The West

Rayney murder case utter nonsense
Lloyd Rayney with daughter, Sarah, and defence lawyer David Edwardson arrived at court. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

Update: The idea Lloyd Rayney would be capable of killing his wife in their family home and calmly helping daughter Caitlyn with her homework while Corryn’s body was still awaiting burial “beggars belief”, the Perth barrister’s Supreme Court murder trial heard today.

The court was also told Mr Rayney, who was 11kg lighter than his wife at the time of her death, would likely have come off second best in a confrontation with Mrs Rayney.

Delivering his closing submission in the 12 week trial Mr Edwardson said the prosecution “hasn’t come within cooee of proving… that Lloyd Rayney was the killer”.

“If Lloyd Rayney is a highly intelligent experienced lawyer… there are a couple of basic things that he would understand,” he said.

“The first is that the police will always want to identify the crime scene. The second is that you need to control or would need to control any possibility of detection by third parties.

“Moreover, if Lloyd Rayney had contemplated the perfect murder… it beggars belief that he would identify and plan and consider executing his wife in the home that he occupied with his two children.”

Mr Edwardson said the prospect Mr Rayney had planned his wife’s murder was impossible because of witness testimony he would not have known he had the house to himself that night and the prospect it had been a spontaneous act did not fit the evidence.

“Let’s assume for a moment that her death was caused by Lloyd Rayney at home without any pre-planning but… in a moment of aggression,” he said.

“Think about logically how he was going to achieve that: where was he going to get the shovel from, for starters? The bottom line is there is no evidence of Mr Rayney running around trying to find digging equipment.

“Secondly, the other problem with the spontaneous act theory… is that his behaviour and his demeanour, on any view of the totality of the evidence, is utterly inconsistent with a person who has lost self control (and) been up all night digging graves.

"And then he’s come back to town and managed to clean himself up, get his daughters to school and appear at the CCC without blinking an eyelid… that is utter nonsense, it’s absurd.”

Similarly, Mr Edwardson question whether Mr Rayney would have been able to welcome his daughter Caitlyn home from a concert and help her with her homework “as though nothing has happened” while Mrs Rayney’s body may have been concealed down the side of the house.

“Adrenalin or not how could anyone in those circumstances maintain… composure knowing you had just executed your wife and the mother of your two children, particularly in circumstances where it is common ground that Mr Rayney is and always has been a committed and devoted father,” he said.

“He might be running on adrenalin at that stage but… he’s still got to dispose of the body… he’s still got to retrieve the car, the body, bury her without anybody seeing her, without anybody being the wiser.”

Mr Edwardson said it was significant no witness had seen Mr Rayney walking, driving or catching a taxi home on the night the prosecution alleges he killed his wife. He also pointed to the lack of physical evidence connecting Mrs Rayney’s death to the Rayneys’ Como home.

“Nobody hears anything, nobody sees anything, there’s not even any physical evidence from Corryn Rayney’s body or her clothing… consistent with (the Rayneys’ home) being the crime scene,” he said. “No fingerprints, no sighting.”

He said luminol testing by police for blood or signs blood had been cleared up did not return a positive result.

“What is significant in our submission is that (the Rayneys’ home) is not the crime scene,” he said.

“You’ve got no blood, you’ve got no missing teeth (from Mrs Rayney’s jeans zip), you’ve also got the fact that we know there was one contact lens that had popped out… and to date the police have never located that."

He said the question of why a dinner place card with Mr Rayney's name on it was found close to his wife's grave may be “one of those mysteries that can never be solved”.

Mr Edwardson has been given today to present the defence’s closing argument. Prosecutor John Agius deliver the prosecution’s closing submission yesterday.

Both sides have also made extensive written submissions.

Justice Brian Martin will then decide Mr Rayney’s fate. He has not given any indication as to how long that decision will take.

The contentious liquidambar seed pods allegedly recovered from Mrs Rayney’s hair also returned to the spotlight, with Mr Edwarson suggesting it was “at least possible” one officer had “clearly manufactured evidence” in relation to them.

Mr Edwardson said the defence did not have to prove the police had planted the pods but that it was “at least a reasonable possibility” they were not in Mrs Rayney’s hair before her post-mortem examination was conducted.

“This case bristles with reasonable doubt on every front,” he said.

The prosecution and defence have both presented their closing submissions and Justice Brian Martin revealed today he will deliver his verdict on November 1.

The West Australian

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