THE murder of Raymond Terrace woman Margaret Gall looks set to remain unsolved after a Supreme Court judge ruled that the confessions of a mentally ill, drug-addicted woman were unreliable.
Anne Maree Wotherspoon claimed she was with three other people when they stormed Mrs Gall’s home in search of cash and drugs on March 25, 2002, but Ms Wotherspoon made a number of errors when conveying her accounts of the murder.
Those errors included describing the murder weapon as a hammer when a forensic pathologist said it was most likely a metal bar; that the murder occurred at night when it happened in the afternoon and an admission that she grabbed jewellery from Mrs Gall’s bedroom when Wotherspoon actually described the bedroom of one of Mrs Gall’s housemates.
Ms Wotherspoon, who has been in the custody of the Mental Health Review Tribunal since being found unfit to stand trial, will now be placed in the care of another mental health team, Newcastle Supreme Court heard.
She has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and drug-induced psychosis over the years causing delusions and hallucinations, Justice Megan Latham said.
Mrs Gall was a small-time drug dealer who sold cannabis to her daughters and their partners from her Adelaide Street home, the court heard.
She suffered shocking head injuries from a brutal attack.
Rumours about the murder swirled in the months afterwards, but no one was arrested.
A brief of evidence prepared for the coroner identified a number of suspects, but Ms Wotherspoon was not one of them.
However, in 2007 she told a police officer she was involved.
Ms Wotherspoon was an intravenous drug user and was recorded telling one of her boyfriends in 2009 that she was going to confess so she could go to jail and get on the methadone program.