An Adelaide man has been found guilty of murdering his wife, who drowned when her wheelchair toppled into a pond, a judge saying it’s the ‘only rational inference available on the evidence’.
Peter Rex Dansie, 70, was accused of killing his wife Helen, 67, in the Adelaide parklands in 2017.
After a trial by judge alone, Supreme Court Justice David Lovell found him guilty of the murder charge on Friday.
Peter Rex Dansie, 70, was accused of killing his wife Helen, 67, in the Adelaide parklands in 2017
Dansie showed no emotion as the verdict was delivered and Justice Lovell revoked his bail.
He will return to court in February for sentencing submissions.
‘I find that the prosecution has proved all four elements of murder beyond a reasonable doubt,’ the judge said in his reasons.
‘To put it another way, I find that Mr Dansie, deliberately and with intent to kill Mrs Dansie, pushed her wheelchair, in which she was sitting, into the pond in the gardens.
Helen Dansie drowned in the pond
‘As a result of that action, Mrs Dansie drowned in the pond.’
During his trial, the court heard Dansie told police he briefly climbed into the pond after she fell in, but got out in order to call triple zero.
He told an operator he tried to keep Mrs Dansie’s head above water and manoeuvre her to the edge of the pond in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue her.
But prosecutors in the case alleged it was ‘no accident’ that Mrs Dansie’s wheelchair ended up in the pond, and that her husband’s story was implausible.
Outside court, Dansie’s sister Sue said she thought the verdict was an error.
‘He’s quite a different person but that doesn’t mean he’s guilty of murder,’ she said.
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