Katie Foreman murder trial: jury retires

The jury in the Katie Foreman murder trial has retired to consider its verdict.

Presiding judge Justice Ian Harrison instructed jurors to begin their deliberations shortly before 2.30pm on Thursday, after issuing a final set of legal directions about the case.

Jurors have been asked to consider  whether  two people, Bradley Max Rawlinson and Michelle Sharon Proud, are guilty or innocent of the murder of Ms Foreman, who died in a deliberately lit fire  at her Corrimal home in the early hours of October 27, 2011.

They will also be able to consider the alternative charge of manslaughter for both accused.

The Crown claims Rawlinson, Ms Foreman’s estranged partner, colluded with his alleged secret lover, Wendy Anne Evans, to kill Ms Foreman so the pair could be together.

It is alleged Evans, who has already pleaded guilty to a charge of murder, hired Proud and her defacto partner, Bernard Justin Spicer, to help  carry out the crime.

The Crown case is that Evans and Spicer went to Ms Foreman’s house and lit the fire that claimed her life, however, the four individuals   were each charged with Ms Foreman’s murder stemming from the allegation that they were part of a joint agreement – referred to as a ‘‘joint criminal enterprise’’ – to seriously harm or kill Ms Foreman.

Rawlinson, Proud and Spicer pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and were ordered to stand trial in the Supreme Court.

Midway through the joint trial, Spicer was granted the right to a separate trial after a legal issue arose in his case.

Lawyers for Rawlinson have argued that their client only wanted Ms Foreman ‘‘scared’’ that evening, not dead, and had no knowledge that she would be killed.

Rawlinson has pleaded guilty to manslaughter. 

Proud’s lawyers have told jurors their client was not part of any agreement to harm or kill Ms Foreman  before her death, and knew nothing of the plan that was eventually enacted.

Jurors will consider evidence from nearly 80 witnesses, along with hundreds of supporting documents, in coming to their decision.

Slain Wollongong lawyer Katie Foreman, and the Corrimal home where she perished.

Slain Wollongong lawyer Katie Foreman, and the Corrimal home where she perished.