Corryn Rayney was unhappy with her husband for "at least ten years" before her death, knew he had been unfaithful and was concerned about his gambling, her sister told Lloyd Rayney’s Supreme Court murder trial today.
Sharon Coutinho described Mr Rayney's demeanour in the days and weeks after Mrs Rayney's death, telling the court she "honestly felt that he had done something".
The court also heard from Mrs Rayney’s best friend Julie Porter, who gave evidence Mr Rayney appeared "shocked and fearful" when she told him she had a camera outside her house and only relaxed when she added that the camera was not recording.
Ms Coutinho told the court her sister was not happy with Mr Rayney "for a long time, I would say at least ten years".
She said that in the months before her death Mrs Rayney began to look into Mr Rayney’s finances and the couple were sleeping in separate beds from June 2007 – two months before she was killed on August 7 – after advice from Mrs Rayney’s lawyer it could be important in the future.
"She just didn’t like him, she didn’t want him around," Ms Coutinho said.
"She wanted to be in that home with her girls without him."
Ms Coutinho, who spoke to Mrs Rayney regularly about her marital difficulties, said her sister was looking forward to a talk with Mr Rayney planned for the night of August 7 after her bootscooting class, saying he had “finally” agreed to discuss his finances.
"She was looking forward to it," Ms Coutinho said.
"She told me that at last she could move on with her life... she said to me she felt like she was in limbo and she wanted to move on."
Ms Coutinho also gave evidence about Mr Rayney’s demeanour in the wake of Mrs Rayney’s disappearance, including when he phoned her on August 8 – the day after Mrs Rayney was killed.
"He said to me that he couldn’t find Corryn, did I know where she was," Ms Coutinho said.
"I was quite confused at the time because he never rang me. He said to me that she was supposed to come home and have a discussion and she didn’t come home... it was all very disjointed, it didn’t really make sense to me... at the time I honestly felt that he had done something."
Defence lawyers for Mr Rayney objected to this evidence and the judge said that he would not take it into account.
Later when Ms Coutinho went to the Rayneys’ home she said Mr Rayney "could not look at me", which she described as "very unusual".
In court Ms Coutinho was visibly upset when discussing the day she learned her sister’s body had been found.
She said Mr Rayney, daughters Caitlyn and Sarah, and Mr Rayney’s sister came to her house. Others, including the parish priest, were already there.
"I remember Caitlyn being very upset when she walked in," Ms Coutinho said.
"Sarah was also very serious but she was much younger than so I don’t think she understood fully what was happening and I remember Lloyd being very composed."
She said the priest was saying a prayer for Mrs Rayney when Mr Rayney’s phone rang and he walked away to answer it "like it didn’t mean anything".
On the day of Mrs Rayney’s funeral on September 1 Ms Coutinho said she was surprised by Mr Rayney’s eulogy.
"It was a copy of his wedding speech," she said.
"It was word for word his wedding speech."
During cross examination Mr Rayney’s lawyer Tony Elliot suggested Mr Rayney’s demeanour in the aftermath of his wife’s death, particularly on the day he learned her body had been found, may have been him putting on a brave face for his children.
Ms Coutinho agreed Mr Rayney was a private, quiet man who did not overly show or discuss his feelings.
Mr Rayney has pleaded not guilty to the wilful murder of his wife and has denied having anything to do with her death.
Rohan Coutinho, the husband of Ms Coutinho, also gave evidence about the relationship between Mr and Mrs Rayney, saying there were at times heated arguments.
"She always seemed to have a go," Mr Coutinho said.
"She never held back her feelings. She’d have a go at him and there was really no retaliation (from) Lloyd, she pushed him."
Mr Coutinho said he told Mrs Rayney he was personally "not very comfortable with the way she spoke to him".
Mr Coutinho also appeared to contradict some of his wife’s testimony about Mr Rayney’s demeanour, saying he showed emotion and cried when he and his daughters came to their house on the day they learned Mrs Rayney’s body had been found.
He also described a phone call before Mrs Rayney’s body was found in which Mr Rayney cried at the suggestion his wife was dead.
He said Mrs Rayney confided to himself and his wife that she was "living with a snake" and had learned Mr Rayney had been unfaithful.
"By the time she got to know about his infidelity it didn’t... matter so much anymore," he said, adding that it nevertheless "upset her quite a lot".
"She told us that her marriage was not-recoverable and divorce was the only choice she had."
While on a trip to Melbourne in July 2007, Mr Coutinho said Mrs Rayney told him she "realised there was a problem" with her relationship on her honeymoon.
Days before Mrs Rayney’s death Mr Coutinho said Mrs Rayney "seemed very happy".
"There was something about that day, she was so content with herself," he said.
He said Mrs Rayney was "happy with her decision to leave Lloyd" and planned to "take him to the cleaners".
The court was told of a friendship between Mrs Rayney and a father from her daughters’ school while Mr Rayney was working in Bermuda over a period of nearly two years. But Mr Coutinho said he had not heard any suggestion their relationship was anything more than a friendship.
He gave evidence that knowledge of Mr Rayney’s infidelity was one of the reasons his own relationship with Mr Rayney started to cool in late 2006 and early 2007. Until then Mr Coutinho said he had got on well with Mr Rayney.
Later Ms Porter gave evidence that she helped Mrs Rayney move a spare bed into the downstairs study on June 25, 2007, which she was told was for Mr Rayney.
The Rayneys’ daughter Caitlyn was home at the time and expressed concern people would find out about the separation between Mr and Mrs Rayney.
“She said to me ‘I don’t want anybody from school to know’ and I said ‘I won’t tell anybody anything’," Ms Porter said.
Ms Porter told the court about a conversation with Mr Rayney in which he mentioned he was buying about $25,000 worth of security at his Como home and asked about her own security arrangements.
Ms Porter said when she told him she had a camera outside her house he appeared “shocked and fearful”.
When she added that the camera was not recording Mr Rayney “seemed to relax”.