her father would act as guarantor.

Magistrate John Wells granted Ms Fortune home detention bail on the condition she submits to drug and alcohol testing, does not contact witnesses in the case or Mr Bruckner and Ms Lines, and wears a tracking device.

The court ordered a $1000 bail and she will be released from Adelaide Women’s Prison on Monday afternoon.

She is due to appear in court again for a charge determination hearing on May 20, 2024.

Leaving the court, Mr Williams refused to speak about the case.