Walcha murder: Natasha Beth Darcy appears in Tamworth court charged with murder of Mathew Dunbar; court told of troubles with securing Legal Aid grant

A COURT has heard a woman charged with the murder of her de-facto partner is having trouble securing a grant of legal aid.

Natasha Beth Darcy, also known as Darcy-Crossman, was dressed in prison greens and had her hair tied back in pig-tail buns as she appeared via video link in Tamworth Local Court on Wednesday morning.

Darcy turned 43 in custody earlier this month and is being held in Sydney’s Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre on a single charge of murdering her late partner, grazier Mathew Dunbar, on August 2, last year.

No bail: Natasha Beth Darcy-Crossman, 42, inset, is charged with murdering Mathew Dunbar on August 2, at Walcha. Police are pictured searching the property in November following her arrest. Photos: Gareth Gardner, supplied

No bail: Natasha Beth Darcy-Crossman, 42, inset, is charged with murdering Mathew Dunbar on August 2, at Walcha. Police are pictured searching the property in November following her arrest. Photos: Gareth Gardner, supplied

Magistrate Julie Soars was told well-known Sydney lawyer Bryan Wrench has taken on Darcy’s case, but was not ready for a committal hearing.

My instructions are that Murphy’s Lawyers are having some troubles with a grant of Legal Aid.

Agent solicitor Yvonne Phillipos

“No Your Honour, my instructions are that Murphy’s Lawyers are having some troubles with a grant of legal aid,” agent solicitor Yvonne Phillipos told the court.

DPP solicitor Geoffrey Kidd said a lengthy adjournment was needed because “the brief is some 13 volumes thick”.

“The accused's new solicitor is going to need to get their head around that,” he told the court.

“In addition to that, there is still remains some brief items.”

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Mr Kidd said a pathologist’s report was still outstanding, along with “some FASS [Forensic & Analytical Science Service] analysis, and some phone evidence”.

He said the officer-in-charge had been chasing the material but the pathologist had been away from work.

This is a serious charge, Ms Darcy is in custody, bail refused.

Magistrate Julie Soars

“This is a serious charge, Ms Darcy is in custody, bail refused,” Ms Soars said.

“Ms Darcy is entitled to move through to the committal stage as quickly as possible.”

The case was adjourned to the end of May and Darcy made no application for bail.

“I will be wanting to move this matter forward on that day,” Ms Soars said.

Mr Dunbar died at his Walcha property on August 2 and Darcy was arrested on November 18 by detectives from Strike Force Ballin – the police operation set-up to probe the 42-year-old’s death which was labelled ‘suspicious’.

She was charged with murder and has been in custody since.

The Leader revealed in November that it was the police case that Darcy lied to investigators, used aliases and false names to allegedly source drugs, and researched then deleted web browser searches on how to commit murder.

As part of their case detailed in police facts, police allege in the nine days prior to Mr Dunbar’s death, Darcy allegedly searched ‘murder by injection, ‘the science of getting away with murder’, ‘99 undetectable poisons’, ‘arsenic’ as well as various methods of suicide.

Police also alleged that many of these searches related to certain methods of causing death that are undetectable or hard to locate during a post-mortem, and were allegedly deleted from her phone, but were recovered by police.

Police allege Darcy placed a quantity of drugs and animal sedatives into his food and drink on August 1, sedating him, before allegedly placing a plastic bag over his head and secured it with elastic before turning the tank of helium on, attached to the bag via a hose.

Mr Dunbar had at least five prescribed drugs in his system, according to toxicology reports, police claim, and that Darcy’s DNA, as well as that of Mr Dunbar’s was allegedly found on the bag around his neck.