Christine Malone murder: Jury to consider verdict today

THE jury in the case of a Toowoomba man charged with strangling his housemate to death is expected to retire to consider a verdict today.

In her closing address to the jury, Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden said the only rational inference to be drawn from the evidence was that Desleigh John Henderson, 60, strangled Christine Malone, 50, to death by his hands.

Ms Farnden submitted Henderson had lied about what had happened at their home in Gaydon St, Newtown, on the morning of July 12, 2011, and his recorded interviews with police contained inconsistencies.

Defence barrister Robbie Davies told the jury his client maintained throughout his police interviews that he had taken the family dogs for a walk in a nearby park that morning and he arrived home to find Ms Malone on the floor.

"Mr Henderson says he wasn't there at the time," he submitted.

Henderson has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder.

The Toowoomba Supreme Court has heard the pair had argued after Ms Malone told Henderson she wanted their German shepherd "Rocco" gone from the home as it has become aggressive and had bitten a number of people.

Ms Malone suffered multiple sclerosis and she feared ambulance officers might not be able to get into their yard because of the dog should she need help.

Henderson told police he wasn't happy about getting rid of the dog but said, though he and Ms Malone had argued about the matter, which was the extent of it.

He said he had taken Rocco and their other dog Max to the nearby Black Gully Reserve park for a walk and to say goodbye to Rocco before he was due to be removed, possibly later that day.

He told police he returned from the park to find Ms Malone lying unconscious on the floor of her bedroom and not breathing.

After calling 000, he attempted CPR until paramedics arrived and took over.

Ms Malone was declared dead at the scene.

The court heard Ms Malone had spoken with her son Richard about 9am that day and that the 000 call to the ambulance had been made by Henderson at about 10.15am.

Henderson claims he left the home about 9.30am and was at the park with the dogs for up to 20 minutes.

Ms Farnden submitted it wasn't feasible someone had randomly entered the home and strangled Ms Malone in that short window of opportunity.

A number of witnesses who live adjacent to or used that park told of not seeing Mr Henderson or the dogs in the park that morning, but Mr Davies argued that didn't mean his client wasn't there.

During one of a number of recorded interviews with police, Henderson said Ms Malone had suggested he find somewhere else to live and that he hadn't wanted to leave the Gaydon St home.

In another police interview some days after Ms Malone's death, detectives asked Henderson about clothes in a washing machine found in the laundry at the house.

He said he had put a load of washing on that morning consisting of clothes he had taken from the bathroom.

Asked about the appearance of what could have been blood near the buttons on the washing machine, Henderson said he didn't know how blood might have got there but suggested he may have turned the washing machine off when paramedics arrived, but he couldn't recall.

He said he got blood from Ms Malone on his hands when he tried to move her to start resuscitation after finding her on the floor.

Ms Malone had been bleeding from cuts to the back of her head.

The jury is expected to retire to consider a verdict after Justice John Byrne's summing up this morning. An alternative verdict of manslaughter is also open.



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