Murder trial hears of farmer's love blues
A NSW sheep farmer told a friend his partner's excessive spending meant he could lose his $3.5 million property and had damaged his mental health, weeks before he was found dead.
Whether Matthew Dunbar's death was a murder or a suicide is the question at the heart of his partner Natasha Beth Darcy's murder trial.
Darcy, 46, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 42-year-old farmer, who was found dead in his home near Walcha on August 2, 2017.
The Crown contends she killed Mr Dunbar in a bid to inherit his property, Pandora.
Mr Dunbar's friend Sally Haslett was a registered nurse on duty at Walcha's hospital when he was admitted over an infected leg in mid-2017.
When Ms Haslett asked about his mental health as part of his admission paperwork, she was shocked to hear that he had attempted suicide a few months earlier.
"Why would you do that, you've got everything you wanted?", the nurse told the NSW Supreme Court she asked.
"She won't stop spending money, I could lose the property," she remembers him responding. He said he'd had to get rid of his private health insurance.
Ms Haslett asked if it was time to leave Darcy, but he said he didn't want to "lose the kids" -- Darcy's children, who also lived with him.
He denied he had ongoing thoughts of harming himself, she recalled on Wednesday.
When Ms Haslett later spent time with Mr Dunbar in Tamworth Hospital on July 12, she told him she was worried about him because of his suicide attempt, lack of insurance, and relationship with Darcy.
"Yeah, I think you might be right," she says he responded, when she told him it was time to tell his partner to leave.
He added that Darcy's estranged husband, Colin Crossman, was always hanging around, and that the pair would go away for weekends and he'd have to pay for it.
Medical records showed that in 2017, Mr Dunbar had been experiencing visual loss, headaches and confusion over his whereabouts since a suspected stroke in 2012.
He never told Ms Haslett about those problems, even when he shared his medical history when admitted to hospital, she said.
Darcy told a police officer who came to Pandora when Mr Dunbar's body was found that he'd had bad medical news the day before.
A specialist had told him that his calf muscle had wasted away and he could lose his leg or walk with a limp for the rest of his life, Sergeant Anthony Smith recalled Darcy telling him.
The grazier told Darcy she would be better off without him when they got home from the appointment, the policeman said she told him.
Darcy told the officer she found her partner's body when she got up from the lounge to put some wood on the fire and set the smoke alarm off, then entered the bedroom to explain.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Crossman told the court under cross-examination that his wife had texted him concerned that Mr Dunbar had taken a whole month of anti-depressants.
Mr Crossman was one of the paramedics called to Pandora after Darcy called triple zero the morning Mr Dunbar died.
The trial continues on Thursday.
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