Wendy Evans was a master deceiver who manipulated two men into helping her orchestrate and carry out the revenge killing of Wollongong solicitor Katie Foreman, a court has heard.
Evans, who has already pleaded guilty to murder over her role in Ms Foreman's death, manipulated Bradley Rawlinson and Bernard Spicer into helping her set Ms Foreman's Corrimal home on fire in the early hours of October 27, 2011, lawyers for both men told jurors in Wollongong on Wednesday.
Rawlinson and Spicer, along with Spicer's partner Michelle Proud, are on trial in the NSW Supreme Court accused of murdering Ms Foreman, who died when the fierce blaze ripped through her home.
Prosecutors allege the trio, along with Evans, participated in a "joint criminal enterprise", with the intention of killing or seriously harming Ms Foreman, who was part of a three-way love triangle involving her on-off boyfriend Rawlinson and Evans.
It is alleged Rawlinson and Evans were secret lovers who colluded to "get rid" of Ms Foreman so they could be together - evident through a series of text messages sent between the pair in the months and weeks leading up to the fire.
However, Rawlinson's lawyer, Winston Terracini SC, told jurors they would hear evidence throughout the trial that would lead them to conclude that Evans was "a very manipulative and wicked woman" who had an intense dislike for Ms Foreman, whom she accused of stealing her previous boyfriend.
He suggested the jury would ultimately conclude that Rawlinson had no knowledge that Evans intended to kill Ms Foreman that night.
He said text messages between the pair that discussed Ms Foreman being "gone" from their lives was not neccesarily referencing an impending death.
"You will hear there were legitimate plans for Ms Foreman to move elsewhere and not be residing in Wollongong...there were potential things of interest associated with her career," Mr Terracini said.
Meantime, Spicer's lawyer, Nathan Steel, told jurors his client had been "used and deceived in the most tragic way" by Evans.
He said Spicer admitted to breaking into Ms Foreman's house that night with Evans and throwing a bucket of petrol into the upstairs bedroom, but said he had been assured Ms Foreman would be out of the house at the time.
"He has pleaded guilty [to the charge of break and enter and commit an indictable offence, namely lighting the fire]; that's an admission that he was involved with Evans in the fire being started," Mr Steel said.
"When he threw the petrol [into the room] he in no way intended for Ms Foreman to be killed or harmed.
"He says his only intention was to damage property. He believed at the time Ms Foreman was away from home...he never intended for Ms Foreman to be there."
The case continues.