Emails blew whis­tle on li­ai­son with al­leged mur­der vic­tim EX- WIFE TELLS OF PILCHER’S AF­FAIR

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - LUCY SMITH lucy. smith@ news. com. au

THE man ac­cused of mur­der­ing Townsville grand­mother El­iz­a­beth “Beth” Kip­pen last July had his case briefly men­tioned in Townsville Mag­is­trates Court yes­ter­day.

An­thony O’Keefe is charged with 18 counts in­clud­ing mur­der, two counts of at­tempted mur­der, acts in­tended to maim, dis­fig­ure or dis­able and threat­en­ing vi­o­lence.

The mat­ter was ad­journed for men­tion on Septem­ber 8. DANE An­drew Pilcher’s exwife has told a court their mar­riage ended af­ter she dis­cov­ered he was hav­ing an af­fair with the woman he is ac­cused of mur­der­ing.

Pilcher has pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court in Townsville to the mur­der of his for­mer part­ner Corinne Hen­der­son on Septem­ber 26, 2015.

It has been al­leged Pilcher stabbed Ms Hen­der­son 21 times af­ter see­ing a photo of her with her new boyfriend posted on Face­book.

Pilcher’s ex- wife Kather­ine Pilcher yes­ter­day told the court that he was in the army when she met him in 2006.

The court heard the cou­ple mar­ried in 2010, pur­chased a home and had a son in 2012.

Dur­ing ques­tion­ing from de­fence bar­ris­ter Har­vey Wal­ters, Ms Pilcher said she was un­aware her hus­band was hav­ing an af­fair un­til she dis­cov­ered emails be­tween him and Ms Hen­der­son. She said she con­fronted Pilcher and con­tacted Ms Hen­der­son.

“You tried to bring to her at­ten­tion that you were mar­ried to Dane and that she should cease the re­la­tion­ship with him?” Mr Wal­ters asked. “Yes,” she replied. Ms Pilcher tes­ti­fied that she and Pilcher sep­a­rated about Jan­uary 2014. She said Pilcher was “hys­ter­i­cal” when he phoned her on the night of Septem­ber 26, 2015.

Crown prose­cu­tor Michael Cowen QC read to the court a state­ment Ms Pilcher made to po­lice the fol­low­ing day.

“I re­ceived a phone call from Dane and he was hys­ter­i­cal. He said ‘ I think I have killed her’,” he read.

“You said ‘ Stay with her, hold her and call an am­bu­lance’, and he replied ‘ I can’t, I’ve killed her’. You said ‘ Just stay with her or run’.”

Ms Hen­der­son’s friend Michelle Pas­salawua told the court she first learned that Pilcher and Ms Hen­der­son had split up in July 2015.

She said she moved into Ms Hen­der­son’s unit at the start of the fol­low­ing month.

Ms Pas­salawua said in late August 2015, Ms Hen­der­son had changed the locks.

“Dane had a copy of the orig­i­nal key that he wouldn’t give back so she had the locks changed,” she said.

Pilcher’s child­hood friend Amie Read said in the weeks lead­ing up to Ms Hen­der­son’s death she had ex­changed text mes­sages with Pilcher about his re­la­tion­ship break­down.

Mr Cowen read out a text sent to Ms Read on Septem­ber 8. “My ly­ing and in­de­ci­sion fi­nally took its toll and she gave up on me. I feel de­stroyed and empty,” he read to the court.

Mr Cowen read out an­other text sent on Septem­ber 24.

“I’m still strug­gling to ac­cept it but I have to oth­er­wise I’ll start to hate and be­come an­gry and abu­sive. I don’t want to be that bloke,” he said.

The trial is sched­uled con­tinue to­day. to

PHONE CALL: Kather­ine Pilcher leaves court yes­ter­day and ( inset) Corinne Hen­der­son.

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