Court Special -for NIC
Court Special -for NIC

Cheating wife killer won't apologise to her family

A man who deliberately drove into a NSW river, killing his wife, won't apologise to her devastated family, with his lawyer instead telling a court the killer's eleventh-hour guilty plea shows his remorse.

Edward Kenneth Lord's legal team also described the otherwise "excellent day" he and wife Michele shared cruising through northern NSW before he "spontaneously" plunged their car into the Tweed River about 10pm on October 18, 2015.

Edward Lord is led from a prison truck into the Supreme Court for a sentence hearing. Picture: John Grainger
Edward Lord is led from a prison truck into the Supreme Court for a sentence hearing. Picture: John Grainger

Documents released by the NSW Supreme Court show Lord escaped the Nissan 350Z before swimming back into the water to pull his wife through the sports car's window.

He dragged her ashore and tried to revive her with CPR but by the time she was taken to hospital it was clear she would not survive. Her life support was switched off two days later.

Lord, in his first police interview, told investigators he had taken his eyes off the road as he and his wife were "chatting" just before the car ran off the road, landed in the river and "all hell broke loose".

Following her death he took out an obituary in a Gold Coast newspaper which read "you are my lover, soulmate, best friend and my girl forever, baby in my heart. Love Ed xx".

He would ultimately be arrested in early 2017 and charged with murder before pleading guilty to manslaughter days before his trial was expected to start.

NSW Supreme Court Justice Ian Harrison, at a sentencing hearing on Thursday, suggested to Lord's barrister his victim's family had travelled long distances to hear and judge his remorse in court.

"This courtroom is full of people who don't have a voice," the judge said. "They can be forgiven for being disappointed they hadn't heard (Lord speak) could they not?"

But Lord's barrister, Jason Watts, said they would not feel that way if they had travelled to Lismore to hear Lord enter his guilty plea.

He added that Lord's remorse was identified in an expert report which was presented to the court.

The barrister said the plea had averted a complex trial that would have forced many people to re-live the trauma of Mrs Lord's death.

On Thursday Mrs Lord's brother told the court "life can be unfair, but this is unbearable," and his sister "deserves life".

Lord will be sentenced next Friday.

HOW EDWARD LORD'S MARRIAGE FELL APART

The manslaughter charge against Lord came after investigators spent a year digging into his troubled final year of marriage, which was detailed in the documents released by the court.

In late 2014 Lord had met a Malaysian student and masseuse at a Broadbeach coffee shop and began going to her for massages.

In early 2015 Lord convinced his wife, who was battling breast cancer, to allow the masseuse to move in to their downstairs bedroom and work as their live-in maid.

Shortly after that Lord began having an affair with their new maid.

Lord, in July 2015, spoke to the maid's immigration agent asking about sponsoring her for a partner visa but was told he could not be in a relationship with his wife to do so.

In late August, according to the maid's diary, Lord proposed and gave her engagement and wedding rings.

In September he holidayed in Vanuatu with his wife, who had booked the trip in a bid to save their marriage.

Edward Lord in handcuffs as he taken from the Southport Watchhouse on the Gold Coast in March 2017 to be extradited to Tweed Heads, NSW. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt
Edward Lord in handcuffs as he taken from the Southport Watchhouse on the Gold Coast in March 2017 to be extradited to Tweed Heads, NSW. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt

But, the documents state, he spent the time texting the maid on a second phone and Mrs Lord returned to Australia dejected.

Suspicious of her husband, Mrs Lord hired a private investigator on October 7.

Four days later - one week before her death - the investigator and Mrs Lord walked into a Queensland police station carrying a wine glass filled with white residue.

"She suspected the offender of putting a sleeping tablet (Temazepam) in her wine to make her fall asleep and allow him to engage in sexual activities with (the maid)," the documents state.

Queensland Police did not investigate and threw the glass away.

When Lord turned his nose up at marriage counselling in the days that followed his wife visited a solicitor to initiate divorce proceedings.

The night before Mrs Lord's death she found her husband and the maid in the downstairs bedroom and a fight ensued.

The police document says Lord is quick to anger in fights with both his wife and the maid - he had punched a hole in the wall, injured himself while punching his car and nearly crashed once and drove the wrong way on the highway.

CCTV footage released by police when they appealed for public assistance about the fatal crash in 2015. It was taken at a premises near the crash.
CCTV footage released by police when they appealed for public assistance about the fatal crash in 2015. It was taken at a premises near the crash.

There were no reports of physical violence against his wife, the document notes.

Lord's barrister told the court "they had, on the whole, an excellent marriage for over 20 years" and the choice to drive into the river was "spontaneous" with "appalling results".

"There were some difficulties at the end but they were in the process of working through them," he said.

He said it was unlike other domestic violence cases "where there is a history of assault and a wife in fear" who is trying "to extricate herself from a domineering husband" before he kills her.

"They had spent the day together driving around, eating and shopping. By all reports they had an excellent day and were in the process of going home," he said.

But the police facts note a fisherman near the Tweed River, on the night of the crash, heard the pair arguing in a carpark.

"He heard the offender say words to the effect of 'I've had a f***ing enough of your shit' and the deceased say 'just take me home'," the document states.

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.


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