He has been found guilty of murdering a woman who fed her husband biscuits covered in sleeping pills, wrapped him in a blanket and put him in a backyard freezer.
Rebecca Payne, 43, faced a three-week trial in Mildura High Court, accused of killing her 68-year-old husband in the small town of Walbeep, in northwest Victoria, in September 2020.
She confesses that she killed Noel Payne by drugging him with temazepam, which she crushed and placed inside the icing of two homemade biscuits, then hid his body in the freezer in the back of their house.
However, she denied having committed murder and instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter because she claimed she did not intend to kill him.
The jury retired to deliberate on their verdict on Tuesday afternoon, returning less than 24 hours later with a guilty verdict.
Judge Rita Incerti thanked the jury for their service and dismissed them.
“You were obviously attentive, and I want to thank you for that,” she told jurors on Wednesday.
Prosecutor David Glenn said earlier in the trial that Payne “wanted to be free” of her husband, who had been violent and controlling with her and another woman over many years.
The couple had divorced twice, in 2008 and 2012, and during the second split, Mr. Payne moved a younger woman into their family home and then pursued a sexual relationship with both of them.
Glenn said after she killed her husband Payne, two of her sons and the younger woman headed to Mildora on a shopping spree on his credit card and bought pets including a fish, a bird and a lizard.
When the police inquired about her husband’s whereabouts, they took the refrigerator containing his body to a neighbour’s house. The neighbor’s son opened the refrigerator and called the police.
Payne, who remains in custody, will return to court at a later date for a pre-sentencing hearing.
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