A Murwillumbah man accused of murdering his father with a samurai sword in 2014 has admitted to a jury he lied when taking out $2.5 million in life insurance policies in the months preceding his grisly death.
Michael Phillip Martin took to the stand in the Lismore Supreme Court on Monday to give evidence in the murder trial over the death of Michael Anthony Martin.
The 46-year-old was allegedly murdered by then 25-year-old Michael Phillip Martin at his South Murwillumbah flat in the early hours of June 13.
The court heard the fatal attack came two months after Mr Martin Snr was severely bashed in April, in what the crown claims was a failed attempt on his life.
The 12 person jury in the trial, which is estimated to take five weeks, were previously taken to the scene of the alleged murder, Mr Martin’s second floor flat in an industrial area at 18-20 Quarry Rd, South Murwillumbah.
Jurors spent an just over an hour inspecting the area outside the unit, News Corporation reported, scribbling notes as Crown Prosecutor Brendan Campbell showed the men and women various key areas of the alleged murder scene applicable to the case.
Under examination by his barrister Gabriel Wendler, Mr Martin told the jury he wanted to mend relations with his father to help his own mental health.
Mr Martin said he met with his father two months before his death to discuss his ‘dream job’ with Somerset Regional Council and juggling financial issues and the enormous pressures of life while raising three young children with an obsessively jealous wife.
The jury of eight women and three men heard the young couple’s mortgage, to which Mr Martin Jnr was the sole contributor, had increased by $50,000 to $270,000 due to renovation expenses.
This, combined with his wife’s compulsive spending saw debts mount, Mr Martin said.
During a visit with his father in January 2014, Mr Martin Jnr said the issue of life insurance was first raised.
He told the jury his dad said his life was ‘f**ked up’ and asked him to purchase a life insurance policy as he feared for his life.
Initially, Mr Martin Jnr said he didn’t want to be involved, but then told his father he would investigate it for him.
Three policies totalling $2.5 million were taken out in Mr Martin Snr’s name, with Mr Martin Jnr’s personal details, in January or February.
‘I know its a lot of money, but that’s what Dad wanted,’ Mr Martin said in a police interview read to the court.
Suggestions by the prosecution that Mr Martin took the policies out without his father knowing were rejected by Mr Martin Jnr.
‘He said son I f**ked up…I don’t want to involve you in this, but I want you and the kids set up when I go,’ Mr Martin Jnr said his father said during their January meeting.
When repeatedly challenged under cross-examination by Crown Prosecutor Brendan Campbell over whether he had lied to the insurance companies, Mr Martin Jnr said ‘yes’.
‘Your bright idea would only work if he was killed,’ Mr Campbell said.
‘It would only be paid out if he did, yes,’ Mr Martin Jnr said.