Vet called police over sedative request before grazier’s death
Two weeks before grazier Mathew Dunbar was found dead on his property near Tamworth – with a cocktail of drugs in his system – a local vet rang police with concerns.
Mr Dunbar’s partner, Natasha Beth Darcy, had called the Walcha vet clinic about booking the family’s dog in to be de-sexed.
At the end of the conversation she allegedly asked if she could buy some ram sedatives.
The vet nurse who took the phone call told Ms Darcy she could only give the powerful tranquilisers to the person administering the drug. She then reported the request to vet Rachel Greig.
When Mr Dunbar came to pick up his dog from the clinic the following day, Ms Greig was keen to ask him whether he indeed needed any ram sedatives.
“I said ‘Tasha had asked for it the day before and did she need it’. He didn’t appear to have any idea what I was talking about,” Ms Greig told the NSW Supreme Court today during her evidence in Darcy’s murder trial.
She told the court she was “taken off guard” by Mr Dubar’s answer and later phoned him to reiterate his partner had requested to buy the sedatives.
“I felt a responsibility to ring him and to make sure he was aware Natasha ordered it,” Ms Greig said.
She recalled Mr Dunbar saying, “I don’t need any ram sedatives”.
“He didn’t know why she asked for it cause they weren’t shearing,” she said.
But despite telling Mr Dunbar twice about his partner’s attempt to purchase the sedatives, Ms Greig was still worried.
“I was very concerned. I couldn’t think of any reason that she would have asked for it that was a legal reason.”
She later phoned a local police officer about Ms Darcy’s request and made a statement at Walcha police station the same day, June 20, 2017.
Ms Darcy is accused of murdering Mr Dunbar by blending numerous drugs in a NutriBullet – including ram sedatives – before gassing him in his bedroom in the early hours of August 2.
She has pleaded not guilty to murder.
The court also heard from veterinarian surgeon Bernard May who said he had sold Darcy sedatives at his Armidale surgery after she said she needed it for her horse “Bugs”.
He gave her 100 milligrams of the drug Acepromazine – enough to sedate up to 40 horses – and she provided him with the name “Natasha Pascoe” and gave him the address of “4 Daily Street Walcha”.
At the time she lived with Mr Dunbar on his multi-million dollar property “Pandora” on Thunderbolts Way, just outside of Walcha.
Another witness, a friend of Ms Darcy’s told the court Ms Darcy had purchased $100 worth of antipsychotic drugs – Paliperidone and Seroquel – after explaining Mr Dunbar only had six months to live due to a brain injury.
The witness, now a law student, had acquired these from a friend who had been prescribed the medication which is most commonly used to treat schizophrenia.
The woman also agreed under questioning by Crown prosecutor Brett Hatfield that Ms Darcy had told her Mr Dunbar was a gay business partner who she lived with.
She told the court Ms Darcy said she needed the drugs to help Mr Dunbar sleep and that he had not been given strong medication because this would cause his tumour to grow.
The jury were shown a series of Facebook messages which allegedly showed Ms Darcy requesting to buy the drugs between July 10 and July 29, 2017.
Ms Darcy’s defence barrister has previously told the court her client “aided and abetted” Mr Dunbar in committing suicide.
The trial continues before Justice Lonergan.