Gambler husband took chance on murder, court told
Gambler husband took chance on murder, court told

Lloyd Rayney planned his wife's murder and buried her upside down in a bid to hide her cause of death after she relentlessly pursued what she believed was his "big secret", a Supreme Court judge was told yesterday.

Prosecutor John Agius spent yesterday in Mr Rayney's wilful murder trial explaining the alleged manner in which Corryn Rayney was killed and buried in a Kings Park bush grave and how the mother of two had been issuing threats and ultimatums to her barrister husband in the days before her death.

Mr Agius said Mr Rayney, who has pleaded not guilty, had secretly listened to his wife air suspicions that he was hiding tens of thousands of dollars of income and had returned to a gambling habit after he organised the interception of his wife's home phonecalls to friends.

The judge-alone trial before Justice Brian Martin was told that Mrs Rayney had told friends she suspected her husband of "sleeping around", gambling and accepting "shady deals", including a $200,000 payment from client Hancock Prospecting for which she claimed he only told her he had received $74,000.

She believed Mr Rayney had a "big secret" that she would find out and use in Family Court proceedings, Mr Agius claimed.

More details of the couple's spiteful marriage breakdown came as the prosecutor suggested Mr Rayney had been thinking of a "final solution" and planned her murder two days before she was killed on August 7, 2007 and carried out the crime in the belief her body would never be found.

The prosecution yesterday submitted that Mr Rayney would have needed just 20 minutes to dig the grave, which was up to 1.2m deep, and had buried her upside down in a bid to obscure her cause of death.

An "avatar" simulation of how Mrs Rayney was buried was shown to Justice Martin.

"She was deliberately buried head down, feet up . . . so as to encourage the decomposition of her head and neck and to put that furthest from the surface," Mr Agius said.

He said the State believed there was "no coincidence" the 44-year-old was buried this way after suffering injuries to her head, neck and brain.

Justice Martin had been told that her position in the grave and the decomposition made identifying a precise cause of death difficult.

Mr Agius said the clandestine burial had taken place at night, with the killer trying to camouflage the site with a branch.

Police uncovered the grave after following an oil trail from a car that had been used to move her body and was accidentally damaged before it was dumped in Subiaco.

Mr Agius yesterday suggested evidence showed Mr Rayney planned to kill his wife as early as August 5 that year after she threatened to subpoena his legal clients unless he revealed his finances to her.

She had also told a friend on the phone that she was going to tell people about her partner's gambling and infidelity, Mr Agius said, with the trial told Mrs Rayney suspected her husband of having an affair with a former colleague at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Centrebet records indicated Mr Rayney had spent $46,800 on gambling between April 2006 and early July 2007, Mr Agius said.

Financial records showed Mr Rayney had arranged for Hancock Prospecting to pay three invoices totalling $208,000 into a trust account for his daughter, with the account having an instruction on it not to send bank correspondence to the Rayneys' home address.

The court heard that Mr Rayney later moved the money back into his own account.

Mr Agius alleged Mr Rayney was "never" going to provide his wife with the financial details she wanted as she headed for divorce.

Nor was Mr Rayney going to "take a risk that his wife would expose him".

Instead, Mr Rayney had created the belief he was going to co-operate as part of his murder plan, the prosecutor alleged.

"He rolled the dice," Mr Agius said.

"He was a gambler. He murdered his wife."

The West Australian

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