Ex-wife cracks during questioning over brutal murder
CANDACE Martin covered for her husband Michael by posing as him in a Facebook message on the same night he drove to Murwillumbah to attempt to murder his father, the Supreme Court has heard.
The Northern Star can now reveal Candace has pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after the fact and grievous bodily harm with intent to murder her father-in-law Michael Anthony Martin, who was slashed and stabbed to death in April 2014 by his son Michael Phillip Martin.
Candace's sentencing hearing started in the Supreme Court in Lismore on Monday but was suppressed from publicity until the verdict in her ex-husband's case was reached.
During the dramatic hearing Candace spent almost two hours giving evidence, at times breaking into tears and accusing the Crown prosecutor of tormenting her.
"You're flogging a dead horse here," she told prosecutor Brendan Campbell. "I've pleaded guilty, what more do you want from me?"
According to Candace the pair were in an abusive, emotionally unstable relationship and she felt forced to go along with her husband's murderous plans out of fear for her safety and that of her three children.
But the Crown argued in the sentencing hearing the scheme was essentially a joint enterprise between husband and wife.
"You knew that Michael Phillip Martin was planning to murder his father. If he was caught, you probably realised he was going to spend a lot of time in jail," Mr Campbell said.
He went on to suggest that Candace was knowingly putting her own children at risk of "depriving (them) of their father" and "exposing yourself to very serious offending".
She replied: "You're putting to me like we were two evil Bonnie and Clyde(s), this was not the case."
The Crown asked Candace about a Facebook post she made on the night of April 6, 2014, when Michael attempted to kill his father the first time.
Candace posted a message on the couple's joint Facebook account posing as Michael, talking about a ring he had supposedly bought for her. The court heard it was an alibi for Michael's trip back to Murwillumbah to try and kill his father.
Candace told the court she made the post "just in case" he killed his father, but said she didn't really believe he would.
"He has always been a bark-is-worse-than-his-bite type of guy," Candace told the court. "I knew he wanted to ... but at the time I didn't think he would ever follow through on it."
The court also heard she co-signed a life insurance claim form one month after her father-in-law's death.
Part of what brought her involvement undone, it has emerged, was a fight the pair had in early 2015 over the potential proceeds of the $1 million life insurance policy, a fight witnessed by a family friend. During the argument Candace called Michael a "greedy pig" over his plans to take all the life insurance money for himself instead of sharing it with his siblings.
Candace also gave evidence about violent incidents involving Michael, such as the time he threatened her with a knife, held a samurai sword to her throat, and brandished the severed head of a puppy.
But Mr Campbell suggested she was trying to "dramatise and sensationalise" aspects of the relationship to downplay her involvement in the murder.
She also admitted sometimes she would retaliate, such as the time when she punched him in the face, causing a bloody nose, after he slapped her.
Asked why she continued to cover for her husband over almost a year after the first attempt on his father's life, Candace said: "It's not in my biological make-up to dob in someone I love."
The sentencing hearing continues.