The brother of Erin Crabtree ‘knew she would die’ according to a witness. Erin’s mother stands accused of her murder.
The brother of Erin Crabtree ‘knew she would die’ according to a witness. Erin’s mother stands accused of her murder.

‘He knew she would die’: Crabtree murder witness bombshell

Johnathon Crabtree told his girlfriend he knew his little sister would die while he was away on a cruise with his accused killer mum, a court has heard.

Maree Evelyn Crabtree is charged with the murder of her 18-year-old daughter Erin in 2012 and the murder of her son 26-year-old son Johnathon five years later in 2017.

Erin's lifeless body was found in the family's Gold Coast home in September 2012 while her mother and brother were on an overseas cruise ship holiday that Erin was also meant to be on.

Police have previously alleged that Erin was given a fatal overdose of drugs by her mum before she left on the cruise.

During a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today, Johnathon's then-girlfriend Rebekah Millard gave evidence he was a carer for his sister Erin who is understood to have suffered from a mental impairment and rarely spoke.

Maree Crabtree in court. Illustration: Brett Lethbridge
Maree Crabtree in court. Illustration: Brett Lethbridge

Ms Millard said during her five year "on and off" relationship with Johnathon, Erin had never directly spoken to her and she had only directly witnessed the teenager talk to her family members twice but had regularly heard her conversing with them out of sight.

She said she did not believe Erin suffered from a physical impairment and could not make an assessment of her mental capacity but noted she was interested in "childish" things.

Ms Millard said in 2012, Johnathon called her from the cruise ship to tell her Erin had died after hitting her head on a bed.

"That's the only time he actually said she passed away that way," Ms Millard said.

"Once he was back and we were face-to-face the story changed to an apparent Endone overdose and she had vomited in her sleep and passed away."

Jonathan Crabtree.
Jonathan Crabtree.

Ms Millard said Johnathon told her he knew that Erin was going to commit suicide while he was away on the cruise but never explained the reason for that statement.

"He was under the impression he wasn't going to see her again," she said.

Ms Millard said Johnathon spoke as though he knew Erin would die while he was away, but not that she had died before the family left.

"Up until finding out she'd passed away I thought she was on the cruise with them," Ms Millard said.

Ms Millard said in the time she knew Erin, she would always ask her family for permission to do simple things like go for a walk or eat a sandwich.

"It just seemed to me she wasn't able to make a lot of decisions for herself," Ms Millard said.

"Every decision she would want to make she would need clarification from someone else whether it was okay to do it.

Maree Crabtree and Jonathan Crabtree.
Maree Crabtree and Jonathan Crabtree.

"Simple things like making herself a sandwich."

Ms Millard said while Erin seemed capable of doing things for herself, she observed her family would "baby" her and do things for her like get her food or drinks.

Ms Millard gave evidence that in the wake of Erin's death, Johnathon had overdosed on drugs.

"It was just his emotions about Erin passing away and he just couldn't handle it...," she said.

"So he told you he'd taken an overdose for that reason," defence barrister Angus Edwards asked.

"Yes," she responded.

The hearing continues.

Originally published as 'He knew she would die': Crabtree murder witness bombshell


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