The West

Daughters give insight into life without Mum
On the stand: Caitlyn and Sarah Rayney arrive at court yesterday. Picture: Nic Ellis

More than five years after Corryn Rayney was murdered, her bedroom and bathroom in her family home in Como remain untouched.

At the request of her two daughters, Caitlyn and Sarah, everything including the clothes and shoes in the former Supreme Court registrar's bedroom has been left as it was on the night of August 7, 2007, when Mrs Rayney disappeared.

"Everything's the same as it was," 18-year-old Caitlyn told the Supreme Court. "My sister and I wanted to keep it like that."

Details of the family's life in the lead-up to their mother's disappearance emerged yesterday when the two teenagers took the stand as prosecution witnesses in the wilful murder trial of their father, barrister Lloyd Rayney.

Much of the girls' evidence painted a picture of a mundane family life driven by a busy morning routine of getting to work and school, as well as providing a glimpse into the personalities and marital problems of their parents.

The girls, who both appeared confident and composed as they gave evidence to a packed courtroom, also disclosed details of the night their mother disappeared.

Caitlyn, who was 13 at the time of her mother's murder, said her father was protective of the siblings after her mother's disappearance and worried about them being exposed to publicity.

She told the court her father, who looked straight ahead and did not look at his children throughout their testimony, wanted to keep their lives as normal as possible.

"So things that Mum used to do for us, he then did," she said. "It was not like suddenly I became a parent or Sarah became a parent, or we started looking after ourselves. He would cook just like Mum would cook. He would do the washing the same that he and Mum would do the washing. He would drive us around."

Caitlyn said she had been aware of her parents' marital problems and her mother told her they would be separating, but they were still living together and all still had the "same dinner to eat".

She said she thought her father was "sad" about the separation.

"(Mum) had said that they would be separating, but that they would make sure that everything that happened to Sarah and I, that we'd be absolutely comfortable about, that we would never be stopped from either parent, that we would see both parents as often as we wanted to, and that is something we wanted," she said.

The elder of Mr Rayney's daughters described her father's ongoing complaints of a sore back, saying he did not take part in any physical exercise, was not responsible for handiwork or gardening at the family house and had "soft" hands.

"He eats pizza with a knife and fork," Caitlyn said. "He does not get his hands dirty at all."

Sarah, who was 10 at the time of her mother's murder, described reading aloud to her father before she went to sleep on the night of the disappearance.

She also said her father had complained about his painful back for as long as she could remember.

The West Australian

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