‘Widow of Walcha blended sedatives in Nutribullet’
FIVE years before a widow allegedly murdered Walcha farmer Mathew Dunbar she set fire to an ex-husband's house while he slept inside, a court has heard today.
Natasha Beth Darcy is accused of killing Mathew Dunbar in 2017 by blending animal sedatives in a Nutribullet and putting them in his food to knock him out. She then allegedly gassed to death the grazier once he was incapacitated at his property in NSW's northern tablelands in a bid to cash in on his multi-million dollar estate.
The tearful mother-of-three, who claims her depressed partner committed suicide was denied bail at the Supreme Court on Thursday when she appeared via video link from Mary Wade jail in Lidcombe.
The prosecution opposed bail, saying Darcy has a track record of concocting elaborate false evidence and using tranquilliser drugs to commit her crimes.
The court was told the 43-year-old was jailed in 2012 for setting her former family home on fire while her previous husband was asleep.
In 2015 Darcy was again locked up for dishonestly using another partner's credit card and handed 12 months for manufacturing fake counter charges against him in a bid to get him to drop the complaint.
Darcy was arrested in November 2017 following a three-month investigation and after The Daily Telegraph revealed Mr Dunbar had left her his estate in the months before he died.
Police allege Darcy bought a ram sedative under a false name and blended up a cocktail of drugs using a Nutribullet before putting them in Mr Dunbar's food and drink on the night of August 1, 2017.
Once he'd passed out, Darcy allegedly placed a plastic bag around his head and put a tube underneath which connected to a helium gas canister.
The police facts also allege Darcy Googled several terms on her mobile including "the science of getting away with murder" and "99 undetectable poisons".
Darcy's barrister Edward Anderson said Mr Dunbar had been battling depression since 2009 and two months before his death was admitted to a mental health hospital after threatening to take his own life with a rifle.
Mr Dunbar was then prescribed Zoloft, an antidepressant which has "significant and horrific side effects" that can initially worsen self harm impulses, the court heard.
Darcy cried, sniffed and wiped her eyes as her lawyer said the anxiety sufferer has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder since first discovering Mr Dunbar's body at the 'Pandora' property.
"It was her partner that she found deceased and (she) has suffered considerably," Mr Anderson said.
Darcy offered up a $50,000 surety and volunteered to live at her mother's home in Culburra, 600km away from Walcha.
Mr Anderson said that distance reduced the chance of her interfering with witnesses but the court heard Darcy's mum is herself a Crown witness.
Justice Stephen Campbell denied bail, saying the prosecution case was strong and noting Mr Dunbar's phone was allegedly used to search 'does helium show up in an autopsy' on the internet at the time he was presumably knocked out.
"Apparently notwithstanding what must have been a powerful cocktail of sedatives he was able to bring up the hose, and the bag and the tape," the judge said.
The Crown also alleges Darcy sent a text at 1.13am on August 2 from Mr Dunbar's phone to her paramedic ex-husband which said, "Tell the police. I don't want Tash and the kids to find me".
Darcy's matter was adjourned to Tamworth Local Court on March 13.