The prosecutor claimed such coercion was “powerful evidence supporting premeditated murder”.
The ‘Dear John’ letter tendered at John Bowie’s trial
I’m leaving you with the kids for good.
I’ve thought about it for a long time now and tonight finally did it.
I’ve packed a few things and you can have the rest. I don’t want anything to remind me of you or the kids.
Don’t try to find me, because I will never come back to you.
Morris alleged Bowie had a window of opportunity to kill Roxlyn between 7pm on June 5, 1982 and 11pm or later when he knocked on the caravan door of neighbours who lived in the backyard, ahead of his “staged performance … pretending to be the concerned husband whose wife was missing”.
The Crown alleged Bowie dispersed items of clothing and removed a silver “R” ring from Roxlyn before burying it on a block 250 metres from their home.
Prosecutors also argued Bowie had a tendency to be intentionally violent towards women with whom he was in a domestic relationship.
One woman told the court she had a conversation with Bowie at a truck stop near Maitland in 1990 or 1991 and expressed a wish someone would kill her violent husband. She said Bowie, who was then a bus driver, replied, “I have killed someone before, and it’s not a nice feeling”.
Morris told the jury the “11 important words might tell you everything you need to know”.
Defence barrister Winston Terracini, SC, argued it had been a “Mickey Mouse” police investigation and criticised a lack of inquiries into obtaining records of the modes of transport and telephone operations as they were in 1982.
“Members of the jury, they can’t even put before you … even a vet that will tell you what pigs eat,” he said.
Terracini said jurors may dislike Bowie, and it was accepted he “had pretty low standards and difficulty living up to them” regarding his behaviour towards women.
“Our system of justice … is not about only giving a fair go to people we like,” he said.
Terracini said there did not appear to be any doubt that Roxlyn Bowie had written the two letters, but if the jury was “not satisfied that she was forced to write them, it’s almost game over”.
“Then you’d be of the view that she left of her own accord,” he submitted.
The ‘Dear Mum and Dad’ letter tendered at John Bowie’s trial
Dear Mum + Dad,
Just a short note to say that I have left John and the kids for good.
I’m making my way to South Australia or Western Australia to start a new life.
Please don’t be hard on John because it wasn’t his fault that I left.
I will write again when I settle down.
Terracini said Bowie “has maintained his innocence for 40 years”.
The Crown prosecutor said the hypothesis that Roxlyn left the isolated town with no easy means of transport, limited clothes and cash was one “supported nowhere other than in the realm of fantasy”.
More to come.
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