The triple-0 call made by a woman who allegedly murdered her partner after blending sedatives in a Nutribullet has been played at her trial.
Above the bed where Walcha sheep farmer Mathew Dunbar met his grisly end, a large black wall decal spelled out “Sweet Dreams” in loopy black font surrounded by butterflies.
The jarring visual was displayed to jurors on Thursday as they were taken on a virtual walk-through of the alleged murder scene at the grazier’s $3.5m property “Pandora” in the NSW northern tablelands.
The bedroom view showed a deceased Mr Dunbar, lying face-up on the mottled carpet at the foot of the bed, and a large brown gas cylinder upright by the bedside table.
At about 2am on August 2, 2017, Mr Dunbar’s partner Natasha Darcy had dialled triple-0 and told the operator: “I just walked into this bedroom and he’s got a plastic bag over his head with a cord in there and there’s some gas or something.”
But prosecutors allege she staged the confronting scene to make it look like a suicide, masking the fact she had drugged and murdered her partner to take control of his financial estate.
More than two years earlier, Mr Dunbar told Ms Darcy he had visited his solicitor to fix up his will.
According to agreed facts read aloud in court, he told her: “You now own Pandora if I die.”
“I don’t want Pandora, I want you,” she replied.
On the opening day of the trial, prosecutor Brett Hatfield said Ms Darcy did extensive online research before she drugged Mr Dunbar with a cocktail of sedatives blended together in a Magic Bullet on the evening of August 1, 2017.
In the early hours of the morning, as he lay sedated in bed, Ms Darcy is alleged to have run a laundry hose from a helium gas cylinder to a plastic bag she had affixed over his head and turned the tap on.
She has pleaded not guilty, telling jurors as she was arraigned that she did not murder Mr Dunbar but she did assist his suicide.
Ms Darcy’s lawyer asked the jury to keep an open mind, pointing to Mr Dunbar’s history of depression and the suicide of one of his close friends months before he died.
Three triple-0 calls Ms Darcy made in quick succession from Mr Dunbar’s phone, lasting about 20 minutes in total, were played to the jury on Thursday.
She repeatedly told the operator “He’s warm”, sounding panicked and distressed, as she was guided through CPR.
“Is he awake?” the operator asked.
“Is he breathing?”
“And you found him like that?”
She can be heard telling the operator: “He had the gas thing beside the bed.”
“What is it, a gas heater, what is it?” the operator asked.
“No just a gas bottle.”
The operator confirmed the gas was off and asked if it had been freely flowing into the room.
“No, he’s been inhaling it, there was a tube going under the bag,” Ms Darcy replied.
At another point, the operator asked: “Do you want me to count you in again (for CPR)?”
“He’s not breathing,” Ms Darcy replied, sounding teary and deflated.
She also said when asked to confirm her address: “My ex-husband’s a paramedic, he knows where to go.”
That ex-husband, Colin Crossman, was the first to arrive on the scene along with another paramedic, the court heard on Wednesday.
At 1.14am, a message had been sent from Mr Dunbar’s phone to Mr Crossman reading: “Tell police to come to house, I don’t want Tash or kids to find me.”
But Mr Crossman did not receive it until after 2am as he was getting dressed for the job, the court heard.
He replied “What???” at 2.08am.
The Crown alleges Ms Darcy used Mr Dunbar’s phone to send the message at about the time she killed him, before dialling triple-0 about 46 minutes later.
Mr Hatfield said the jury would hear evidence about two 2009 incidents involving Mr Crossman, which the Crown would use to argue Ms Darcy had a tendency to harm and sedate her partners for financial gain.
In one of the incidents, she set the bedroom on fire at about 4am while Mr Crossman was asleep, Mr Hatfield said.
The last thing Mr Crossman remembered that night was Ms Darcy serving him tacos as he watched the cricket, Mr Hatfield said, and drugs were later found in his system that he did not knowingly take.
The trial continues.