The West

Rayney officer copied parts of statement
Lloyd Rayney arriving at court.

A cigarette butt recovered from outside the Rayneys' Como home was DNA matched to a person "well known to police" who may have been in the vicinity on the night Corryn Rayney died, her husband's Supreme Court murder trial was told today.

Defence lawyer David Edwardson told Justice Brian Martin the court would hear evidence linking the butt to the man, whose full name was not given.

The court also heard that police records showed someone with the same last name as that man was stopped by police in the nearby suburb of Manning for a minor traffic infringement on August 7, 2007 - the night Mrs Rayney went missing.

The cigarette butt was among items recovered from the footpath during a police search on August 22, 2007.

The revelation - the first time the defence has overtly suggested an alternate suspect to Lloyd Rayney - followed a concession earlier in the day from one of the police officers who investigated Mrs Rayney's disappearance that he copied some parts of his statement from another officer.

Senior constable Warren Wheatley gave evidence that he and Detective Sergeant Paul Robinson attended Mr Rayney’s Como home on August 8, 2007 – the day after Mrs Rayney disappeared.

Both officers later wrote statements about the events of the day, but the court heard today of similarities between the two statements.

Under questioning, Snr Const Wheatley agreed with Justice Martin’s assertion he at taken “at least some of the wording in these paragraphs from Mr Robinson’s statement”.

The defence is disputing claims in both statements that Mr Rayney was asked about his home alarm system and told the officers that it was not working.

The prosecution claims Mr Rayney lied about the alarm not working to prevent the police from accessing electronic records that would have shown the alarm was activated on the night of August 7 when they claim Mr Rayney drove to King's Park to bury his wife's body.

The defence claims Mr Rayney was never asked about the alarm.

By the time police accessed the alarm's records, those pertaining to August 7 could not be recovered.

Mr Edwardson said: "I'm putting to you that, contrary to what you assert in your statement Lloyd Rayney was not asked by Paul Robinson anything about activations or deactivations of the alarm system."

Snr Const Wheatley disagreed. "He said he was having problems with the alarm system," he said.

Earlier a neighbour of the Rayney’s was questioned about his recollection of seeing Mr Rayney mow the lawn outside his home on the weekend after his wife went missing.

Mr Edwardson suggested to Christopher Reeve that he had mistaken a gardener for Mr Rayney.

“What I’m suggesting to you is this: whoever you saw was not Mr Rayney, it was their gardener,” Mr Edwardson said.

Mr Reeve disagreed, saying: “No, it was Mr Rayney.”

The State alleges that liquidambar seed pods recovered from Mrs Rayney’s hair prove she was killed at home, where there is a liquidambar tree at the front of the property.

Mr Rayney has pleaded not guilty to wilful murder.

Mr Reeve gave a statement to the police in December 2007, in which he said he had seen Mr Rayney mowing the lawn on either Saturday, August 12 or Sunday, August 13 of that year.

The court also heard from a friend of Mrs Rayney’s, who took the Rayneys’ daughter Cailtyn to a Gwen Stefani concert on the night Mrs Rayney disappeared.

The prosecution claims Mr Rayney killed his wife while Caitlyn was at that concert and concealed her body before his daughter returned home.

Mrs Rayney’s friend testified she initially told Mr Rayney the concert would finish at about 9.15pm or 9.30pm that night although in fact it finished about an hour later.

She said Mr Rayney appeared the same as usual and invited her into the house when she dropped Caitlyn off that night.

William Carr, the lawyer who was retained by Mr Rayney to handle his marital breakdown, appeared as the final witness of the day.

He told the court Mr Rayney was well aware of his obligations to disclose his financial information and documents to Mrs Rayney’s lawyer and was pushing for 50:50 custody.

Mr Carr said he advised Mr Rayney that Mrs Rayney’s plan to subpoena his clients to gain access to his financial details was unlikely to succeed.

The trial has been adjourned until Monday 10am.

The West Australian

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