The woman accused of fatally poisoning her second husband
was given the nickname 'Black Widow' by workmates, a court
Helen Milner was given the moniker by colleagues at
Christchurch grounds maintenance firm GSL because of her open
disdain for Phil Nisbet and talk of killing him.
The revelation came on the third day of her trial in the High
Court at Christchurch when witness and former workmate Brent
Hazeldine said: "We gave her the nickname of the Black Widow,
which was related to the movie of the wife going around
popping off all the husbands."
Milner, 50, denies murdering Mr Nisbet, 47, on May 4, 2009
and two counts of attempted murder the month before.
The Crown alleges she killed him, most probably by slipping
up to 50 crushed tablets of anti-histamine drug and sedative
Phenergan into his food, then smothering him with a pillow
before faking his suicide.
She is accused of sending herself a text message purporting
to be from Mr Nisbet that read: "I'm sorry honey, I can't
keep going on like this."
The trial has already heard that Milner asked co-workers a
few months before her husband's death whether rat poison
could kill a person.
They laughed off her "whacky" conversations, even joking that
she may have laced muffins she brought in to work with
Yesterday the first police officer on the scene of Mr
Nisbet's sudden death raised concerns over the "convenience"
of Milner receiving a texted suicide note in front of him.
Sergeant Christopher Barker called in his superiors, citing
"some concerns about how things had been unfolding" at the
They thought Milner's prolonged display of hysteria amounted
to an "unnatural reaction".
Despite the initial fears of the attending officers, police
originally ruled Mr Nisbet had taken his own life.
However, after a coroner raised doubts over the death, a
homicide probe was launched and more than two years later
Milner was charged with murder.
The Crown alleges Milner was determined to kill her husband
and cash in a $250,000 life insurance policy.
It's alleged she plotted the best way to do it, asking
friends and workmates for views on poisoning methods, and
offering to pay a hitman $20,000.
The trial, before Justice David Gendall, continues.