An Australian woman was found guilty this month of killing her husband after lacing his cookies and stuffing him into a freezer, following what neighbors called a violent relationship.
According to ABC News, Rebecca Payne, 43, murdered her 68-year-old husband, Noel Payne, in 2020 after lacing his favorite lemon cookies with a lethal amount of temazepam sleeping pills.
Rebecca Stuffed Noel's Body in a Freezer After Killing Him
According to court documents, Payne claimed she was innocent, adding that she didn't mean to kill her husband and panicked when he had no pulse the following morning. Instead of calling for help, she wrapped his body in a blanket, rolled him in a wheelbarrow to an outdoor freeze, and stuffed him inside.
A few days later Rebecca dragged the freezer to a neighbour's backyard. Shortly after, a resident wrenched the lid open, called police and Rebecca was arrested.
A medical examiner testified that it couldn't be determined if Noel died from suffocation in the freezer or from the lethal dose of sleeping pills. Police found the victim stuffed in the freezer with duct tape and straps.
Noel Described as a 'Violent' Monster by Neighbor, Rebecca Wanted to Get Out of the Marriage
The couple reportedly met in 2020, following Rebecca's estranged son's murder in 2017. Noel's daughter, Tracy, said she didn't want them together but they quickly married and moved to Victoria.
The couple's neighbor said that Noel was a "violent" monster who once dragged his wife with a rope tied to his vehicle. "He was a monster," neighbor Jenny told A Current Affair. "He tied her to the back of the car and dragged her along the road until the rope broke." A family friend told A Current Affair he saw "bruises on her arm and ... chest" too. "I believe he used to punch her," the source said.
The court also heard that the victim had been violent not only to Rebecca but to another "sexual partner," who allegedly had a brain injury. In court, prosecutors alleged Rebecca wanted to get out of her marriage — that she was upset about another woman Noel had living in their home with them, and had also had enough of being beaten.
Rebecca admitted to the manslaughter charge and claimed she didn't mean to kill her husband, but the jury didn't believe her and she was found guilty of murder.