Woman murdered by man she shared home with: court
FIFTY-year-old Christine Malone had been strangled to death in her own Newtown home by the man who shared her Gaydon St residence, it was claimed before the Toowoomba Supreme Court today.
Opening the case against Desleigh John Henderson, 60, Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden said the Crown case was that Henderson had put his hands around Ms Malone's neck and killed her on the morning of July 12, 2011.
Henderson has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder.
Ms Farnden said the status of the relationship between the two at the time was not entirely clear.
They had gone out in their teenage years but only got together after Ms Malone had separated from her husband who later died, she said.
At the time of her death, the pair had been sleeping in different rooms and a number of family members and friends of Ms Malone would tell the court that she had asked Henderson to leave the home and take their german shepherd "Rocko" with him.
She had also been in the process of changing her will to remove Henderson as executor, Ms Farnden said.
Witnesses would say the dog had become vicious and had bitten a number of people including the mailman and a Blue Care nurse who attended the home.
Ms Malone suffered multiple sclerosis and Henderson had been her carer, though she later told a friend that he didn't do much to help her, Ms Farnden said.
On the morning of Ms Malone's death, Henderson had called 000 about 10.15am telling the operator he had found Ms Malone lying on the floor of her bedroom.
Henderson later told police he couldn't have had anything to do with Ms Malone's death as at that time he had taken his dog for a walk to the park.
Ms Farnden said the Crown case was that Henderson had lied to police about going to the park and witnesses who lived near the park would tell the court of not seeing anyone or hearing any dog at that time.
She said blood was found on a number of items about the house and the evidence pointed to Ms Malone having struggled with her attacker.
"It's not possible for her death to have been an accident," she said.
The pathologist would tell the court the cause of death was compression to the neck with significant force to the front of the neck. The deceased's voice box had been damaged and she had bruises to both sides of the neck consistent with moderate force by hands.
Signs of petechial (pin prick) haemorrhaging to the face and eyes were also indicative of loss of oxygen, she said.
Ms Malone had two wounds to the back of her head consistent with being struck with a blunt object or having come into contact with the floor, Ms Farnden said.
Up to 46 witnesses and more than eight hours of recorded police interviews with the accused are expected to be heard during the trial which continues tomorrow before Justice John Byrne.