The scene of a fatal motorbike crash on the Pacific Motorway near Cudgera Creek.
The scene of a fatal motorbike crash on the Pacific Motorway near Cudgera Creek. Mitchell Crawley

Highway murder trial: Woman says car was 'possessed'

UPDATE 5.15pm: A WOMAN accused of the murder of a motorcyclist on the Pacific Highway had told her landlord she was being "psychically attacked" in the days prior to the horrific incident.

Vanessa Fraser, then 47, drove her Ford station wagon at speeds of at least 140kmh into the back of 61-year-old Trevor Moran's Harley Davidson on the Pacific Highway at Cudgera Creek on January 6 last year, killing Mr Moran almost instantly.

Fraser, now 49, has pleaded not guilty to murder in a Supreme Court trial in Lismore before Justice Des Fagan.

Today the court heard a harrowing audio recording taken by police after the crash, in which Fraser said her car was "possessed" and she had heard a "loud voice" telling her to swerve into the motorcyclist.

The court heard that the speed differential between the two vehicles was so great that the motorcycle's rear wheel was driven into the road. Mr Moran's motorcycle came to rest 100m from the impact zone near the northbound Cudgera Creek on-ramp.

In evidence tendered on Monday afternoon, the court heard Fraser been admitted six times to Tweed hospital's mental health unit and five times to Lismore Base Hospital's mental health unit prior to the crash.

Her last stint in the Lismore clinic was from September 21 to October 8 in 2016, but while had been receiving treatment for her mental illness, she had since "disengaged" and ceased her medication.

The court heard of at least two occasions in the 24 hours before the fatal crash when medical assistance was sought by people around her but avoided by Fraser.

The court heard she was observed by her landlord "behaving in a psychotic way talking loudly to herself" on the morning of January 5. The landlord decided to call a mental health team, but Fraser left before they arrived.

Then on the Gold Coast the next morning, a concierge at the Sofitel Broadbeach hotel, where Fraser  had stayed on the night of the 5th, had called an ambulance after he observed Fraser's behaviour. However before paramedics arrived she had already left.

The court heard a concerned person tried to talk her out of driving her vehicle but she "took off".

The court heard two psychiatrists providing expert evidence for both the prosecution and defence had agreed that Fraser suffered from a psychotic illness with "paranoid delusions".

Her psychotic state "prevented her from knowing the nature and quality of the act" of killing Mr Moran, Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell said.

Defence barrister Jason Watts said there were "voluminous" treatment records in relation to Fraser's treatment.

In a brief judge-only trial, both the prosecution and defence concluded their evidence on Monday, with Justice Fagan indicating he would hand down his judgement tomorrow.

 

Original story: A LISMORE woman told police her car was "possessed" when she fatally rammed a motorcyclist from behind at high speed on the Pacific Highway, a court has heard.

Girards Hill woman Vanessa Fraser, 49, is facing a judge-alone trial in the Supreme Court in Lismore for the January 2017 murder of Tweed Heads man Trevor Moran, 61. She has pleaded not guilty.

Fraser's white Ford Falcon struck Mr Moran's Harley Davidson from behind in the northbound lanes of the Pacific Highway near the Cudgera Creek on ramp, at about 8.30am on Friday, January 6 last year.

The impact was at such high speeds that Fraser's Falcon flipped on to its side and slid across a grassy median strip and into the northbound Cudgera Creek on-ramp, ripping out chunks of vegetation on the way.

It travelled on its side for several metres before falling back on to its wheels as it came to rest.

A witness who watched the scene in their rear vision mirror described a "large black object sliding over the roadway", according to statements tendered in court.

Chunks of debris from the two vehicles were scattered across the highway and median strip, as Mr Moran's Harley Davidson came to rest 103m north of the impact spot.

Mr Moran, who was not known to Fraser, had left Byron Bay at about 7.45am that morning.

In an opening address to the court on Monday, Crown Prosecutor Brendan Campbell tendered several witness statements giving evidence that Fraser's station wagon was seen "weaving" in and out of traffic at speeds of up to 200kmh at several points for up to 30km south of the crash scene.

Mr Campbell said Fraser's actions had the character of a "pursuit".

He said the Crown would argue she had an "intention to kill" or at least a "reckless indifference to life" when she struck Mr Moran.

The court would also hear evidence from Facebook posts and Fraser's landlord that her mental state was rapidly deteriorating in the days before the incident.

Within 30 minutes of the crash, police conducted a lengthy recorded interview with Fraser, commencing at the scene, then in an ambulance en route to Tweed Hospital, and while she was being treated for minor injuries and shock in the hospital. This was played to the court in full on Monday.

Rambling and distraught, Fraser claimed she had stayed at the Sofitel hotel on the Gold Coast the night prior and had tried but failed to get help for her disturbed mental state.

In distressed tones, she repeatedly told police: "The car was out of control, it was not in my control".

"I had no control it was like it was driving itself," she said.

"Something took control of that car... like it was [possessed]."

She later told police that she heard a "loud voice" of a man telling her to serve into the motorcyclist.

"Please believe me, I didn't have control of the car.... Suddenly the car just swerved... (and) hit him."

Over and over again, she said: "I didn't mean to cause an accident" and "I am so sorry, I am so sorry".

"I didn't mean to hurt them I promise... I'm not a bad person I promise," she said.

She told the officer she once habitually smoked "a lot" of marijuana, but had only smoked a small amount two days before the crash.

"I'm in hell," she said.

Sitting in the dock clad in a grey suit jacket and black pants, Fraser's eyes have remained downcast throughout the trial, her hands clasped in her lap.

Several family members of Mr Moran's are also in attendance.

The trial continues.



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