The woman who killed Walcha farmer Mathew Dunbar in order to inherit his estate has been charged over an alleged plot to try and beat her murder charge.
Natasha Beth Darcy, 46, is accused of offering a high school friend $20,000 to make a false statement in the lead up to her murder trial.
In June this year, a jury found Darcy guilty of sedating and murdering Mr Dunbar in 2017 after she was made the sole beneficiary of his multi-million-dollar Merino property at Walcha, near Tamworth.
Police have recently charged her with two counts of intending to pervert the course of justice ahead of her sentencing hearing for Mr Dunbar’s murder on October 1.
Darcy’s NSW Supreme Court trial heard she had propositioned her old friend in a series of jail letters.
“I’m going to make you a proposition and see if you can be the one to help me,” Darcy wrote to her friend in January 2020.
Darcy then outlines her plan, inspired by the 1990s sitcom Frasier, where one of the characters struggles with the “moral dilemma” of whether to lie for a friend in a court case.
“I was watching an episode of Frasier when Niles needed him to lie in court and say he didn’t know that Niles was in love with Daphne,” Darcy wrote.
“It got me thinking if only I could ask somebody to say that Mathew told them he was planning his suicide maybe a few or several days before he passed.”
At the time of Mr Dunbar’s death on August 2, 2017, Darcy told police and friends the 42-year-old had suicided using a combination of helium and drugs.
But at the start of her murder trial, she told the court she was guilty of “aiding and abetting suicide”.
The court heard her high school friend contacted the Director of Public Prosecutions after hearing about the trial through the media, and came forward with the letters Darcy had written.
In the letter, Darcy asked her friend to make up a statement about how Mr Dunbar had spoken about his plans to die by suicide, despite the woman having never met Mr Dunbar or spoken to him.
Darcy said she thought “the following details would be sufficient” for her friend to include in a statement to her solicitor.
“You talked to him for around 40 minutes and he told you:
- he had been planning his suicide
- he wanted to die at home
- he had already had two attempts and he didn’t want to fail again
- he loved the kids and I, but he was convinced we would be better off without him.”
Ms Darcy is accused of making hundreds of Google searches in the lead up to Mr Dunbar’s death including “how to commit murder”, “will helium show up in an autopsy”, “can police see deleted text messages”, “99 undetectable poisons”, and “11 toxic plants that look like food”.
It is the Crown case Darcy purchased ram sedatives – which were later found in Mr Dunbar’s system – using a false name and address at an Armidale vet – and ordered the cylinder of helium later used to kill him.
Following her arrest, the court heard she wrote to her high school friend from jail, explaining how she believed the case against her would be dropped if a false statement was made.
“It could even be dropped before it goes to trial. All they have on me is those web searches and once they know Mat confirmed to you that he had been searching suicide, they have nothing,” she wrote.
The trial continues before Justice Julia Lonergan.
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.
National Domestic Violence Service: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
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