Woman Who Killed Husband After Years of Abuse, Including Being Forced to Get 18 Tattoos of His Name, Could Face Life in Prison
She faces serious jail time.
Rebecca Payne, 43, was physically assaulted by her husband for over a decade. He made her tattoo his name on her body 18 times, so no one would "love her" and abused her frequently. After years of suffering, she killed him and is now a convicted murder. The Australian woman gave her husband Noel, 68, lemon biscuits laced with sleeping pills in 2020, then shoved his body into a freezer while still alive. She reportedly maintains she didn't mean to kill him and that she was trying to escape and while the prosecution agrees she was abused, they argue she could have left. Now the mother is facing life behind bars and locals are speaking out in support of her. Payne's sentencing will be decided at a later date.
During the murder trial, Payne told the jury that her husband would brutally rape her "whenever he felt like it", control her every move and beat her often, The Times reports. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, she told the court, "He always controlled the money, and he took me down the gravel road, down near the graveyard, he dragged me out the car by my hair." She also stated, "He just started physically hitting me and pulling my hair and kicking me in the ribs and spitting on me. It felt like forever, but I reckon I would have been there for about five [or] 10 minutes."
Payne was found guilty of murder and her lawyer Richard Edney is asking for mercy. According to The Times, he told the Victoria supreme court that his client has a "unique and exceptional case." He added that her husband created a "perverted and disturbing moral universe" where Payne was forced to endure torture. "You've heard evidence of him repeatedly spitting on Rebecca Payne, watching her in the shower, heard the evidence of her being taken to a graveyard near the family home and bashed," Edney said.
Payne, a mother of three, is supported by her son Jaime who has been open about the treatment she suffered. "She lived for 14 years in hell with a monster. The kids need her. The community needs her. We all need her", he told the Herald Sun. He continued, "I just hope they go easy on her and just be lenient for what she's been through."
In an emotional interview with Noel's daughter Tracy, she told A Current Affair she is destroyed over the death of her father. "I was absolutely devastated." She told the outlet that the two met because they were neighbors and she immediately didn't like Rebecca, but the pair hit it off. Now she's left without a father and unanswered questions. "Did he wake up, was he trying to get out?" she said. "She robbed me of my father, not being able to say goodbye to him," Tracy said.
Neighbors are showing their support for Payne and spoke out against her husband. "Bec is a really good person and she really didn't deserve everything that happened to her in life," Rhonda McGee told local station 9 News. Another neighbor, John Lovitt, was visibly upset when discussing the case. "She's the victim, not the perpetrator," he said. "We don't know what we can do to help her."
The Times reports that Payne left in 2012 and went to a women's shelter. Her husband moved a much younger woman who had an intellectual disability into their home. According to the outlet, she told the jury she went back because he threatened to hurt their kids as "punishment for me leaving."
After Payne returned home, her husband refused to break things off with this girlfriend who continued to live in their home. Instead, he is alleged to have subjected both women to "cult-like" exploitation, prompting Edney to describe him as a "domestic terrorist". According to the Australian Broadcast Corporation, the other woman, who can't be named for legal reasons, read a victim impact statement to the court, and described how Noel would force her into non-consensual sex, controlled her money, and "whacked her in the face". She went on to say that "better" with Noel dead.
Prosecutor David Glynn agreed there was evidence to support the claims that Payne was abused, but he argued the killing was planned and that she could have left instead. "This was not a woman who was helpless and unable to act," he said, according to the Australian Broadcast Corporation. "She acted, and what she did required a significant level of planning, thought and above all, I would suggest, determination." In addition, Glynn stated that Payne had resources like a phone, car and cash to leave, but she didn't. "It must have been ghastly to do what she did to him … someone who isn't a psychopath – not that I'm suggesting she is one – would recoil," he said.