Jury deliberates in Bega murder trial

Eight men and four women will now decide the fate of accused murderer Rosemary Priscilla Mackie as they deliberate whether she played a part in helping her former partner kill 26-year-old Marnie-Lee Cave in October 2015.

Mackie, 54, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Cave who died from strangulation, before her body was thrown off Handcocks Bridge at Mogareeka.

Mackie’s defence barrister Peter McGrath continued his final address to the Supreme Court jury in Bega on Wednesday, putting the blame for Ms Cave’s death squarely on Mackie’s former partner Bernard Webber.

Mr Webber took his own life in the days after Ms Cave’s death, after being questioned by police and providing a DNA swab.

Mr McGrath told the jury Mackie’s admissions made to an undercover operative were “all fantasy told as truth”, and the accused had made “double impossible admissions” in the covert recordings.

He said the multiple versions of events Mackie provided the operative were “fantasy”, a “melange of false information”, “inconsistent” with the forensic evidence and taken from rumour, media reports and conversations with her son over the phone.

At times during the recording Mackie was “talking to herself or perhaps Bernie [Webber]”, who was “as real to her dead as he was alive”, Mr McGrath said.

“I wish I could explain the accused’s mind, but I can’t,” he told the court.

Mr McGrath told the jury Mr Webber was the last person seen with Ms Cave on October 13, and his vehicle was captured on CCTV driving from Bega and through Tathra towards the bridge later that night.

He said the DNA evidence provided from the alleged murder weapon during the trial was “not enough to convict” Mackie, and the jury should not be “seduced” by it.

Mr McGrath said messages sent by Mackie to Ms Cave the day the Crown allege she was murdered were not designed to deflect police attention from her, but because she had heard the night before Ms Cave and Mr Webber had “something going on”.

He said their was no forensic link to the murder at Mr Webber’s house, nor the bridge, and as Ms Cave was a regular visitor to the Valley St address her DNA was likely to be present.