An Australian woman was found guilty this month of killing her husband after lacing his cookies and stuffing him into a freezer, following what neighbors called a violent relationship.
According to ABC Australia, Rebecca Payne, 43, murdered her 68-year-old husband, Noel Payne, in 2020 after lacing his favorite lemon cookies with a lethal amount of temazepam sleeping pills. It took the Mildura Supreme Court jury two days to return the verdict.
Court documents indicate that Payne claimed she was innocent, adding that she didn’t mean to kill her husband and panicked when he had no pulse the following morning. Instead of calling for help, she wrapped his body in a blanket, rolled him in a wheelbarrow to an outdoor freeze, and stuffed him inside.
A medical examiner testified that it couldn’t be determined if Noel died from suffocation in the freezer or from the lethal dose of sleeping pills.
Police found the victim’s body in an outdoor freezer at the couple’s property in Walpeup; he had been stuffed in the freezer with duct tape and straps.
Family members told A Current Affair that the pair met in 2020, following Rebecca Payne’s estranged son’s murder in 2017. Noel’s daughter, Tracy, said she didn’t want them together but they quickly married and moved to Victoria.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Rebecca Payne hadn’t spoken to her son in nearly a decade but had been working things out with him shortly before his death. She was not connected to or considered a suspect in the case.
The couple’s neighbor said that Noel was a “violent” monster who once dragged his wife with a rope tied to his vehicle.
“He was a monster,” neighbor Jenny told A Current Affair. “He tied her to the back of the car and dragged her along the road until the rope broke.”
The court also heard that the victim had been violent not only to Rebecca Payne but to another “sexual partner,” who allegedly had a brain injury. The defendant wanted out of the marriage, the court heard and was upset about the third party living with them.
Following the verdict, Supreme Court Justice Rita Incerti thanked the jury and announced that she would handle sentencing on another date.
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[Feature Photo: Rebecca Payne/ SS via Daily Telegraph]