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No trust between couple: prosecutor
No trust between couple: prosecutor

Supreme Court registrar Corryn Rayney was putting estranged husband Lloyd Rayney under extreme pressure to end the marriage on her terms at the time her murder occurred, the Supreme Court was told yesterday.

The Rayneys' relationship had "irretrievably broken down" and the couple had moved into separate bedrooms while living in their Como home, prosecutor John Agius said.

The 17-year marriage was in a "parlous state" and "there was absolutely no trust left" between them, he said.

Mrs Rayney believed that her barrister husband was hiding "his infidelity, his return to gambling and apparent concealing of income".

Mr Agius said that evidence would show "how fired up the deceased was about what she would do to the accused if she didn't get what she wanted".

"She wanted him to leave the family home," he said.

"She wanted their daughters to reside with her in the family home.

"She formed a view that her lawyer was not being tough enough."

Mr Agius said that Mrs Rayney had found a new divorce lawyer and then warned her husband that she would use the legal process to force his clients into revealing how much he had been paid.

He said there was "a long string of emails between solicitors" and the couple which showed Mrs Rayney was insisting on seeing his income - including a specific mention of Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting.

The huge mining company had been "a very good client" of Mr Rayney's private practice as a barrister, paying him a total of $750,000 since 2005.

Mr Agius said that Mr Rayney had directed Hancock Prospecting to put $208,000 of his fees into a building society account as trustee for the couple's youngest daughter, Sarah, in "an attempt to hide his assets".

"The deceased had been pressing for the accounts for his financial records," he said.

Lloyd Rayney approaches the media throng. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

"He was under threat that his wife's lawyers would subpoena evidence of his fees if he did not provide them."

Mr Agius said that an accountant would give evidence that Mr Rayney led him to believe that, if Mrs Rayney wanted the financial material, she would have to obtain it by court order.

He said that when Mrs Rayney confronted her husband by email, "he lied about his conversation" with the accountant.

In an email, she said he had "reneged on her a second time to provide that financial information".

Mr Agius said that Mrs Rayney was making "serious threats" against her husband who, the prosecution alleged, had secretly tapped the family's home telephone and could listen to her conversations.

"On the phone to a friend she spoke of ruining his reputation as a barrister and at the time her phone was intercepted," Mr Agius said. "She had told one of her best friends that she was going to do all she could do to ensure that the accused would not become a QC."

Mr Agius said Mr Rayney had previously applied unsuccessfully to be appointed a Queens Counsel and that it was one of his professional ambitions.

Mr Agius said there was evidence from the emails, Mrs Rayney's friends and Mr Rayney himself that the couple were due to have a meeting about their separation plans on August 7, 2007 - the night Mrs Rayney disappeared.

She was planning to "receive his financial records and discuss him moving out of the family home", he said

He said that, during a conversation with friend Shana Russell earlier that evening, Mrs Rayney "appeared optimistic about the meeting and that the accused had agreed to provide the financial records". He said that she had told her lawyer that the "use of the word 'subpoena' seemed to have an effect on her husband and she wanted to see what transpired" at the planned meeting.

Mr Agius said that belief that Mrs Rayney went home from her bootscooting class to meet Mr Rayney and that he killed her that evening, was one of the "building blocks" of the prosecution case.

He said that another building block was that whoever killed Mrs Rayney went to significant effort to hide the body.

"No one else would have gone to the trouble of killing her and hiding the body," he said.

"He had a motive to kill."

Mr Agius said Mrs Rayney had "no enemies that the evidence will reveal".