Natasha Beth Darcy has been found guilty of murdering her partner Mathew Dunbar on his Walcha sheep property, on the NSW Northern Tablelands.
The Crown’s case to the court said Darcy, 46, sedated, gassed and suffocated Mr Dunbar, 42, in the early hours of August 2, 2017.
The defence for Darcy argued Mr Dunbar took his own life.
Crown prosecutor Brett Hatfield outlined to the jury how Darcy researched the murder for months, ordered the helium used in Mr Dunbar’s death and mixed a cocktail of drugs – including a ram sedative – for “a man she claimed to have loved”.
“She killed him in the manner that she did to make it look like a suicide,” Mr Hatfield told the jury in closing statements.
The jury also heard how Mr Dunbar told his doctor he felt “emotionally manipulated” by Darcy.
The jury was also read letters Darcy wrote while in prison to a former school friend asking for her help and offering $20,000 in return.
‘Cold and calculating’
The jury of 11 – down one juror due to an earlier illness – found Darcy guilty on the sole count of murder.
After a 10-week trial, the jury retired last Wednesday and delivered the guilty verdict on Monday, less than four sitting days later.
Darcy pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to aiding and abetting Mr Dunbar’s suicide – a plea the Crown rejected.
The NSW Supreme Court heard Darcy planned the murder for months and was motivated by inheriting Mr Dunbar’s multimillion-dollar property, which sold in 2020 for $4.65 million.
“He may have desperately wanted love and a family, but what did he get?” Mr Hatfield asked the jury in his closing address.
“A cold and calculating person that was determined to kill him… [and take] his wealth.”
In 2012 Darcy was convicted of intentionally starting a fire at the Walcha home she then lived in and assaulting her now-estranged husband Colin Crossman.
On January 19, 2009, while Mr Crossman was asleep, Darcy took a tin of petrol from the garage and poured its contents onto the floor of the bedroom before she set fire to it.
Just days before, on January 16, Darcy took a hammer from the garage and struck Mr Crossman on his left temple as he slept in bed in the early hours of the morning.
Mr Crossman, who is a paramedic, was coincidentally one of the first responders on the scene who tried to resuscitate Mr Dunbar.
Darcy faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
A sentencing date is yet to be set.