Woman stands trial over murder
GOONELLABAH woman Sharyn Strickland has been ordered tostand trial over the murder of herboyfriend in a house fire.
She was also granted bail atLismore Local Court to allow her to receive proper medical care for her severe burn injuries.
Strickland, 41, is charged with the murder of Matthew Tansley, 35, who died on February 8 last year as aresult of burns he received in the house fire at Milgate Close on the night of February 6.
Ms Strickland is accused of deliberately lighting the fire in her bedroom by using petrol.
After hearing evidence in a three-hour committal hearing magistrate Robyn Denes ordered Strickland to stand trial for murder at the NSWSupreme Court on a date to be fixed.
Strickland watched the courtproceedings from Sydney by audio visual link.
Richard Gannon, the brother of Mr Tansley, gave evidence that both his brother and Strickland had been drinking on the night of the fire.
“I put it (the fire) out of my mind as I’m sick of thinking about it,” Mr Gannon said.
“I woke up in an intoxicated state and had to get out of the housequickly.”
Mr Gannon said he saw a broken window where the fire was and he thought ‘maybe someone else threw something in’.
“I’d been drinking alcohol, a small amount of speed, smokes and cannabis,” he said.
He said his brother had somecannabis but Sharyn was drinking mostly alcohol.
Neighbour Peter Cooper said Strickland had been at a tenancytribunal that day and was upset.
He said a lot of people in the street had been harassing her. “I think it was all too much.”
Mr Cooper said he was in another room watching a DVD when he heard a noise and Mr Tansley yelling something that sounded like ‘you’re not are you’.
“You told police you saw Sharyn’s bedroom engulfed in a bright orange colour flame of fire,” Strickland’sdefence lawyer Hugh van Dugteren asked him.
“Matt (Tansley) was trying to barge the door open. The flames went straight over his head.
“I saw him take a lunge at the door to get it open. Must have been acupboard (behind it).
“I was behind Matt when he got the door open.
“It looked like the whole room was on fire.
“I did not see Sharyn the whole time.
“I grabbed a neighbour’s hose, pulled it over the fence, but the fire was too much.”
Mr van Dugteren said there was no doubt the fire began in thebedroom where Strickland was.
He said he disagreed with police facts that stated Strickland would have had ‘foresight’ into her actions because of a previous fire she had been involved in.
Mr van Dugteren said there was no evidence an accelerant (petrol) was used.
The Crown prosecutor saidbecause there had been so much inflammable material in the bedroom it was engulfed by fire. The Crown said it would be ‘nonsense’ for Mr van Dugteren to suggest any traces of petrol would be left after such a fire.
Ms Denes said there was enough evidence of ‘foresight’ that someone was likely to be killed as a result of that act. The level of intoxication was also relevant with all matters for a jury to decide. After sending it to trial the magistrate gave Strickland bail on the condition she live with the mother of her estranged husband, Matthew Strickland, near Bowral.