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Woman accused of murder denied bail over witness interference fears


A Rockhampton woman accused of the stabbing murder of her husband has been refused bail amid fears she could interfere with family witnesses and pervert the course of justice.

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Kerrie-Lee Catling, 49, is charged with murdering her husband Chris, 51, on March 22.

Chris Catling’s body was discovered in a lounge chair with a single wound to his chest.

An autopsy determined he died from a 12cm stab wound inflicted with a “downward trajectory” that penetrated his heart.

No defensive wounds were identified with a knife found on the floor beside his right hand.

Two emergency calls were made from the Rockhampton home on the day of the tragedy, a Supreme Court bail application outlined on Friday.

The first was from Chris Catling’s mobile phone with a female voice detected in the background asking: “Did you get onto them?”

Nine minutes later, the second call was made by a female before Chris Catling – wounded and unresponsive – was found by police.

“The disturbing feature in this material includes assertions in the crown case that the applicant has engaged in the past in behaviour said to be fraudulent,” Justice David Boddice said.

“In particular relevance, at the time of the deceased’s demise, there was a real issue in respect of family finances – the concern was that mortgage payments were not being met.

“There is evidence that the applicant engaged in the subterfuge of creating effectively a false bank manager as a person who could be spoken to by the deceased – presumably in an effort to deflect the true position.”

The Crown strongly opposed bail, alleging there was an unacceptable risk of Catling interfering with witnesses, including family members who have made significant changes to their evidence since her arrest.

Despite Catling’s legal team offering a promise that the accused would  “abstain” from discussing her case with witnesses as a condition of her release, bail was refused.

In his decision, Justice Boddice found Catling’s willingness to “engage in subtle behaviour” to affect material witnesses went to the heart of witness interference.

“The risk of interfering with witnesses or otherwise obstructing the course of justice is an unacceptable risk.”

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