Peter Rex Dansie murdered his wheelchair-bound wife Helen by pushing her into a pond has appealed his conviction, comparing his case to that of George Pell’s.
Peter Rex Dansie murdered his wheelchair-bound wife Helen by pushing her into a pond has appealed his conviction, comparing his case to that of George Pell’s.

Killer who drowned wife in pond says he's like George Pell

A greed-driven husband convicted of his wife's drowning murder has compared himself to acquitted Catholic Cardinal George Pell, saying he too has suffered a miscarriage of justice.

On Friday, Peter Rex Dansie claimed the Supreme Court had wrongly taken an "either-or" approach to whether he pushed his wife into a pond or if her wheelchair rolled in by accident.

Greg Mead SC, for Dansie, told the Court of Criminal Appeal that was "too binary" and a mistake, just as it had been in Cardinal Pell's child sex abuse trial.

"In Pell, that court decided it was 'impossible' for the offending to have occurred … here, the judge concluded that an accident was 'highly unlikely," he said.

"We're not saying it's wrong to express that view, we're saying it's dangerous … the danger is too readily coming to a conclusion about the prosecution case.

"It leads to a failure to examine the other side of the coin - the evidence that may show a reasonable hypothesis consistent with innocence.

"The question (for a court) is not 'is this accident or murder?', it's 'has the prosecution proven it's murder?', and this mistake leads to a failure to properly consider the evidence."

At stake is more than just Dansie's 25-year minimum prison term for Helen's murder - his appeal could also decide who will control her estate.

The couple's son, Grant, is fighting a separate court action to seize his mother's assets from his father so he can no longer benefit from her death.

Should Dansie win a retrial, or be acquitted, he would retain a legally legitimate claim upon that money.

Helen Dansie. Picture: Supplied.
Helen Dansie. Picture: Supplied.

In December last year - and following a history-making mistrial - Dansie, 71, was found guilty of murdering his wife, Helen.

The Supreme Court was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt he murdered Helen by pushing her and the wheelchair in which she was seated into a Veale Gardens pond in 2017.

It found Dansie was obsessed with controlling Helen and her assets, and dismissive of concerns over her health and welfare.

Instead of spending "any of what he considered his money" on improving her quality of life, Dansie pursued his "very keen interest" in sexual relationships with women in China.

Dansie, who has maintained his innocence since the night of the crime, immediately appealed against his conviction.

Dansie has repeatedly insisted Helen’s death was an accident. Picture: Matt Loxton.
Dansie has repeatedly insisted Helen’s death was an accident. Picture: Matt Loxton.

On Friday, Mr Mead said Justice David Lovell, who heard Dansie's trial, had given insufficient written reasons for his guilty verdict.

"Nowhere is there reference to our submissions about evidence that pointed the other way - the other side of the coin was not examined," he said.

"No reasons were provided for the rejection of such important submissions.

"It was not open to the judge, on all of the evidence, to find the charge proved."

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.

Originally published as Wife-killer claims miscarriage of justice

Grant Dansie. Picture: Sean Fewster.
Grant Dansie. Picture: Sean Fewster.

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