See the Crown case: ‘She is dead and the accused killed her’: Crown
THE barrister for the man charged with murdering his partner says her client loved Johann Morgan and would have "never harmed a hair on her head".
Defence barrister Anita Betts told the panel of 12 jurors in the NSW Supreme Court in Tamworth on Wednesday that the case against Troy Jason Ruttley was "circumstantial" and they could not be satisfied "beyond reasonable doubt" that Johann Morgan was dead.
Now this is a circumstantial case, there is no body.Defence barrister Anita Betts
"Now this is a circumstantial case, there is no body," she told the court.
On a day of closing submissions from the Crown and the defence, Ms Betts said there were a number of issues raised by the Crown including that Ms Morgan's wallet was found in the house, family members had had no contact with the mother-of-eight since August, 2015.
She said those things along with the forensic evidence, combined with the argument between Troy Ruttley, the family, were issues, but not proof.
"You cannot be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Troy Ruttley killed Johann Morgan," she said.
Ms Betts said her client "didn't murder Johann Morgan, he didn't hurt Johann Morgan".
"When he left her she was alive," she told the jury.
He thought it was just another argument where they had been apart for awhile and they would reconcile.Defence barrister Anita Betts
"He thought it was just another argument where they had been apart for awhile and they would reconcile".
Ms Betts rejected the Crown's assertions that Ruttley told lies.
"Lies must be proved to be lies, they can't be assumed," she said.
Ms Betts said Ruttley "did lie" to his neighbour "because she's a stickybeak" but “they were reasons he would use ... and in my submission, they're not out of consciousness of guilt".
She said the Crown's submissions that her client was confused but that confusion was not a sign of guilt.
It's not a memory test ... In my submission, he's doing the best he could do.Defence barrister Anita Betts
"It's not a memory test," she said.
"In my submission, he's doing the best he could do."
Ms Betts said her client gave clear evidence on the stand that he would "never ever" dispose of her body, and did not kill her.
"I loved her, I wouldn't do that," Ms Betts told the jury, recalling her client's evidence.
She said examinations of blood stains at the Cole Rd house where Ruttley allegedly murdered Ms Morgan on or about the 9th of August, showed the amount of blood was "not life-threatening".
"Although it may be a significant injury, it wasn't life-threatening," she told the jury.
Ms Betts told the jury that none of her client's DNA or blood was found on a doona in the bedroom in the Cole Rd house "and I would suggest you would see that on the Crown's assertions".
She said Shareena Ruttley on the night of August 9 did not notice any tearing or staining on Ruttley's clothes when he visited her, and her partner Andrew Ellis did not notice any clothing or staining inside the white Mitsubishi Magna on August 10 - the day after the Crown alleges he murdered Ms Morgan and disposed of her body.
The jury was told "Johann Morgan was in the house alone ... while her daughters were away".
"There was a problem with the window," Ms Betts told the jury, pointing to the broken window that Ms Morgan's son had "broken into the house through that window".
She said two witnesses also gave evidence "there were a lot of break-ins in that area".
The trial continues tomorrow before Justice Anthony Payne.