Poisoning accused 'offered insurance cash to son'

Helen Milner offered her son and his partner a slice of Phil Nisbet's life insurance cash if they contracted a hitman to kill him, a court heard today.

Kasey Athena Woodstock was a teenager when she went out with Milner's son Adam Kearns.

When they used to hang out at his family's Christchurch home, Milner would come out to the garage where they smoked and played pool to "hate on Phil", Ms Woodstock told the High Court at Christchurch today.

Milner made it clear that she wanted to get rid of Mr Nisbet and claim his $250,000 life insurance policy, Ms Woodstock said.

"We even got offered some of it, me and Adam because we were together at the time," Ms Woodstock told day seven of Milner's murder trial.

"We were offered money once his life insurance would come through. But for us to get that money we'd have to pay a hitman five grand to kill Phil."

Asked by Crown prosecutor Brent Stanaway how the offer came about, Ms Woodstock said Milner came straight out with it, saying, "I want him gone. Do you anyone who would kill him."

Ms Woodstock laughed it off, saying that "we never thought it would happen, she spoke of it daily".

Her and Mr Kearns would tell her to simply leave Mr Nisbet, but said Milner was worried she'd lose half of her house, and get lumped with his alleged tax debt.

Mr Kearns earlier gave testimony against his mother, saying he caught her crushing up a blue/white powder and putting it into clear capsules on the day she's accused of twice attempting to kill Mr Nisbet on April 15, 2009. He went to police just days after the death with his suspicions.

Milner, 50, denies murdering Mr Nisbet, 47, on May 4, 2009 by giving him a fatal overdose of the antihistamine and sedative Phenergan, and possibly finishing him off with a pillow over his face.

Despite family suspicions, police originally ruled suicide and it wasn't until a coroner raised doubts over the death that a homicide investigation was carried out.

The Crown said Milner was unhappy in her marriage and motivated to murder by the prospect of cashing in the $250,000 life insurance policy.

She plotted the best ways to kill her husband; buying drugs under false names, asking friends for views on poisoning methods, and even offering to pay $20,000 for a hit man to kill Mr Nisbet, it is alleged.

The trial, before Justice David Gendall, continues.

- Kurt Bayer of APNZ

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