Murder accused Christine Lyons wanted Samantha Kelly to go on "permanent holiday", court told

CRIME SCENE: Investigators at the site where Samantha Kelly's body was left. Her former housemates Christine Lyons and Ronald Lyons have pleaded not guilty to her murder and attempted murder. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
CRIME SCENE: Investigators at the site where Samantha Kelly's body was left. Her former housemates Christine Lyons and Ronald Lyons have pleaded not guilty to her murder and attempted murder. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

A woman close to both Samantha Kelly and two people accused of her murder has told the Supreme Court that she was asked to make the dead woman go on a “permanent holiday”.

Shiralee Lyons, a cousin of accused man Ronald Lyons and a close friend of both his co-accused Christine Lyons and Ms Kelly, said she was party to a conversation with Christine Lyons and her partner, Peter Arthur, before Christmas 2015.

The court heard that Christine Lyons brought up Ms Kelly in this conversation, then said that she wanted Ms Lyons to make “Sam go on a permanent holiday”.

As best as she could remember, Ms Lyons said, “the conversation when Sam came up was that (Christine) wanted to do Sam in”.

“She was over hearing about [Ms Kelly’s former partner] and she wanted Sam’s kids,” she said.

Ms Lyons said during this conversation, Christine Lyons and Arthur also spoke about ways to kill Ms Kelly, but told the court she did not think they were serious as she never thought they would do something like that.

During questioning from prosecutor Ben Ihle, Ms Lyons spoke of Ms Kelly as a mother.

“Sam loved her kids, she – it was all about her kids… She would’ve done anything for them,” she said.

She also gave evidence that Ms Kelly hated drugs.

Ms Kelly’s former partner and the father of one of her children was also called to give evidence yesterday.

Mr Ihle presented the witness with a series of text messages between him and Christine Lyons from December 2015, in which Ms Lyons asks him about convincing Ms Kelly to give over custody of their child.

In one message read to the court, the witness said to Ms Lyons that he had told Ms Kelly to “sign over” the child to her.

The court heard that Ms Lyons wrote a message: “Yeah, if you push her hard enough she might, but if she doesn't want the other kids I'll take the lot".

In another message heard by the court, Ms Lyons wrote to the witness: “It’s her that needs to go on a permanent holiday”.

The witness told the court he visited Ms Kelly after she moved to Bendigo three or four times, the last being on January 20, 2016.

The court heard that the witness had gone to the house on that date because Ms Kelly wanted to “sort things out” with the witness, but the conversation ended with a fight.

In a conversation conducted over Facebook in February, the court heard, Ms Lyons told the witness that Ms Kelly had left, and had said that she hated her children.

The witness also told the court that Ms Kelly “definitely didn’t like” drugs and never appeared to be under their influence when he saw her in Bendigo.

 Ms Kelly was good most of the time as a parent, he said, but like any parent, had her days.

The witness said that Ms Lyons had told him that she had kicked one of her children in the ribs and hit another “black and blue”, although he denied that Ms Kelly would behave in such a way towards her children.

But during cross-examination from Ms Lyons’ lawyer Peter Kilduff, the court heard that the witness said in his police statement that “Sammy was not really good with the kids”.

The witness responded that he was referring to when his brother, the father of the other children, was there, but conceded it was inconsistent with his evidence given in court.

The court also heard that in this statement, the witness reported that Ms Kelly had thrown one of her children down stairs and beat his son with a wooden spoon.

The witness told the court he agreed there were “constant battles” with Ms Kelly over their child, including custody arrangements and paternity.

During questioning, he also told the court his partner sent a message from his phone to Ms Kelly that read “I hope you die in a hole”, and said he was happy about that being sent because Ms Kelly had made a an accusation against his son.

“In other words, you were hoping that she would die, yes?” Mr Kilduff said.

“Oh I wouldn't hope that. There's things you say out of anger, but you don't wish that upon anyone,” the witness responded.

The court heard the witness had been charged with and pleaded guilty to assaulting Ms Kelly, after hitting her and kneeing her in the face, and had once grabbed her by the throat.

In his questioning, Mr Kilduff referred to a message from the witness that suggested he believed Ms Kelly could read his communication with Ms Lyons.

But under re-examination from Mr Ihle, the court heard the next message from Ms Lyons said that Ms Kelly could not see the messages.

Wednesday also saw the cross-examination of Ms Lyons and Mr Lyons’ former neighbour in Kangaroo Flat, Rebecca Stow, continue.

Ms Lyons’ defence lawyer Peter Kilduff challenged Ms Stow on the truthfulness of the statement she made to police.

Mr Kilduff posed to Ms Stow that the conversation she said she had with Ms Lyons, in which she claimed that Ms Lyons had told her Ms Kelly had admitted to breaking into a fertility clinic to steal her eggs, had never happened, as there was “no way” Ms Lyons would have put her eggs in an egg bank.

“The conversation did happen, but you believe what you want to believe,” Ms Stow replied.

Mr Kilduff also suggested to Ms Stow that her assertion that it was Ms Lyons who asked her to make a statement to police on Ms Kelly’s parenting was false, and it was instead Arthur who had asked that she do this.

Ms Stow had told the court that Ms Lyons wanted her to make the statement in support of Ms Lyons’ and Arthur’s attempt to claim custody of Ms Kelly’s children, following Ms Kelly’s disappearance.

The court also heard that in a statement made to police, Ms Stow said that while travelling in a car with Arthur she saw him threaten a child in his household, calling the child a “f---ing little c---” and telling the child he was going to punch them in the face.

The trial continues before Justice Stephen Kaye.