Daughter charged with murder after putting a drug called ‘green dream’ in her mother’s food thought it would help her sleep, court hears
The husband of a woman accused of murdering her elderly mother was shocked and confused after learning she put drugs in her food, a NSW court has heard.
Barbara Eckersley, 68, is on trial in the NSW Supreme Court for allegedly murdering her mother Mary White at an aged care centre in August 2018.
Eckersley denies murdering her mother, who had severe dementia and other health conditions.
Barbara Eckersley (second left), 68, is on trial in the NSW Supreme Court for allegedly murdering her mother Mary White at an aged care centre in August 2018
Ms White, 92, moved to the aged care home in Bundanoon from a granny flat in her daughter’s backyard after suffering a severe stroke in 2016.
She was paralysed on the right side of her body and at the time of her death was incontinent, non-verbal and needed full-time care.
Eckersley was frustrated at the care provided to her mother and planned to move Ms White to a nursing home in Coffs Harbour the week she died.
She died on August 5, 2018 when Eckersley and her husband Richard were visiting.
Mr Eckersley said it was the shock of his life when days later his wife told him she had put a drug known as ‘green dream’ into her mother’s food on the day she died.
‘I just couldn’t believe it,’ he told the court in Goulburn on Wednesday.
Mr Eckersley told the court he wanted to wait until Ms White’s toxicology report but his wife was adamant about going to police.
After telling police she had put drugs in her mother’s meal, Eckersley was told she would be charged with murder.
Her lawyer Kieran Ginges said the defence would dispute the drugs were the significant cause of Ms White’s death.
She had a range of health problems including a heart condition and thrombosis.
‘She could have died at any time,’ Mr Ginges told the court.
He said Eckersley was severely depressed at the time of the incident and did not have the capacity to understand the events.
Eckersley had the drugs left over from her time working as a wildlife carer in Canberra about two decades earlier, the court was told.
It was used to euthanise native animals.
She added a small amount to her mother’s food thinking she would go to sleep, not that it would kill her, Mr Ginges said.
Crown prosecutor Paul Kerr said murder was usually associated with violence, mayhem, anger, revenge and jealousy.
He said these words did not describe Eckersely, describing her as a loving, caring and compassionate daughter who did what she had out of love.
Mr Kerr told the jury they might feel sympathy for Eckersley throughout the trial.
‘It would be strange if you did not,’ he said.