Court ready for Rayney trial
Lloyd Rayney arrives at court with daughters Caitlyn, left and Sarah. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

UPDATE 4.10pm: Lloyd Rayney killed his wife Corryn while their youngest daughter slept upstairs and then drove her body to Kings Park in the backseat of her car, a Perth court was told today.

On the first day of Mr Rayney's wilful murder trial, prosecutor John Agius said in his opening statement that Mr Rayney killed his wife in their Como family home and drove her body to Kings Park that night.

Mr Agius said Mr and Mrs Rayney’s daughters, Caitlyn and Sarah, asked their father to call the police the morning after their mother disappeared.

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Mr Agius told the WA Supreme Court trial Mr Rayney did not call the police and made “no attempt at that time” to call his wife.

“It’s the prosecution’s case that it was unlikely in the extreme (Mrs Rayney) would simply have decided to come home without notice or to have left early that morning without saying goodbye to her daughters,” Mr Agius said.

The court also heard Mrs Rayney’s body was buried “head down, face up” in her Kings Park grave and that brain injury and "compression of the neck" killed her.

The court heard Mr and Mrs Rayney had agreed to meet on the night she disappeared in order for Mr Rayney to hand over his financial records and discuss his moving out of the family home.

“It is our case that her mindset was that she was concerned he had been hiding income from her… and had returned to gambling,” Mr Agius said.

Mr Agius said their marriage had deteriorated by that time to the point where there was “absolutely no trust left between them”. But Mrs Rayney told a friend her husband had agreed to hand over the relevant records.

The prosecution claims Mr Rayney had been concealing income from his wife, including about $750,000 worth of payments from Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.

Mr Agius said there was evidence to show Mrs Rayney had threatened to harm Mr Rayney’s career if she did not get what she wanted and that Mr Rayney had learned of that fact from listening to her phone calls. In particular she said she would do "all she could" to ensure Mr Rayney never became a Queen's Counsel in WA.

The prosecution claims Mrs Rayney had threatened to subpoena her husband's clients, including Hancock Prospecting.

A coat on Mrs Rayney's bed, seeds in her hair and a hanky are emerging as key items in the trial.

The trial was adjourned for the day about 4pm. Mr Agius’ opening is expected to go for about a day and a half. Because the court will not sit on Thursday and Friday, this means witnesses in the trial are unlikely to be called until next week.

Mr Rayney, who has been granted bail until the prosecution has finished presenting its evidence in the case, denies any involvement in the murder of his 44-year-old estranged wife Corryn, a Supreme Court registrar who went missing on August 7, 2007.

Earlier in the day the court heard that a card with Lloyd Rayney's name on it was found in Kings Park days before his wife's body was discovered.

They also heard the court planned to visit several sites with relevance to the case, including the Bentley Community Hall where Mrs Rayney attended a boot-scooting class the night she disappeared, and the Kings Park burial site where her body was found.

In court Mr Rayney, who arrived at the court flanked by daughters Caitlyn, 18, and Sarah, 15, entered a formal plea of not guilty.

The case is being heard in the District Court on Hay Street instead of the historic Supreme Court building because of space considerations and considerable public interest.

It was standing room only in the public gallery, which was packed with a combination of media, curious public and friends and family of the Rayney family.

The WA Supreme Court judge-only trial is set down for up to five months but is expected to last closer to two.

Corryn’s sister Sharon Coutinho and father Ernest Da Silva are also at the court.

Mr Rayney was granted bail this morning until the Crown's evidence is heard, but only on the condition that he not communicate with any witnesses except his daughters and sister.

Bail was set at $200,000, comprising a $100,000 personal undertaking and a $100,000 surety from his sister.

Mr Rayney was previously granted bail but that order elapsed today with the start of the trial.

Described as the “prime” and “only” suspect within months of his wife’s body being found in Kings Park, Mr Rayney was charged more than three years later in December 2010.

The case is being heard in the District Court on Hay Street instead of the historic Supreme Court building because of space considerations.


The West Australian

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