Lawyer challenges witness who says she heard Christine Lyons, Ronald Lyons and Peter Arthur plot to kill Samantha Kelly

INVESTIGATING: A forensics officer at the Kangaroo Flat property where Samantha Kelly lived with the two murder accused, Christine Lyons and Ronald Lyons. Picture: DARREN HOWE
INVESTIGATING: A forensics officer at the Kangaroo Flat property where Samantha Kelly lived with the two murder accused, Christine Lyons and Ronald Lyons. Picture: DARREN HOWE

The defence lawyer of murder accused Christine Lyons has suggested to a witness her evidence that she heard discussions about the murder of Samantha Kelly are “a pack of lies”.

Shiralee Lyons, a close friend of both Christine Lyons and Ms Kelly, has told the Supreme Court that she was present for three conversations in which ways to kill Ms Kelly were discussed.

Christine Lyons and Ronald Lyons are each charged with the murder and attempted murder of Ms Kelly, their housemate at the time of her death in January 2016.

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The prosecution maintains they plotted with another housemate and Christine Lyons’ partner, Peter Arthur, who has admitted to killing Ms Kelly.

Ms Lyons gave evidence that she was party to two conversations with Christine Lyons and Arthur in December 2015, and another with Christine Lyons and Mr Lyons shortly before Ms Kelly’s disappearance.

In the first two conversations, she said, Arthur had discussed drugging Ms Kelly, and she believed it was also him who talked about drugging her then dumping her down a mine shaft.

The court heard that Christine Lyons spoke about making her “disappear”.

Ms Lyons told the court that in the third conversation, Mr Lyons suggested Ms Kelly be injected with air to induce a heart attack.

She said Christine Lyons told her she wanted Ms Kelly’s children and spoke about having her sign the children over.

Under cross-examination from Christine Lyons’ lawyer Peter Kilduff, the court heard that Ms Lyons lived with some mental health conditions that had caused her to experience hallucinations and delusions in the past.

“What I'm going to suggest you, that you were suffering from hallucinations and illusions in relation to the thing you put in your statement and the conversations you say happened are a pack of lies,” Mr Kilduff said.

“No, they’re not,” Ms Lyons replied.

Ms Lyons denied a suggestion her conditions affected her memory, although Mr Kilduff told the jury that evidence given in a January 2017 committal hearing indicated she did.

The court heard that during this hearing she said her head was not clear if she did not take medications, but she had taken them when her statements were made.

In response to a question from Mr Kilduff, Ms Lyons told the court she believed Christine Lyons and Arthur were joking about killing Ms Kelly, so did not tell her.

Mr Kilduff questioned Ms Lyons as to why she did not mention these conversations when she visited the Maryborough police station to report Ms Kelly missing in early February 2016.

She told the court she was more concerned about getting out a missing person report, and never thought Christine Lyons, Mr Lyons and Arthur would “do something like this”.

Mr Lyons’ defence lawyer Jarrod Williams also asked Ms Lyons why she did not mention the third conversation when she went to report Ms Kelly missing.

She said she took it more seriously than the first two conversations, but still did not believe they would do anything of that sort.

“I know I should've told the coppers, I wasn't thinking straight at the time,” she said.

Mr Kilduff and Mr Williams asked Ms Lyons why she did not mention the third conversation when she made her first police statement in February 2016.

The court heard Ms Lyons did not give police information about this conversation, the one for which Mr Lyons was reportedly present, until August of that year.

Ms Lyons replied to Mr Williams she was at the police station for 12-and-a-half hours when she made her first statement and she was exhausted, so it slipped her mind.

The court heard Ms Lyons informed police of the third conversation when they made contact with her.

“What I suggest to you, is the real reason that you didn't say anything to the police about this until 23 August because it's just a fabrication,” Mr Williams said.

Ms Lyons denied this.

Mr Kilduff also read to the court a Facebook post by Ms Lyons on February 6 2016, which read: “"Look Christine would not do anything to harm anyone. She has a kind heart that won't hurt a fly”.

He said this post made “a complete nonsense” of the conversations.

“The conversations are true… and the conversations happened,” Ms Lyons said.

The court also heard that Christine Lyons had asked Ms Lyons to be part of the plot to kill Ms Kelly, but she said no.​

Ms Lyons said was not aware of a falling-out between Ms Kelly and Christine Lyons and the household seemed happy towards Christmas 2015.

The court heard that Ms Lyons had no contact with Ms Kelly from January 20 2015.

“I thought it was strange I hadn’t heard from her... I used to hear from her about 20, 30 times a day,” she said.

She said she then received a phone call on what she believed was January 21 from Christine Lyons, during which she was told that Ms Kelly had walked out at 3.30am with “some bloke” and left the kids.

“She'll never ever leave her kids and I thought that was really strange,” Ms Lyons said.

The court also heard from Karen Foulston, a welfare worker who had supported Ms Kelly from 2011 to 2015.

“Sam was devoted to her children. As she often stated, they were her world, and she always had her children with her,” Ms Foulston said.

She told the court that Ms Kelly said to her she was going to Bendigo only for a holiday, but later told her she would stay because she had “bad memories” in her then location and there was a woman who was going to help her with her children. The court heard that Ms Kelly also said the children loved it, but Ms Foulston said she continued to challenge that claim.

Ms Foulston said Ms Kelly became “very vague” in the conversation, and she believed it was because she was pushing for more information on the people she was staying with in Bendigo.

The trial continues.