Louis James Mahony has pleaded not guilty to murder
Louis James Mahony has pleaded not guilty to murder

Murder accused changed story at de facto wife's wake

MONTHS before her death, Lainie Coldwell had told a good friend for the second time she was leaving her de-facto husband Louis James Mahony, Toowoomba Supreme Court has heard.

Bradley Ogden said he and his wife had befriended Lainie and Louis after the couple moved for a time to Borroloola in the Northern Territory where Louis Mahony had been stationed in the police force.

He said he had gone on regular fishing trips with Lainie and they kept in touch when the couple returned to Charleville and met up for annual fishing trips.

It was during a conversation in February or March, 2009, that Lainie had told him again that she was leaving Louis, Mr Ogden told the court.

Mahony, 44, has pleaded not guilty to murder arising from the death of Lainie Coldwell who was found with a serious head injury at the base of a gum tree in front of the couple's then home in Walter St, Charleville, on Sunday, August 23, 2009.

Mahony claimed his de-facto of 18 years had fallen from the tree but the Crown accuses him of killing the 36-year-old mother of his child and staging the scene to look as if she'd fallen from the tree.

Mr Ogden said he and his wife had attended a memorial service for Lainie in Charleville and had spoken with Louis Mahony that night at the wake.

He said during that initial conversation, Mahony told him what had happened and said after finding Lainie he had panicked and hadn't known what to do.

However, about two hours later Mahony had spoken with him again about the incident but had changed his story markedly, he said.

Mr Ogden said on that occasion Mahony had said, "Thank God for my police training, I knew exactly what to do".

Asked by prosecutor Carl Heaton about Mahony's demeanour that night, Mr Ogden said, "It was a performance" and that he thought Mahony was enjoying being the centre of attention.

In a taped interview with insurance investigator Roger Pearce that was played to the court, Mahony denied having an affair with another woman or that Lainie was leaving him.

He conceded Lainie had contracted an STD but he couldn't explain that.

He also told Mr Pearcehe had performed mouth to mouth on Lainie despite claims he had told other people he could not perform mouth to mouth because Lainie had dirt, leaves and blood around her mouth.

The trial before Justice James Douglas continues.