Murderer's wife agreed to help for 'financial advantage'

Candace Martin will be sentenced next week.
Candace Martin will be sentenced next week. Marc Stapelberg

CANDACE Martin faces a situation "very much of her own making" by embarking on a criminal course of action with her husband to kill a man in his own home for financial gain, a Crown prosecutor has told the Supreme Court.

The 27-year-old mother of four is being sentenced in Lismore for attempted murder and accessory to murder after the fact of Michael Anthony Martin, who her husband stabbed to death in his unit in Murwillumbah in June 2014.

The murder was described as "heinous" by Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell because it was "brutal and savage", had a financial motive, and occurred after an earlier, failed attempt on the victim's life.

Candace gave an "extended period of assistance" to her husband after the murder in June 2014 up until Michael's arrest on March 15, 2015.

Candace agreed to the plan "knowing there was a financial advantage for her as part of the family unit", Mr Campbell said.

Given the "loathing hatred" she knew her husband had towards his father there was no doubting his effort to reconnect with Michael Anthony was a "pretence", and she "must have known that".

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Candace said her husband "sort of sprung it on me" that the family would visit Murwillumbah on April 6 to have lunch with the victim, hours before he was bludgeoned almost to death during a home invasion masterminded by Michael.

Her barrister Simon Healy said she may have gone to the meeting in the "belief and hope" that having a personal connection with his father might cause her husband to reconsider his plans.

But Mr Campbell said a Facebook post written by Candace that night to give Michael an alibi could have thwarted any investigation into his role in the crime.

"The offence could not be committed in the way that it was without the agreement of [Candace]," he said.

"Michael Phillip Martin simply could not have acted with the confidence he did in travelling back to South Murwillumbah [on April 6-7] unless he was confident [Candace] would provide him with the assistance he needed."

Candace's subsequent statement to police after the June 13 murder contained "false and unbelievable details" such as a claimed conversation between Michael and his father in February 2014 about setting up a life insurance policy on his behalf.

Detectives later debunked her claim that Michael ever had such a conversation with his father.

"The statement was a deliberate attempt to minimise her involvement," Mr Campbell said.

She also told police "it was not a possibility" that Michael could have killed his dad, describing him as emotionally "devastated" after the first attempt on his father's life.

Weighing in Martin's favour was her early plea of guilty to the most serious charge, accessory to murder, and various other factors.

But Mr Campbell told the court that any reduction in the sentence "cannot of course be disproportionate to the level of criminality".

"The custodial proportion needs to be significant."

Justice Peter Hamill will hand down his sentence next Friday, November 3.

Topics:  court editors picks murder

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