Natasha Darcy Crossman
Natasha Darcy Crossman

7000 pages of evidence against Walcha widow

POLICE have compiled a whopping 7000 page brief of evidence to be used against the widow accused of murdering Walcha farmer Mathew Dunbar.

Today Natasha Beth Darcy faced Tamworth Local Court for the first time since she was moved to a Sydney jail shortly after her arrest.

The 42-year-old is accused of killing Mr Dunbar - a much loved farmer - at his sheep property 'Pandora' in the state's northern tablelands on August 2 last year.

Today she appeared via video link from Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre wearing a prison issued green T-shirt with her hair in plaited pigtails.

The court heard police had compiled a 7000 page brief of evidence against Darcy but were still in the process of obtaining further reports from a pathologist and toxicology experts.

Darcy was arrested in November last year following a three-month investigation into Mr Dunbar's death by detectives from Oxley Local Area Command and the NSW Police homicide squad.

Walcha farmer Mathew Dunbar and Natasha Crossman. Pic Nathan Edwards
Walcha farmer Mathew Dunbar and Natasha Crossman. Pic Nathan Edwards

Her arrest came after a The Daily Telegraph investigation which revealed Mr Dunbar had signed over his multimillion-dollar estate to Darcy in the months before he was killed.

When Darcy appeared on the screen in court magistrate Julie Soars asked her if she could hear the proceedings.

"Yes, I can," Darcy said with a clear voice, blinking as she stared at the screen.

After magistrate Soars ordered that the brief of evidence be served by March 14, she again asked Darcy if she understood that further material needed to obtained before her matter could progress.

"Yep, sure … thank you," she said.

Today was the first time Darcy was publicly seen and heard since she was bundled onto a plane by police at Tamworth Airport.

At the time she had been refused bail on one count of murder and was dressed in a striped T-shirt and glitter-studded jeans as she was led handcuffed across the tarmac.

She was then flown to Sydney and then transferred to jail at Silverwater.

In a statement of facts tendered to court, police allege Darcy placed sedatives in Mr Dunbar's food and drink on the night of his death.

Walcha sheep farm “Pandora”. Picture: Emma Partridge
Walcha sheep farm “Pandora”. Picture: Emma Partridge

She then allegedly placed a plastic bag around his head and placed a tube underneath which was connected to a helium gas canister.

Mr Dunbar was found dead on the property he had inherited from his father but in a stranger-than-fiction twist, the first paramedic on the scene was Colin Crossman - Ms Darcy's ex-husband.

There's no suggestion Mr Crossman was involved in Mr Dunbar's death.

The police facts also allege Darcy Googled several terms on the mobile including "the science of getting away with murder"; "99 undetectable poisons" and whether "helium showed up in an autopsy".

When confronted days before her arrest Darcy said she had found her "sweet and kind" partner and had done all she could to save him.

"Well I knew it was going to close [the investigation] eventually, I mean I was there - I know he killed himself," she told the Telegraph.

The mother-of-three has told police she stayed up late talking to Mr Dunbar and was shocked to later find him dead.

After his death Darcy posted 10 photos of Mr Dunbar on Facebook and wrote:

"Yesterday we lost the sweetest man in the world. He was gentle, kind and the best stepfather any mother could want for her kids. My heart aches for you Mathew Dunbar but the pain is worth having had you in my life."

Walcha farmer Mathew Dunbar and Natasha Crossman. Pic Nathan Edwards
Walcha farmer Mathew Dunbar and Natasha Crossman. Pic Nathan Edwards

Everyone in Walcha - population 1500 - knew ­Mr Dunbar, 42, as a man who would "give you the shirt off his back".

Mr Dunbar's closest friend and the executor of his will, Lance Partridge, described him as a simple man who always dreamt of having a family.

"Everybody that knew Mathew liked Mathew because he would never hurt anybody, he would always help someone out and he was just giving, giving fellow," Mr Partridge said.

Mr Dunbar's mother Janet, 74, told The Daily Telegraph her son was desperate to have a family of his own because he had been adopted and wanted to feel like he belonged.

"He just wanted to belong, he just wanted to belong to a family and be loved," Ms Dunbar said.

Ms Dunbar had been estranged from her son for 20 years but said she never stopped loving or thinking of him and always kept a room made up for him in her Walcha home.

In the room that Mr Dunbar never saw is a large picture mounted on the wall of his graduating class from The Armidale School (TAS) and an "extra long" single bed his mother had custom made for the gentle giant.

Ms Dunbar said her son had been a "computer wizard" when he attended The Armidale School (TAS) and enjoyed playing guitar and soccer as a teenager.

"I just love him so much and (if I could) I'd hug him and say, 'Mathew all these years we've lost - I know we can never make them up but let's stay in touch and help each other.'"

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