Woman denies insurance call following sister’s death
THE sister of a woman who died by suicide has denied calling an insurer to make a claim on her dead sister's life insurance within days of her death.
Lynette Lucas told the Supreme Court she did not know until after her sister Jenny Morant's death in November, 2014, that she had once been named as a beneficiary.
Jennifer Lee Morant's husband, Graham Morant, is standing trial for counselling and aiding his wife to kill herself, by gassing herself in her car in November, 2014.
Graham Morant was the sole beneficiary on three life insurance policies worth a total of $1.4 million at the time of Jenny Morant's death, the court has heard.
Mrs Lucas gave evidence that Jenny had told her Graham wanted her to kill herself and that he had encouraged her to take out the $1.4 million worth of life insurance.
She said her sister told her that Graham would not be able to wait until the 13 months until claims could be made after a policy-holder's suicide.
Under cross-examination by Morant's counsel, Dean Wells, Mrs Lucas denied making up those statements by her sister about Graham Morant.
Mr Wells put to her that if Jenny said anybody couldn't wait until an exclusion period expired she was talking about her, the then beneficiary.
"She was talking about Graham," Mrs Lucas said.
Mrs Lucas said her sister told her that she was going cancel the life insurance policies, but keep it secret from her husband, and Mrs Lucas thought she had.
She denied Mr Wells's suggestion that she had counselled Jenny to transfer the policies to her as beneficiary.
"No, we had discussed her life was in danger and the best thing to do was to cancel the policies," Mrs Lucas said.
Mr Wells put to Mrs Lucas that she rang an insurance company on December 3, 2014, to claim her sister's life insurance.
"No, I did not. I rang to ask and inquire whether the policy was still valid, because when I saw my name I was horrified, in total shock," Mrs Lucas said.
Mrs Lucas said she did not know until after her sister's death, when she opened an insurance information pack her sister had left with her, that she had once been a beneficiary.
She denied Mr Wells's suggestion that when she rang the insurer she was deeply shocked to find the beneficiary had been changed to Graham Morant.
Mrs Lucas said she was not told who the beneficiary was, only that it was not her.
The court heard that on that same day, she contacted police about her sister's death.
When shown a note purportedly written by Mrs Morant before her suicide, and found at home afterwards by her husband, Mrs Lucas said she did not recognise the handwriting or signature as her sister's.
In the note, Mrs Morant allegedly wrote: "It's my choice to do it this way and there was no one else to blame".
The trial is continuing.
In her evidence on Monday, Mrs Lucas said her sister Jenny Morant's husband, born-again Christian Graham Robert Morant, said the end of the world was coming and his wife would not cope with the disaster.
Mrs Lucas said her sister Jenny told her she feared for her life and told her about her $1.4 million worth of life insurance policies, solely benefiting her husband Graham.
"She had said that Graham had encouraged her to take them out,'' Mrs Lucas told the Supreme Court in Brisbane.
She said Jenny told her: "It's all about the money with Graham'' and said she just had to take them out.
Graham Morant is charged with counselling Jennifer Morant, 56, to kill herself, thereby inducing her to do so between February 1 and December 1, 2014, at Oxenford or elsewhere.
He also is charged with aiding his wife of 14 years to kill herself, on November 29, 2014, at Oxenford or elsewhere. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Crown prosecutor Michael Lehane said Morant drove his wife to a hardware store, where she bought a generator she used to kill herself, and he helped load it into her car.
The Tamborine Mountain woman, who was found to have gassed herself in her car, had suffered from chronic back pain but did not have a terminal illness, the court was told.
Mrs Lucas said Morant had told his wife of a man who had done an "amazing and wonderful thing'', killing himself after taking out life insurance benefitting his wife.
"Jenny said 'He is trying to encourage me to kill myself,'' Mrs Lucas said.
Mrs Lucas said Jenny told her Graham had taken her to see a property he wanted to buy with the insurance money as a safe commune for "when the raptures and Armageddon came''.
"She said he didn't believe it would be a sin in God's eyes to commit suicide because she would be doing something good for the church and helping him,'' Mrs Lucas said.
She said when she asked Morant how she knew how to gas herself with a hose attached to her car, he said: "Well she watched CSI''.
Defence counsel Dean Wells told the jury: "There are more wheels within wheels and more subplots in this particular case than you will ever see in any courtroom drama on television.''