Woman found guilty over 'evil' plot to murder friend and steal her children

A Victorian woman who killed her friend so she could steal her children, has been found guilty of murder.

Christine Lyons hatched the plan to kill vulnerable mother Samantha Kelly, roping in her two Bendigo housemates.

They carried out their evil plot to kill their housemate because Lyons couldn’t get pregnant, and planned to raise Ms Kelly’s four children as her own.

Christine Lyons, 47, was found guilty by a Supreme Court jury of murdering Samantha Kelly, and of attempted murder over a failed attempt on her life days earlier. Source: AAP

Lyons ordered her lover to bash Ms Kelly to death with a hammer. He’s now serving 13 years.

In the days after the murder, Lyons pretended she was worried about Ms Kelly’s wellbeing.

Bendigo mother Samantha Kelly was killed in 2016. Source: 7 News

“It is unusual that she hasn’t been on Facebook. It is unusual she hasn’t rung the kids,” she told 7 News in February 2016.

Lyons was also found guilty of attempted murder after it was revealed she tried several times before to kill Ms Kelly.

Ronald Lyons was convicted on the lesser charges of attempted murder and assisting an offender. Source: AAP

Her friend Ronald Lyons, who also lived with the Bendigo trio, was found guilty of attempted murder and hiding Ms Kelly’s body.

When the verdict was read out, Christine Lyons burst into tears and her face turned red as she sobbed into her hands. Ronald Lyons shook his head in disbelief as he stared at jurors, who were also crying.

Tracey Lubcke, the aunt of Samantha Kelly, speaks to the media outside of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Source: AAP

The victim’s aunt Tracey Lubcke screamed outside court: “Thank God!”

“We’re absolutely ecstatic,” said Danielle Stevenson, the partner of the victim’s brother.

“We are so happy. It’s exactly what we wanted.

“They’ve put away three people that manipulated and used a very vulnerable person,” Ms Stevenson said.

Ms Kelly’s children are now being raised by their uncle, who has devoted his life to telling them the truth.

“The biggest thing that we’ve got to tackle at the moment is to keep on reminding them that their mother loved them,” the victim’s brother Michael Stevenson said outside court.