Mum in court for husband's murder
SHE crushed sleeping tablets into curried prawns, served the meal and waited until her husband was asleep.
Sunshine Coast mum Susan Falls, using a .22 calibre gun fitted with a silencer, then shot him in the head at point blank range.
Mrs Falls then waited two hours and shot him again at close range because he was still breathing “heavily”.
To ensure her husband Rodney was dead, the 42-year-old smothered him with bed linen, a court was told yesterday.
Mrs Falls pleaded not guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday to murdering her husband.
Mrs Falls allegedly engaged three men to help clean and dispose of her husband’s body in Mapleton State Forest.
She told police her husband had gone missing after she dropped him at the Currimundi Hotel on June 1, 2006.
Mrs Falls made a public plea through the media for her husband’s safe return.
Six hours into a seven-and-a-half hour interview with police – and a month after she allegedly killed him – she admitted what she had done.
She plans to lead a self-defence or battered person defence, that she believed she or her children would be killed or seriously injured if she did not kill her husband.
Bradley James Coupe, 30, Christopher Anthony Cumming-Creed, 25, and Anthony James Hoare, 42, pleaded not guilty to being accessories after the murder.
Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings said Mrs Fall told police she had chosen a Thursday night because her husband always went out drinking that night.
Mr Cummings said no one would suspect any problems until the following Thursday because they worked together in a small business.
He alleged she had given her 15-year-old daughter $5000 to buy the gun from a man in a dark car park.
Mrs Falls told police she chose curried prawns because she thought it would conceal the taste of the tablets and she knew the girls would not eat seafood.
She said she changed into her pyjamas and socks, removed her jewellery, and put on rubber gloves “so there would be no gunshot residue on her person”.
She selected a Christmas-themed tablecloth to put near the reclining chair so she could throw it away if there was mess.
“I got real close … put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger,” she told police. The shooting happened at the family’s Currimundi home.
After she shot her husband, she saw her daughters in the kitchen watching her.
They told her they “would always love her”.
Mr Cummings asked the jury, over the next three weeks of the trial, to consider the planning involved and the motive. “It was a cold, methodical killing where the habits of the prey were exploited to the hilt,” he said.
“You are dealing with someone ... who was a careful, calculated liar.”
“According to the accused it was him or her.”
Mr Cummings said Mrs Falls told police her husband would not have taken care of her children as she would and that she did not want her three-year-old son to grow up like his father.
Defence barrister Jeff Hunter said there was no issue with the fact his client killed her husband, but the jury should focus on the reasons behind her actions.
Mr Hunter said the jury had to decide whether his client reasonably believed her actions were the only ones to preserve her life and her children’s.
“From where she stood, she had been on the receiving end of 20-plus years of violence, abuse and intimidation,” he said. “In every other regard, she is a normal mother of four kids.”