- Day 1: Committal hearings begin into Samantha Kelly murder
- Day 3: Housemates allegedly tried to drug mother to death
- Day 4: Cousin claims to have overheard Samantha Kelly murder
- Day 5: Killer gives evidence to court
MURDER accused Christine Lyons believed two of her alleged victim’s children were supposed to be her own, a court has heard.
Lyons and co-accused Ronald Lyons appeared at the second day of their committal hearing in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, charged with the murder of Kangaroo Flat mother-of-four Samantha Kelly in January last year.
The court heard evidence from Rebecca Stow, who previously lived with the three murder accused – including Peter Arthur – in a house in Kangaroo Flat.
In her statement to police, read to the court, Ms Stow spoke of Christine Lyons’ belief that two of Samantha Kelly’s children were supposed to belong to her.
“Chrissy said, ‘I’m going to take (two of the children) because they are mine’,” Ms Stow said.
“(One child) was supposed to be Chrissy and Peter’s kid, and (another) was supposed to be Ronald and Chrissy’s.”
Christine Lyons was previously in a relationship with co-accused Ronald Lyons, and is now in a relationship with third co-accused Peter Arthur. The three slept in the same bedroom in their Wesley Street house in Kangaroo Flat, while their alleged murder victim Samantha Kelly lived in a bungalow at the rear of the property.
On Monday, the court heard Christine Lyons allegedly tried to pay a teenage girl, who had a methamphetamine addiction, $1000 to get pregnant by Ronald.
Ms Stow said Ms Kelly’s children were told to call Christine Lyons “mum”.
“Samantha’s kids always called Christine ‘mum’ and Peter ‘dad’, and Ronald ‘Uncle Ron’,” she told the court.
“It was sort of like… if you just met them as a day-to-day thing, you wouldn’t know whose kids they were.”
Chris Dane, acting as defence counsel for Christine Lyons, asked Ms Stow if she was aware that Christine “suffers from hallucinations and hears voices”. Ms Stow said she was unaware.
She said Ronald Lyons told her Ms Kelly had simply “left” on her own accord.
“I spoke to Ron about it, he said she left and didn’t even tell the kids,” Ms Stow said.
“He said it wasn’t fair they had to pay for the kids to go to school, that was about it.”
The court also heard from Shiralee Lyons, who told police Christine Lyons and Peter Arthur asked her on three occasions to kill Samantha Kelly.
In her statement to police, partially read to the court, Ms Lyons said Christine Lyons told her: “I want you to make Sammy disappear”.
She told the court of a conversation she had with the three murder accused while they were driving from her house in Dunolly back to Kangaroo Flat.
Shiralee said it was the third time Christine Lyons and Peter Arthur spoke openly about killing Ms Kelly.
“Chrissy brought Sam up, just talking about ideas on how to do Sam in,” Shiralee told the court.
“What I remember was, it come up about Sam, and she wanted Sam’s kids.
“Then she asked sort of what ways we can do it.
“Ronald came up with the idea of putting a syringe in her neck for an instant heart attack and it can’t be traced.
“I just went really quiet.”
Shiralee was questioned extensively in court by John Desmond, defence counsel for Ronald Lyons, who claimed Shiralee was “lying” about the conversation.
Shiralee made three statements to police, and only mentioned the conversation in her final statement in August.
Mr Desmond said most people would have taken the matter to police straight away, or at least mentioned it to police when Ms Kelly went missing.
“I’m putting to you that this is just a lie about the entire conversation in the car,” Mr Desmond said to Shiralee.
“Ordinarily if a crime is committed and you’re present, and someone makes threatening remarks, you report it.
“One reason is because the story you give, that Ron was saying this, is a fabrication. You made it up.”
Shiralee said she did not believe the three were capable of murder.
“I actually didn’t believe they would do something like that. I was more worried about putting out a missing person’s report,” she said.
Shiralee visited Maryborough police on February 2, with housemate Andrew Binks, to report Ms Kelly missing. Her body was found 10 days later in bushland in Shelbourne, west of Bendigo.
Shiralee told the court she spoke with Ms Kelly daily via text messages, but she did not receive a reply after January 19 – the day before she was murdered by Peter Arthur. She last saw Ms Kelly in person on Christmas Day, 2015.
One of her other statements was also read to the court, in which Shiralee tells police of Christine’s frustration at Ms Kelly’s obsession with Mark Glare, the father of her youngest child.
The comments came during a conversation before Christmas Day, 2015.
“We were just talking about things but nothing really in particular, just talking,” Shiralee said in the statement.
“Christine then started talking about Sam, that all they heard from Sam was ‘Mark, Mark, Mark’, all she would talk about was Mark.
“Christine spoke to me and said she wanted me to make Sam disappear.”
In another exchange, Shiralee claimed Christine allegedly wanted Ms Kelly to be “drugged” and made to sign an affidavit handing over the children.
An excerpt from the police interview with Peter Arthur on September 12 was also read to the court, in which Arthur alleged to police Ms Kelly attacked him with the hammer first.
The interviewing officer questioned whether Ms Kelly would have been capable to launch the first attack, given amounts of the sedative Phenergan was found in her liver during the autopsy.
Senior forensic toxicologist Morris Odell told the court it was difficult to determine how drowsy Ms Kelly would have been prior to the attack.
“It could be anything from a little bit drowsy, to being completely delirious,” Dr Odell said.
“You don’t know how much they took, blood levels, past experience. The levels in the liver were not excessively high.”
Peter Arthur, who last month pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Kelly, will give evidence to the court on Friday.
The hearing continues in Bendigo on Wednesday.