The sole beneficiary of an NSW rancher’s estate – now accused of murdering him and deeming him suicide – made a “really strange” request for a ram sedative two months before death, he said. heard a jury.
Natasha Beth Darcy, 46, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mathew Dunbar after the 42-year-old sheep farmer was found dead at his home near Walcha on August 2, 2017.
A veterinary nurse working in the city, halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, told the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday that Darcy called to make an appointment on June 19, 2017.
Towards the end of the call, Darcy mentioned that she needed to take a ram sedative.
“She had never asked about it before,” veterinarian Meleika McKinnon said at the trial.
“I didn’t know she was taking care of the sheep.”
Ms McKinnon shared her concern with veterinarian Rachel Greig, who approached her with Mr Dunbar when he picked up one of her working dogs the next day.
“He didn’t seem to have any idea what I was talking about,” Ms. Greig said.
Explaining that she had been taken aback by Mr Dunbar’s response at the clinic, Ms Greig called him later to clear up any confusion, the court said.
Mr Dunbar told the vet he didn’t need a ram sedative until one of them noticed that Darcy’s request was ‘really strange’ and they didn’t know what was going on. .
Ms Greig reported the case to police on June 29.
“I was very worried,” she said.
“I couldn’t think of any reason she would ask, no legal reason.
Clinic records showed that the type of ram sedative Mr Dunbar’s partner had requested was only ordered once by Mr Dunbar between July 2015 and his death.
That December 2016 order was for a single-use shot, Ms Greig said.
Darcy pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting suicide, but the Crown rejected the plea, saying Mr Dunbar’s $ 3.5 million estate had motivated her to murder.
After dinner and some wines at Mr Dunbar’s farm on August 1, Darcy is accused of mixing a number of sedatives in a blender and giving it to Mr Dunbar in a glass.
At 1:14 am on August 2, Darcy’s husband – a paramedic from whom she had been separated for some time – received a message saying, “Tell the police to come home, I don’t want to.
Tash or the kids to find me ”.
The jury heard a friend of Mr Dunbar’s texted police in similar terms when the friend committed suicide in a back yard earlier.
Darcy rang triple zero at 2 a.m. saying she discovered her partner in bed with a plastic bag and a gas cylinder.
Darcy’s lawyer Janet Manuel SC spoke to the jury about the breeder’s physical health issues, his depression, Mr Dunbar’s own suicide threat in June 2017 and his subsequent admission to a psychiatric unit .
Mr Dunbar did not leave a suicide note, but the jury is expected to hear psychiatric testimony indicating it was “really common”.
Much of the Crown’s case centers on Internet searches conducted on various devices on topics such as poisonous mushrooms, poisonous plants, methods of suicide, and “can the police see the websites you visit?” on your mobile ”.
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