Woman guilty of partner's murder after claiming he died by suicide

·2-min read

A NSW woman who denied sedating and gassing her sheep farmer partner has been found guilty of murder.

Natasha Beth Darcy pleaded not guilty to murdering Mathew Dunbar, who was found dead in his bed on his Pandora property in the Northern Tablelands town of Walcha on August 2, 2017.

The 46-year-old's NSW Supreme Court trial began on March 31, with the Crown alleging she murdered the grazier to inherit his $3.5 million property, knowing she was the sole beneficiary.

She contended the 42-year-old killed himself, but the Crown rejected her guilty plea to aiding or abetting suicide.

A supplied undated copy image obtained Thursday, April 1, 2021 shows 42-year-old sheep farmer Mathew Dunbar.
Natasha Beth Darcy has been found guilty of murdering NSW sheep farmer Mathew Dunbar (pictured). Source: AAP

Justice Julia Lonergan directed the jurors to entirely put out of their minds the issue of assisted suicide, reminding them of the absence of any evidence about such a scenario. 

After more than two days of deliberations, the jury returned a guilty verdict on Tuesday.

Darcy will face a sentence hearing in October.

Mathew Dunbar pictured with Natasha Darcy.
Natasha Beth Darcy with Mr Dunbar. Source: Facebook

Partner given a Nutribullet cocktail of sedatives

Prosecutor Brett Hatfield alleged Darcy planned the murder for some time, citing hundreds of Google searches on death methods starting with poisonous spiders and fungi.

He said she sedated her partner using a Nutribullet to blend a cocktail of sedatives, before moving a gas tank into his room and gassing him in his bed.

The jury was told of a letter Darcy sent to a friend after Mr Dunbar's death, offering her $20,000 to tell lies about him that would assist her at any murder trial.

Agreed facts tendered in the case state that in 2009, Darcy hit her husband Colin Crossman on the head with a hammer as he slept.

A supplied undated copy image obtained Thursday, April 1, 2021 shows 42-year-old sheep farmer Mathew Dunbar.
Mr Dunbar was found dead in his bed in August 2017. Source: AAP

Three days later when he was again asleep she took a tin of petrol from the garage and poured it on the bedroom floor and set it alight.

She had earlier given him a meal of tacos, and samples later showed he had sedatives in his system.

The previous month, she had taken out a life insurance policy which paid $700,000 to her on the death of Mr Crossman.

Mr Hatfield said these events indicate Ms Darcy has a tendency to sedate and inflict serious harm on her domestic partners for financial gain.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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