Peter Rex Dansie has pleaded not guilty to murder. Picture: AAP/Kelly Barnes.
Peter Rex Dansie has pleaded not guilty to murder. Picture: AAP/Kelly Barnes.

Alleged wife-killer had online sex trysts, court hears

A man had online sexual trysts with women in China, telling them "playing comes first, then husband", before drowning his wheelchair-bound wife in an Adelaide pond, a court has heard.

The Supreme Court has been told Peter Rex Dansie conducted online searches for "sexual role-playing games", "six-inch stilettos" and "thigh-high boots" before his wife's death.

It has heard he told the women he wanted to see them "in bra and panties" and planned a China trip a month after the drowning - with condoms, Viagra and lingerie in his luggage.

 

For the first time, the full scope of the prosecution case against Dansie can be revealed following the revocation of longstanding suppression orders.

Prosecutor Jim Pearce QC said Dansie's sex-based interactions should be viewed in context with his other online behaviour regarding his wife Helen, who had been disabled by a stroke.

He said Dansie had also searched for "cheap funerals" and taken out a life insurance policy for her that "could be cancelled at any time in the first 12 months".

Mr Pearce said that, despite her disability, Mrs Dansie was in good health.

"Dansie clearly had something other than his wife's mortality on his mind - he was searching for women in China, to which he was a regular visitor," he said.

"He told one woman 'you really do have some sexy underwear' and 'pleasure first, then comes marriage'."

Helen Dansie. Picture: Supplied.
Helen Dansie. Picture: Supplied.

He outlined several explicit messages in which Dansie described the sex acts he wished to perform on the women, including: "Do you have a friend who might want to play with us?"

"After Mrs Dansie's death, he was planning a trip to China … police recovered a suitcase with his travelling clothes, condoms, Viagra and women's lingerie," he said.

"By the month after his wife's death, Dansie had well and truly turned his attentions elsewhere."

Dansie, 70, has pleaded not guilty to having murdered Helen, 67, by drowning her in a Veale Gardens pond in April 2017.

She was disabled due to a stroke - Dansie has maintained her wheelchair accidentally went into the pond and she drowned despite his attempts to save her.

Prosecutors say he threw her into the water because she was "a burden he was no longer prepared to tolerate", then embarked on "a course of deception and subterfuge" to avoid arrest.

Peter Rex Dansie has pleaded not guilty to murder. Picture: AAP/Kelly Barnes.
Peter Rex Dansie has pleaded not guilty to murder. Picture: AAP/Kelly Barnes.

Previously, all evidence regarding Dansie's alleged sexual behaviour - dubbed "potentially embarrassing" by the first judge to hear the trial - had been suppressed.

At the time the order was imposed, defence counsel said they objected to the admissibility of the evidence, and it should therefore not be in the public arena.

On Wednesday, they told Justice David Lovell - who is now hearing the case - they no longer objected to the tender of the evidence.

The value of that evidence, they said, would be "a matter for closing submissions".

Earlier on Wednesday, Justice Lovell and the court viewed the pond in which Mrs Dansie drowned.

Supported by family members, her son Grant stood 7m from his father as SA Police gave evidence relating to the gradients of rocks alongside the pond.

Unlike his first court-ordered visit to the scene earlier this year, Dansie's attendance was without incident or physical injury.

After that earlier occasion he tripped, fell and suffered a head injury - prompting a short adjournment to the trial.

The trial continues.

Dansie’s shoes and clothes were found on the western side of the pond. Source: Supreme Court.
Dansie’s shoes and clothes were found on the western side of the pond. Source: Supreme Court.
An SA Police photo of Mrs Dansie’s wheelchair, after it had been removed from the pond. Source: Supreme Court.
An SA Police photo of Mrs Dansie’s wheelchair, after it had been removed from the pond. Source: Supreme Court.
Dansie’s phone and car keys had been placed near a tree on the western edge of the pond. Source: Supreme Court
Dansie’s phone and car keys had been placed near a tree on the western edge of the pond. Source: Supreme Court