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‘Peculiar’ concerns in Crabtree murder case

Written by on May 13, 2024

A mum accused of murdering her adult children with fatal overdoses of prescription drugs could still have the charges against her dropped despite new evidence being found seven years after her arrest, a court has been told.

Maree Crabtree, 57, is charged with the murders of her adult children Erin and Jonathan in 2012 and 2017 respectively.

She is also charged with 11 Commonwealth offences linked to alleged fraud and is facing one count each of attempted murder and attempted fraud.

Earlier this year, Ms Crabtree pleaded not guilty to Jonathan’s murder, along with the charges of attempted murder and attempted fraud.

She is yet to stand trial for Erin’s alleged murder.

The Crown alleges Ms Crabtree gave her adult son a fruit juice laced with a lethal dose of prescription medication before claiming thousands of dollars from his life insurance payout.

But the trial was aborted after a “significant” number of documents that were relevant to the case and the evidence of the Crown’s star witness – Ms Crabtree’s daughter Tara Crabtree – came to light.

Ms Crabtree was granted bail in February after spending some six years in custody.

During an earlier review in March, the court was told a forensic analysis of a blender revealed traces of prescription drugs, including oxycodone, diazepam and quetiapine.

On Monday, the court was told that only some of the drugs found in the forensic analysis of the blender allegedly used to blend the fatal drink were found in Jonathan’s toxicology report.

Justice Peter Davis said he had some concerns about the potential conflicting evidence of the drugs Tara told police her mother allegedly put into the blender and the results of Jonathan’s toxicology report.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about his case because it’s such a peculiar one,” Justice Davis said.

“I’m worried that if we don’t look at this properly, this is just going to be piecemeal.

“There’s certain drugs found in his system, they’re not all of the drugs that (Tara) says goes into the blender.

“You’ve now got an expert who says that some of the drugs that go into the blender are now found in the blender, so that potentially corroborates her story.

“What I’m worried about is … (that) the Crown still has to explain, I would have thought, why the drugs (Tara) says go into the blender are either not found in the blender or not found in Jonathan, which is more important.

“There might be an answer to that, who knows, but you’re going to have to send the evidence (of) what’s found in the blender back to toxicology.”

The court was told the Crown was also still considering whether they would proceed with the murder charge against Ms Crabtree in light of the new evidence.

Ms Crabtree’s defence lawyer told the court that they’d found their own expert to review the Crown’s forensic analysis.

Justice Davis adjourned the matter to June 17 for further review.

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“The case seems to be going on forever,” he said.

“It’s unlikely that no matter what happens there will be a trial this year and that it proceeds.”

No trial date has been set for either alleged murder cases.