Why photo of dirty dishwasher has become the focus of a murder trial

·3-min read

If your murder weapon was a blender and a glass tumbler, wouldn't you put them in the dishwasher and get rid of the evidence?

That's a question a NSW Supreme Court jury's been left to ponder as it prepares to decide if Natasha Beth Darcy murdered her partner Matthew Dunbar.

The 46-year-old denies giving the Northern Tablelands sheep grazier a drug-filled blended drink and then gassing him in bed before his death on August 2, 2017.

An undated image tendered as evidence shows a NutriBullet cup in the dishwasher at Mathew Dunbara's property Pandora.
This photo of a dishwasher has been tendered as evidence in a murder trial. Source: AAP

Prosecutor Brett Hatfield has suggested Darcy started looking for ways to murder the Walcha farmer by poison in February 2017, citing searches on her iPhone and on a computer.

But Darcy's barrister questioned why her client didn't wash up after supposedly executing the first stage of her quest.

"The careful and deliberate planning for five months, but she doesn't turn on the dishwasher?" Janet Manuell SC said in her closing address on Wednesday.

"If she had a guilty mind, don't you think she'd turn on the dishwasher?

"(It's) an easy way to get rid of ... this evidence."

Ms Manuell directed attention to photos taken of the kitchen after Mr Dunbar's body was found, showing a "gritty" pink residue down the side of the blender and dishes elsewhere unwashed.

A supplied undated copy image obtained Thursday, April 1, 2021 shows 42-year-old sheep farmer Mathew Dunbar. Natasha Beth Darcy is accused of murdering Mathew Dunbar after allegedly making it appear he had committed suicide in August 2017 on his property
An undated photo shows 42-year-old sheep farmer Mathew Dunbar. Source: AAP/Supplied

"All she had to do was press the button to turn on the dishwasher - and it wasn't done," Ms Manuell said.

She said jurors may also ask why Darcy didn't just fill the NutriBullet with all the other drugs in the house if she was so intent on killing Mr Dunbar.

"It doesn't make sense that she would moderate the amount and moderate the different types of drugs if the ultimate purpose was to kill Mr Dunbar by the (suicide method)," she said.

When Darcy attended a vet earlier, Mr Dunbar had the time and opportunity to put into effect many of the steps required to put the suicide method into effect, Ms Manuell said.

The Crown says Darcy tried to kill her partner more than once knowing full well she would inherit his multi-million dollar farm, and left "a staged scene to conceal the fact this was murder".

Her police interview was full of inconsistencies and lies she "made up on the run," including her reasons for walking into Mr Dunbar's bedroom the night of his death.

An undated image tendered as evidence shows a general view of Mathew Dunbar’s property Pandora. Natasha Beth Darcy is accused of murdering Mathew Dunbar after allegedly making it appear he had committed suicide in August 2017 on his property
Natasha Beth Darcy is accused of murdering Mathew Dunbar after allegedly making it appear he had committed suicide in August 2017 on his property "Pandora" on the outskirts of Walcha. Source: AAP/Supplied

Darcy called triple zero about 2am after she says she walked into the bedroom and saw a bag over Mr Dunbar's head.

The Crown has also tendered evidence of Google searches from Darcy's two phones, neither of which had passcodes.

"Is there a poison that can kill someone but be untraceable at autopsy," was one precise topic searched, the jury was told.

The trial, which began nine weeks ago, continues on Thursday.

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