Phil Nisbet was hospitalised with what he thought was a nasty
reaction to an insect bite on the day his wife is accused of
first trying to kill him, a court heard today.
Helen Milner, 50, is standing trial for the May 4, 2009
murder of Christchurch truck driver Mr Nisbet, in a case that
police originally ruled as suicide.
She also denies two charges of attempting to murder her
second husband weeks before.
On April 15, 2009 Mr Nisbet, 47, felt sick at work and
thought he was going to faint, and was rushed to hospital.
A doctor who saw him that morning spoke on the fourth day of
Milner's High Court murder trial in Christchurch that he
presented at the city's main hospital complaining of an
His wife was with him, and he "appeared anxious", Dr Shamil
Haroon told the jury via video link from England this
The Crown alleges that 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 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.
Dr Haroon noted that Mr Nisbet had been weeding his garden
two days before he saw him on April 15 when he thought he was
bitten by an unknown insect.
He reported pain and swelling on his shin and knee the next
day, before feeling weak and nauseated that evening.
Hospital testing found little wrong with Mr Nisbet, who had a
clear chest, normal pulse rate, no shortness of breath, and
no visual symptoms, while neurological exams appeared normal.
Mr Nisbet said he'd felt dizzy, nauseous, and hot and cold at
work, feeling like he was going to faint.
He and Milner admitted he was "of a nervous disposition", and
had experienced a similar reaction an insect bite while on
holiday in Australia the previous month.
Dr Haroon said there was a small, circular, slightly raised,
red area around his shin but had made no direct note of a
sting or bite mark on his skin.
Otherwise, he could find nothing wrong with Mr Nisbet and so
sent him home later that morning.
The Crown alleges that once they got home, Milner went out
and bought more of the drug Phenergan at a pharmacy under a
She's accused of giving him more of the drug, making him feel
unwell, which resulted in another rush to hospital.
The trial, before Justice David Gendall, continues.
- Kurt Bayer of APNZ