A woman who fed her husband biscuits laced with sleeping pills, wrapped him in a blanket and stuffed him in a backyard freezer has been found guilty of his murder.

Rebecca Payne, 43, faced a three-week trial at the Supreme Court in Mildura, accused of murdering her 68-year-old husband in the small town of Walpeup, in northwestern Victoria, in September 2020.

She admitted she killed Noel Payne by accident when she drugged him with temazepam, which she crushed up and put inside the icing of two homemade biscuits.

However, she denied she had committed murder and instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter as she claimed she did not intend for him to die.

Jurors retired to deliberate on their verdict on Tuesday afternoon, returning after less than 24 hours and finding her guilty of her husband’s murder.

Justice Rita Incerti thanked the jury for their service and discharged them.

“You’ve obviously been paying attention and I’d like to thank you for that,” she told jurors on Wednesday.

Prosecutor David Glynn previously told the trial Payne “wanted to be free” and get away from her husband, who was violent and controlling with her and another woman over many years.

The couple married in 2006 and had two sons. They separated twice, in 2008 and 2012, and during the second split Mr Payne had moved a younger woman into the family home.

He then pursued a sexual relationship with both women.

Payne was prescribed temazepam to help her sleep.

Rebecca Payne has admitted she killed Noel Payne by drugging him with temazepam and then hiding his body in a freezer at the back of their home.Credit:Matthew Bouwmeester

On September 1, 2020, she crushed up several pills and served the temazepam-glazed biscuits to him with a hot Milo.

Once he passed out, she wrapped him in a blanket and tied the ends with duct tape, before she carried him to a chest freezer out the back of their property. The freezer was tied shut with two straps.

After the murder, the trial was told Payne, two of her sons and the younger woman drove to Mildura for a shopping spree with Mr Payne’s credit card. They purchased new phones and some pets for the boys.

When police inquired about Mr Payne’s whereabouts, she moved the freezer to a neighbour’s house. The neighbour’s son opened the freezer and called police.

Payne, who remains in custody, will return to court at a later date for a pre-sentence hearing.


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