Wife Found Guilty of Murdering Husband via Poisoned Cookies

Australian woman convicted of 2020 murder
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Wife Found Guilty of Murdering Husband via Poisoned Cookies
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / schmaelterphoto)

An Australian woman was convicted this month of fatally poisoning her husband in 2020 by lacing his lemon cookies with sleeping pills. Rebecca Payne lived with her husband Noel in the state of Victoria, and the now-43-year-old told authorities he was abusive toward her. In an episode of A Current Affair this week that brought renewed attention to the case two weeks after Rebecca Payne was found guilty, neighbors also alleged there was violence in the Paynes' relationship, News.com.au reports. Prosecutors alleged Rebecca fatally drugged her husband because she wanted out of the marriage, but Rebecca testified in court that she didn't think the sleeping pills would kill Noel, ABC.net reported when the conviction was handed down.

Rather, she testified, she thought he would just "feel sleepy and go to bed," which he did—but he never woke up. When she found him with no pulse, she says she panicked and, instead of trying to resuscitate him or calling for help, wrapped him in a blanket before taping it up with duct tape and shoving it in a chest freezer, which she later pulled into a neighbor's yard. A resident opened the lid and found the body within days of Noel's death. Rebecca Payne has not yet been sentenced. In another odd detail, prosecutors said Noel Payne had another live-in sexual partner whom he was also violent toward, and that woman had sustained a brain injury at some point. (More poisoning stories.)

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