4 Dec 2013

Accused thought husband trying to kill her, court told

9:30 pm on 4 December 2013

A former colleague of a Christchurch woman accused of murdering her husband has told a court she had said her husband was trying to kill her, and she may need to get in first.

The Crown says Helen Milner, 50, was unhappy in her four-year marriage to Phillip Nisbet and fed him a meal laced with a lethal concoction of the antihistamine Phenergan which he was allergic to.

At first, Mr Nisbet's death in May 2009 was treated as a suicide. Ms Milner is facing one charge of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Brent Hazeldine told the High Court in Christchurch on Wednesday that Helen Milner talked about problems at home, including with her son and with finances.

He said Ms Milner was concerned that her husband was giving her sweetened food and drink, despite her being a diabetic.

The court was told the accused said her husband may be trying to kill her, and she may need to get in first.

Mr Hazeldine said he assumed she made the comments as a joke, and did not suspect she was involved when he heard that Mr Nisbet had died.

The court was told Mr Hazeldine and other colleagues nicknamed Ms Milner 'Black Widow' in reference to a film character of the same name who kills husband after husband and takes their money.