The defense relies on twelve factors in the murder trial of widow Natasha Beth Darcy.
There is no doubt. Natasha Beth Darcy told police “lots and lots of lies” following the death of her partner, grazier Mathew Dunbar, according to her defense barrister.
Ms Darcy is accused of assassinating Mr Dunbar in August 2017 by sedating him with a cocktail of drugs – blended in a NutriBullet – and then gassing him on his sheep property ‘Pandora’ near Walcha.
The alleged murder occurred on the property for which Ms Darcy had been named sole beneficiary following months of pleading with Mr Dunbar to amend his will.
Ms Darcy’s barrister Janet Manuell SC told the jury during her closing arguments today in the NSW Supreme Court that her client had harmed herself by telling repeated lies.
“Consider this; one of the difficulties with lying is that once you’ve told one lie, you’re required to continue telling a whole lot more lies in order to maintain the original lie,” Ms Manuell stated without elaborating on the ‘original lie.’
“Some people confess to the original lie; others do not, and their actions only serve to exacerbate the situation.”
That is precisely what has occurred here – Ms Darcy has made matters worse for herself through her repeated lies.”
Ms Manuell then questioned the jury about why people lie.
“They may believe they have been falsely accused… they may believe no one will believe them.”
Ms Manuell told the jury that if they believed there was a “reasonable possibility” Mr Dunbar committed suicide, they could not convict Ms Darcy of murder.
“If there is a reasonable possibility that Mr Dunbar committed suicide, you must acquit the defendant,” Ms Manuell stated.
The Crown asserts that Ms Darcy was aware of Mr Dunbar’s history of depression and previous threats to commit suicide.
“This was known to the accused, and she exploited it by killing him in such a way that it appeared to be a suicide,” Mr Hatfield stated in his opening remarks.
Ms Manuell told the jury that it was up to the prosecution to rule out the possibility of suicide and argued that this could not be done for 12 reasons:
- A history of depression in Matthew Dunbar
- Previous reports of suicidal ideation
- A search on the family computer for various methods of suicide and ” “how to put an end to suicidal thoughts’ (which the prosecution argues Ms Darcy carried out)
- The Crown cannot rule out Mr Dunbar’s “active and knowing participation” in obtaining a helium cylinder (which the trial has heard, caused his death)
- The implausibility of Ms Darcy watching a video about a suicide method that the Crown alleges she copied in order to later murder Mr Dunbar while seated next to him in a Tamworth cafe on the final day of his life
- How the video was accessed on Ms Darcy’s phone for one minute and 48 seconds at the cafe at a time when the defence argues Mr Dunbar had not “accessed” his phone, according to tim
- The improbability of Ms Darcy watching the video after purchasing the cylinder of helium
- The amount of time Mr Dunbar had to prepare for the manner in which he would later die when Ms Darcy and her children took their cat to the vet on August 1. (Mr Dunbar was discovered dead in the early hours of August 2)
- The difficulty Ms Darcy would have encountered removing an item from the helium cylinder to allow gas to escape
- The presence of Mr Dunbar’s DNA on the shower hose that had been connected to the helium cylinder
- The presence of Mr Dunbar’s DNA on an elastic band