Australia: Samantha Fraser left religious cult before alleged murder by former husband, court told - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Samantha Fraser left religious cult before alleged murder by former husband, court told

08:20  23 october  2019
08:20  23 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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a woman sitting at a beach: Samantha Fraser, who was found dead in the garage of her home on Phillip Island in July, 2018. (Supplied)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Samantha Fraser, who was found dead in the garage of her home on Phillip Island in July, 2018. (Supplied)

A Victorian court has been told Samantha Fraser, who was allegedly murdered by her husband at Phillip Island last year, was disowned by her extended family when she left their religious cult.

Ms Fraser, 38, was found dead in the garage of her Cowes home on July 23, 2018 after she failed to collect the couple's three children from primary school.

Her former husband, former fly-in,-fly-out construction worker Adrian James Basham, 42, is facing a committal hearing charged with her murder.

Samantha Fraser lived in 'constant fear' before alleged murder by former husband, court hears

  Samantha Fraser lived in 'constant fear' before alleged murder by former husband, court hears A committal hearing is told Adrian James Basham was a "controlling, manipulative" husband to Ms Fraser before they separated in early 2017, less than two years before the mother-of-three's death at her home on Phillip Island.Adrian James Basham is accused of killing Samantha Fraser, 38, at her Cowes home, south-east of Melbourne, on July 23 last year.

A committal hearing is told Adrian James Basham was a controlling, manipulative husband to Ms Fraser before they separated in early 2017, less than two years before the mother-of-three's death at her home on Phillip Island.

Samantha Fraser lived in 'constant fear' before alleged murder by former husband , court hears. A committal hearing is told Adrian James Basham was a "controlling, manipulative" husband to Ms Fraser before they separated in early 2017, less than two years before the mother-of-three's death at

Ms Fraser's friends and her treating psychologist gave evidence on Wednesday about Mr Basham's controlling and dominant behaviour over his wife.

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Debbi Mahon, a friend of 20 years, also told the court Ms Fraser was the first in her family to leave their small religious sect, which treating psychologist Terry Melvin identified as the Two by Twos.

Ms Mahon told the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court the religious cult had caused stress within the family.

"She was the first to step out of that, then her mum followed … but she said enough's enough."

Ms Mahon said the women met at university and that she attended Ms Fraser's first wedding at Riddells Creek, north of Melbourne.

Ms Mahon said Ms Fraser's first marriage ended after just one year because that husband had "cheated on her".

Birthday party held the night before Ms Fraser's death

Witnesses said Ms Fraser held an impromptu party at her house the night before she died, to celebrate her birthday.

She was close to finalising her divorce from Mr Basham.

"She seemed happy but fragile," friend Lija Matthews told the court.

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Samantha Fraser lived in 'constant fear' before alleged murder by former husband , court hears. A committal hearing is told Adrian James Basham was a "controlling, manipulative" husband to Ms Fraser before they separated in early 2017, less than two years before the mother-of-three's death at

"She was happy that all of her friends were around, but she was so petrified of that monster over there," Ms Matthews said, looking at the accused in the dock.

"She was terrified of what was going to happen, she thought this outcome was going to happen," Ms Matthews said.

Ms Matthews told the court she saw her friend the morning she died.

They had coffee together after dropping the children to school and she understood her friend had an informal interview at Bass Coast Health Centre later in the morning, she said.

She said she called Ms Fraser about 11:00am to see how the interview went, but there was no answer.

Court told of aggressive outbursts

Ms Mahon said she witnessed Mr Basham's temper in September 2016 when she drove past the couple's five-acre block on Smiths Beach, Phillip Island.

She told the court Mr Basham was furious that Samantha had gone on a run instead of helping him plant trees on the block.

"He just lost it," Ms Mahon told the court.

"I was on the way to the beach, with the surfboard in the back … I wound down the window…

"He was swearing, carrying on, doing hand gestures … pointing … he was just furious, dropping the f-bomb and the C … he was almost out of control.

