TAS X4 KT 10K or Santas Sleigh Web Wing Left

TAS X4 KT 10K or Santas Sleigh Web Wing Right

tasmania news pageheaders

Murder trial continues in Launceston


It's week three of the trial of Natalie Maher, who is accused of murdering her mother Veronica Costorphine in October 2019.

Maher has plead not guilty to the murder of the 71 year old between October 3 and October 5.

In the Launceston Supreme Court on Monday, the jury heard from retired Queensland academic Dr Dale Mason, who first met Ms Costorphine in 1989.

Dr Mason told the jury that Ms Costorphine was a research librarian at the university when they first met - meeting again between 1996 and 1997 (Dr Mason was unsure of an exact date) where the two became close.

Dr Mason described Ms Costorphine as his dearest friend, closest confidant and long-term muse.

He had visited Ms Costorphine in Launceston, and said they would speak regularly, often on the phone, or via text or email along with sending gifts.

Under oath, the Crown Prosecutor asked Dr Mason what he knew about Ms Costorphine's daughter,  Maher, living with her mother.

He told the jury the last time he spoke to Ms Costorphine was on September 26 via a phone call, where Ms Costorphine was on the back deck and during the course of the call, Ms Maher's lack of financial contribution to the household was discussed.

Dr Mason said Ms Costorphine told him Maher wasn't contributing anything, would get drunk "all the time" and that she was abusive toward her.

The court was then shown text messages Ms Costorphine sent Dr Mason, in which she said she was "bereft with no idea what can be done" about her daughter's "addictive behaviour", that she was "on edge all the time" and that Maher was "manageable when not heavily inebriated".

"I am so sad watching her binge all the time" part of one message read.

The court heard Dr Mason called Ms Costorphine's phone on October 3rd at around 8pm. He said he sent a text around an hour later, in which he received a response "within seconds" from Maher saying her mother was in bed, that she was leaving in a couple of days - and he asked her to get Ms Costorphine to call him.

Dr Mason said he tried to call and texted after that to no avail.

Dr Mason was also the executor and a beneficiary of Ms Costorphine's will - the latter he was unaware of until her passing.

Under cross examination from the defence, Dr Mason agreed that he and Ms Costorphine had common interests, and he was "emotionally attached" to her. 

In the morning, the court also heard from several members of the Western Australian police force based in Bunbury who formed part of the team that arrested Natalie Maher in November 2019 and searched her motel room and car. 

The trial continues this week.