Helen Elizabeth Milner's son says he found her one night crushing up powder after she had spoken repeatedly of wanting to "get rid" of her husband and talked about ways she could do it.
Adam Francis Kearns told the sixth day of Milner's trial that she had spoken of putting crushed glass in the mashed potatoes or poisoning him with drugs, Phenergan, or sleeping pills.
"I laughed it off, along with everyone else," said Kearns, aged 22, the son of Milner from an earlier marriage.
Milner, 50, is charged with the attempted murder of her husband Phillip James Nisbet in April 2009, and his murder a month later when the Crown alleges she gave him the anti-allergy and sedative Phenergan in his evening meal, and then suffocated him while he lay sedated in bed.
She has denied the charges at her trial before Justice David Gendall and a jury in the High Court at Christchurch. The defence says Nisbet's death was suicide.
Kearns said he lived at the address in Halswell, with his mother and stepfather, intermittently before the time of Nisbet's death.
He had hoped to get a home detention sentence there because he needed a stable address and support around him.
He said the situation at the home was "unnormal - things weren't right"."
She said she had had enough and she wanted to deal with him. 'Get rid of him', was what she said.
"I laughed it off, along with everyone else. I didn't think my mother would be capable of that."
It started off subtly but she mentioned it repeatedly and gave more detail about how she wanted to do it, he said. She discussed putting crushed glass in the mashed potatoes, or poisoning him.
FOUND MILNER WITH GROUND-UP POWDER
One evening, he got up and found her in the kitchen with powder ground up and some empty capsules, while her husband was in bed. Milner looked shocked and guilty to see him.
He asked her what she was doing, and she said she was not going to do it. He recalled the powder had a bluey-white tinge to it.
There was a heated argument.
Kearns said she was sick in the head and "not my mother anymore". He called her a murderer. He said he would be moving out next day.
Milner became upset, in tears, and begged forgiveness.
Kearns said he could not bring himself to go to the police but he tried to tell Nisbet about it. He also laughed it off.
TEXT MESSAGE: 'BRING IT ON, MURDERER'
Kearns read off records before the court to show an angry and threatening exchange of texts that followed Nisbet's death.
Milner texted: "I promise I did not do it. I could not live with myself if I did."
She said there had been four pill packets in his drawer, but he texted back: "You tried it before."
Kearns texted Milner: "I want to see the suicide note before I believe it was him."
He told the trial that Milner had sworn on the life of his unborn son that she had not done it.
He accused her of going back on a promise she had made to Nisbet's son and texted her, "All you care about is money."
After another angry exchange, he texted Milner: "Bring it on murderer."
"I'm going to make a statement against you now," he told her.
He let her know he would show the police her texts.
"Cool. Go make an idiot of yourself," she replied. "Have you heard of blackmail?"
Kearns replied: "Have you heard of murder?"
He spoke of her promising $20,000 if anything happened to Nisbet.
"It was money she had offered my brother and other people to make something happen."
That was several weeks before the death.
KEARNS CROSS-EXAMINED: 'I LIKED NISBET'
Cross-examined, Kearns denied that had constantly made demands on the household, for money, and that he had reacted with aggression and anger whenever he did not get his own way.
He acknowledged that he was sometimes dependent on his mother for money, which was potentially spent on drugs.
He told defence counsel Margaret Sewell: "I liked Phil Nisbet, hence why I am sitting here today to bring him justice, thank you."
He agreed that within a year of Nisbet and Milner getting together, he had acted with aggression and anger towards Nisbet and had assaulted him.
He had done this because his mother - he described Milner as manipulative - had claimed she had been assaulted.
"I had no reason for assaulting him other than the fact that I was protecting my mother at the time, stupidly."
He denied that on the day of Nisbet's funeral he had refused to go when someone arrived to pick him up, and carried on cooking drugs instead. He denied that anyone had come to take him to the funeral.
Sewell accused him of tailoring his evidence to suit his case that his mother had murdered Nisbet. He denied that.
The trial is continuing.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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