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Samantha Fraser lived in 'constant fear' before alleged murder by former husband , court hears. A committal hearing is told Adrian James Basham was a "controlling, manipulative" husband to Ms Fraser before they separated in early 2017, less than two years before the mother-of-three's death at

"It was a [glimpse] as to what she must have been encountering," Ms Mahon told the court.

Ms Mahon said it was after that she called Ms Fraser to discuss ways to end the relationship.

"I told her 'You need to go … we need to work out a plan so you can separate'," Ms Mahon told the court.

Lija Matthew's husband, Peter Matthews, made a statement to police in October 2018.

He told the court he was friends with Mr Basham and they would surf and go shooting together.

"You were friends?" Defence barrister Peter Kilduff asked.

"Yes, as much as it irks me to say so," Mr Matthews replied.

Mr Matthews told the court Adrian Basham spoke about money like it was very important, "more so that the wellbeing of his wife and that of his children".

"The cost of things, how much the kids were going to cost him," he said.

He said Mr Basham wanted to "cripple" Ms Fraser financially for leaving him.

Mr Matthews said he was disturbed by his conversations with Mr Basham and wrote a letter to Detective Senior Constable Simon Fischer "to try to voice my concerns about Sam's welfare based on the comments Adrian was making".

Mr Matthews testified that Mr Basham was "super-competitive" and during a telephone conversation in November 2017 became "completely aggressive, completely manic".

In July, 2018, the month Ms Fraser died, the two men had a shouting match in the ocean, while surfing at Phillip Island.

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Samantha Fraser lived in 'constant fear' before alleged murder by former husband , court hears. A committal hearing is told Adrian James Basham was a "controlling, manipulative" husband to Ms Fraser before they separated in early 2017, less than two years before the mother-of-three's death at

Samantha Fraser lived in 'constant fear' before alleged murder by former husband , court hears. A committal hearing is told Adrian James Basham was a "controlling, manipulative" husband to Ms Fraser before they separated in early 2017, less than two years before the mother-of-three's death at

"He pursued me aggressively in the surf … in front of 30 other people," he told the court.

Psychologist notes show Ms Fraser was 'fearful of leaving'

Retired psychologist Terry Melvin told the court he held his first counselling session with Mr Basham on February 23, 2017.

He told the court he observed evidence of controlling and manipulative behaviour, intimidation, financial control and one episode of physical violence in the marriage.

"She said he had pushed her … and she was fearful of leaving," Mr Melvin said.

The couple had a total of six counselling sessions and Mr Melvin told the court Ms Fraser had a panic attack and had to leave the room during one of them.

During a session on April 19, 2017, Mr Melvin noted he was concerned Mr Basham would become vindictive and make life difficult for Ms Fraser.

"Sam is frightened about what Adrian will do," his notes detailed.

Mr Melvin said Mr Basham continued to justify and blame Ms Fraser for the consequences of their separation and that while he presented as very reasonable and calm, he believed there was an implied threat.

Ms Fraser's friend, former psychologist and retired teacher Peta LeRoy, said she went on regular walks along the beach with Ms Fraser and they became close friends.

She said Ms Fraser told her she had "picked up some kind of STD [sexually transmitted disease] from Adrian" and that she had to take a strong course of antibiotics and was facing the prospect of surgery if that did not work.

The court heard Ms Fraser told Ms LeRoy she had not had sex with anyone else during her marriage with Mr Basham.

The hearing before Magistrate Russell Kelly continues.

Samantha Fraser's former husband Adrian Basham to face trial over her alleged murder on Phillip Island .
Adrian Basham has been committed to stand trial over the death of his wife and mother of their three children, Samantha Fraser, found dead in her Phillip Island garage.Adrian James Basham, 42, pleaded not guilty to murdering Samantha Fraser, 38, at Cowes on Phillip Island in eastern Victoria on July 23, 2018.

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