Motive for murdering karaoke queen a mystery, despite guilty plea

How and why 32-year-old Marcus John Lee murdered karaoke queen Trisha Cobeanou, before wrapping her face in cling wrap and bagging her body, remains a mystery despite his plea of guilty.

At a sentence hearing this morning in the Newcastle Supreme Court, his defence barrister John Fitzgerald said he was unable to expand on the manner, cause, and motive for the murder.

"My client maintains that he has a blank memory of the actual activities causing death," Mr Fitzgerald told the court.

Lee, an ex-boyfriend of Ms Cobeanou's from some years previous, had been out drinking with her at the Hamilton Station Hotel on the night of April 16 before they went back to his place, a small shed at a wrecker's yard in Islington.

He says that when he asked her for money that she owed him, and reached for her purse, she hit him over the head and he went into a rage.

But Crown Prosecutor Peter Barnett, SC, said the evidence was not consistent with someone in a rage.

"What he has done to this lady is contrary to somebody going into a rage, it's calculated," he said.

Ms Cobeanou, whose body was left under Lee's bed for a day before he transferred it to the boot of his car where it remained for seven days, had been wrapped in garbage bags.

She had a sock in her mouth, her mouth was taped over, and she had cling wrap over her face, held in place by more tape, with a plastic bag over the top.

Lee will be sentenced next Friday, October 19.

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