EXCLUSIVE: The fatal errors that sealed the conviction of the ‘Cookie Monster’ killer after lacing her husband’s biscuits with sleeping pills and stuffing him in a freezer
- Rebecca Payne found guilty of murder
- Poisoned Noel Payne, 68, and stuffed him in freezer
- Went on spending spree with his credit card
- Immediately began drinking and smoking
- Called cops to complain about dead husband
A series of fatal errors guaranteed a woman dubbed the ‘Cookie Monster’ killer would end up convicted of murder.
Rebecca Payne, 43, faces life in prison after being found guilty of the sadistic murder of Noel Payne, 68.
She faced the Supreme Court of Victoria on Monday where her barrister Richard Edney urged Justice Rita Incerti to have mercy on his client due to allegations of gross domestic violence at the hands of her victim.
Rebecca Payne told a litany of lies after drugging, bagging and stuffing her husband into a hot chest freezer
Noel Payne was painted as brazen thug who controlled, tormented and sexually abused Payne and his other ‘wife’
Daily Mail Australia can now reveal the compelling reasons why a Supreme Court of Victoria jury had no doubt of her guilt.
Payne had told the jury she did not mean to kill her husband in September 2020 when she drugged him with drug-laced cookies and sealed him, likely while still alive, in a chest freezer.
But her plea to manslaughter meant she could not claim self-defence in her murder trial.
Payne described her husband as an oafish brute, who had degraded and sexually assaulted her for years on end.
While many victims of domestic violence have successfully run self defence trials, Payne’s allegations of abuse did nothing more than add some weight to her claims that she simply drugged her husband for a ‘a night off’ from his wicked ways.
‘I just wanted – I wanted some peace. I just wanted him to sleep,’ Payne told the jury.
Like many of Payne’s decisions, her final one to enter the witness box would come back to haunt her.
Accused killers are rarely enter the witness box where they can be cross examined by prosecutors.
Crown prosecutor David Glynn ate and spat out Payne’s story, highlighting during his closing address each and every lie she had told the jury.
‘Her evidence to you was plainly not true and you can see that both from the internal problems and inconsistencies and just implausibilities of her account and also all the other evidence … which goes to show that the death of Noel Payne was her aim, and she achieved her aim,’ he said.
Mr Glynn insisted Payne’s allegations of domestic violence did nothing to help her case.
‘What is the relevance? Well, I guess it helps to explain why Rebecca Payne wanted a night off … So on that answer, domestic violence is worth nothing at all, like literally nothing. The broader relevance of it, not much.’
Noel Payne and Rebecca Payne. Her barrister described photos of her as looking gaunt and devoid of any signs of happiness
Noel Payne was accused of pretending to be an ordinary family man, but in reality was a wife beating control freak, the court heard
The jury heard Payne had managed to extract herself from the relationship back in 2012, leaving her two young sons in her husband’s custody.
Her departure saw Mr Payne take on a new lover, who cannot be named for legal reasons, quickly establishing her in the family household as a new mother figure.
When Payne reconciled with her husband later that year, he refused to let go of his lover – 35 years his junior – who remained living with the couple all the way up until the night of the murder.
Fed up with her lot in life, the court heard Payne hatched a plan to kill her husband, stocking up on sleeping pills in the weeks before she struck.
On August 30, 2020, five days before Mr Payne would die, Payne cooked-up two batches of cookies – lemon and chocolate flake, and Milo.
In the witness box, Payne claimed she couldn’t recall how many pills she crushed-up and poured into the icing she smeared over those cookies.
Forensic experts later found 69 milligrams of temazepam – about seven pills – in Mr Payne’s stomach and more in his bloodstream.
After duct taping Mr Payne in a blanket and strapping him into the freezer, Payne returned to the family home where she saw her husband’s other wife in the hallway.
The woman told the jury Payne gave her a ‘thumbs up’ gesture.
The kitchen Rebecca Payne cooked-up deadly batches of cookies she fed to her husband
PAYNE’S CLAIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Rebecca Payne’s barrister Richard Edney described Noel Payne as a ‘domestic terrorist’.
The court heard Payne had been branded with 18 tattoos bearing her husband’s name.
His other wife was made to ink it five times.
‘It’s almost cult like, what he’s creating here,’ he told the jury.
Mr Edney condemned the prosecution’s submissions dismissing Payne’s alleged abuse.
‘The prosecutor will have you wipe that history,’ he said.
‘And just so it’s well clear, domestic violence, family violence does not have a shut-off time. That’s why it’s so awful and it’s why it’s so awful with someone like Rebecca Payne who can’t readily leave where she is.
‘But according to the prosecutor, not relevant … He says put it to one side. Use it for motive but don’t use it for understanding and that’s what is critical in this case, understanding Rebecca Payne’s journey and that’s why you’ve seen all this evidence because you’ve had to unfortunately but all of us in this courtroom have a snapshot, only a tiny snapshot of what she endured.’
The following day Payne cooked-up a story that her husband – a car enthusiast whose yard was littered with working vehicles – had left on foot with $10,000 in cash, a laptop and a bag of clothes.
Armed with his credit cards, she then embarked on a shopping spree, spending $5,097 on mobile phones, a modem and pets for her kids.
When she got home, a neighbour noted Payne appeared happier than she’d ever seen her before, noting she’d been both drinking and smoking.
The jury heard Mr Payne had indulged in neither and forbid his partners from doing so.
‘Since when do you drink or smoke?’ the neighbour asked.
‘Since I got my life back,’ came Payne’s answer.
Over the following days Payne attempted to convince town folk her husband had simply done a runner with yet another woman.
She sent text messages from Mr Payne’s phone, which she used as ‘proof’ to back her claims.
‘Look after the boys, have a happy life. I have meet someone else, it’s over,’ the text stated.
But Payne’s tale was quickly unraveled by her own hands.
With her husband’s body decomposing in the switched-off freezer by the shed, Payne asked a friend to help change the locks on her house out of fears ‘Noel would come back’.
Her worried friend called the police, who visited her home the next day for a welfare check.
Payne told the officer the same things that she had told everyone else, but went a step further declaring she wanted to make a domestic violence report about her dead husband.
Noel Payne was known to own a fleet of cars, which he stored at home. Rebecca Payne claimed he had left on foot when he decided to take-off with another woman
The officer said he’d return the next day to take the report.
Petrified the officer would find her husband’s body, Payne called-up a neighbour and asked if she could dump the freezer at her house.
She told the neighbour the freezer was loaded with rotting meat that she didn’t want her dogs getting at.
Her plan was foiled when the neighbour’s son opened it and promptly called police.
With police closing in, Payne confided in a friend what the jury accepted was the truth.
‘I murdered him, I murdered him, I’m going to lose my boys, I put him in the freezer out the back,’ she told the friend.
Upon her arrest, Payne initially claimed her husband had suicided and she panicked and hid his body.
It was a story she would hang onto until her eventual plea to manslaughter.
‘Rebecca Payne’s gone through a series of stories,’ Mr Glynn told the jury.
‘Every time a story runs into a problem, she tweaks it or improves it or comes up with a new one that hopefully will get her out of responsibility for what she’s done.’
In his closing address, Payne’s barrister attempted to convince the jury his client’s pathetic attempts to cover-up her crime ought give them comfort she was telling the truth.
‘Rebecca Payne, I want to suggest, knew she wasn’t going to get away with this. She was going to be held responsible for the death of Noel Payne,’ Mr Edney said.
Justice Incerti will decide Payne’s fate in a date to be fixed.
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