In his closing remarks to the jury, a Senior Crown Prosecutor alleged a mother and son were involved in a “criminal enterprise” that bailed up a Glen Innes greengrocer and later killed him.
Karen Dawson and her son Matthew Aquilina are charged with the September 2010 murder of Adrian Trevett.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Peter Barnett alleged in Newcastle Supreme Court today the pair held Mr Trevett in an old Glen Innes butter factory for several hours and questioned him before he was strangled with a noose.
The trials of the two accused have been running since late August.
Aquilina has pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter. Dawson pleaded not guilty to murder.
The court heard Mr Trevett was picked up by Ms Dawson (his friend and neighbour) after a bike ride to the Gibraltar Ranges summit when he was allegedly taken back to the old butter factory, questioned and assaulted before he was killed.
The pair allegedly put his body into a car and dumped it in bushland near Tenterfield with the rope still wrapped around his neck.
Mr Trevett was reported missing by family members a fortnight later, but his body wasn’t found until January last year.
The Crown told the jury they had already heard “clear admissions” of Aquilina’s involvement in the murder. But the defendant wanted the jury to accept he was provoked into the killing.
The court heard Aquilina was previously told of allegations of child sexual assault against Mr Trevett.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Barnett said Aquilina “coldly and calculatingly” executed Mr Trevett at the butter factory.
“He doesn’t even have 100 per cent faith in what he’s being told by his mother,” The Crown said. “If it’s about being provoked then why is it (that) the first time he lays eyes on him, he cleans him up with an iron bar?”
He said Aquilina placed the rope around Mr Trevett’s neck and pulled until he was “gasping” for air and eventually stopped breathing.
He told the jury the actions were done “with intent to kill”.
The Crown said it was also up to the jury to decide if the alleged involvement of Dawson was also as a result of provocation or if she had any involvement at all.
When addressing the jury,the Crown said the court had heard of previous evidence suggesting that Dawson alleged Mr Trevett had assaulted two young children. She also alleged the victim had tried to sexually assault her.
Ms Dawson’s defence barrister Caroline Davenport said her client had told friends and her son Matthew that Mr Trevett was sexually harassing her.
She said initially Ms Dawson had taken the blame for the killing to protect her son, but it wasn’t until a walk-through of the burial ground with detectives that she had broken down and told police she didn’t commit the crime.
The defence said Mr Aquillina had done the “exact opposite” and “portrayed himself as the good guy”.
The court heard while the pair was questioning Mr Trevett at the old butter factory, Dawson punched Mr Trevett at least once.
The Crown alleged once Dawson punched Mr Trevett she had become a “party” to and an “active participant” to the alleged enterprise and was therefore liable for Mr Trevett’s murder
He said even if Dawson didn’t pull on the rope which killed Mr Trevett she remained at the scene and did nothing.
The defence alleged Dawson had told her son not to pull the rope around Mr Trevett’s neck but he was “too angry”.
The Crown alleged the butter factory was cleaned with chemicals after Mr Trevett was killed.
He said it was a matter for the jury to determine if Ms Dawson was provoked by Mr Trevett and whether or not she lost self-control.
Aquilina’s defence will address the jury this morning.