Patricia Riggs was allegedly killed by husband Edmund Ian Riggs, the prosecution says.
Patricia Riggs was allegedly killed by husband Edmund Ian Riggs, the prosecution says.

Murder accused ‘a calculated liar’, court hears

A SOUTHEAST Queensland man on trial for his wife's murder is a calculated, manipulative, deliberate liar, a Brisbane court has heard, but his defence lawyer says his client simply got "trapped in a lie".

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller QC said Ian Riggs, in giving evidence, would have the jury believe his wife Patricia was the author of her own demise in 2001.

Riggs told the Supreme Court he pushed his wife, who struck her head on a bed post, convulsed and died, after she spat in his face during a late night argument.

Riggs, 59, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife, 34, in their Margate home, but guilty to interfering with her corpse, by burying her body elsewhere, on September 30, 2001.

He claimed Tricia Riggs had started and escalated an argument and he felt threatened, berated and under attack.

"Even now, he can't acknowledge the true horror of what he did," Mr Fuller said.

"How has it all come to this? A man kills his wife, disposes of her body in a shallow grave in the bush, leaves his children at home sleeping," Mr Fuller said to the jury.

 

Patricia Riggs was allegedly killed by husband Edmund Ian Riggs, the prosecution says.
Patricia Riggs was allegedly killed by husband Edmund Ian Riggs, the prosecution says.

 

He said Riggs, who was charged with Tricia Riggs's murder in 2016, after her remains were found buried in his former Margate back yard, chose to live a lie for 15 years

"By his own admission, Ian Riggs accepts he's a liar," Mr Fuller told the jury.

"But I'll say to you, he's not just a liar, he's calculated, he's manipulative and deliberate."

Mr Fuller said Riggs told the jury he still cared for Tricia and that all he did was push her away when she spat in his face.

"You might think his actions hide a far more sinister event," Mr Fuller told the jury.

Mr Fuller said what occurred on the night Tricia was killed, with Riggs spiriting her body out of the house and disposing of it, was "extraordinary".

He said by Riggs disposing of his wife's body, "unceremoniously" dumping her in the bush, near Morayfield, north of Brisbane, he eliminated any signs of injury to his wife.

Her cause of death could not be determined because of deterioration of her partial remains.

Mr Fuller said Riggs left Tricia in that grave to distance himself from what he had done to her.

He said what occurred on the night of September 30, 2001, involved Tricia Riggs being overpowered and killed.

Tricia had told Ian's sister if they got divorced she would take Ian for everything he had.

Ian Riggs's version of Tricia being bitter, throwing back in his face her infidelities and questioning his manhood before spitting on him was "simply a construct to excuse his own behaviour", Mr Fuller said.

 

Ian Riggs pictured in 2004.
Ian Riggs pictured in 2004.

 

When Riggs moved her remains years later to his own back yard, he thought they would never be exposed, he said.

Mr Fuller said the trial was about a relationship that had soured.

He said the jury would never know what happened to Tricia Riggs on that night, but they could not trust anything that came out of Riggs's lips.

"She can't speak for herself," he said.

The defence counsel earlier told the jury he was trapped in a lie, once he moved his wife's dead body.

Lars Falcongreen said what Riggs did in burying his wife Patricia's body in a grave he dug himself was "a terrible thing".

"He deprived his kids of knowing where Tricia was and deprived Tricia's family of that same knowledge," Mr Falcongreen said.

"No doubt it was a terrible thing to do...Your job is not to judge him for that."

Mr Falcongreen said Riggs, having admitted to interfering with his wife's corpse, would be punished for what he did to the full extent of law.

 

Patricia Riggs died in 2001, her husband has been charged with her murder.
Patricia Riggs died in 2001, her husband has been charged with her murder.

 

He asked the jury to consider that when Riggs buried Tricia's body, either way the stakes were high for him, whether it was murder or manslaughter.

Mr Falcongreen said either way, someone who did that would fear going to jail for a very long time and leaving their children alone.

"Once he moves that body, he's trapped in a lie," Mr Falcongreen said.

He said it was a terrible thing to bury his wife and continue to lie about it.

"People panic and make bad choices," Mr Falcongreen told the jury.

"...Having moved that body, how did he ever expect police to believe him when he said it was just an accident?"

Mr Falcongreen said when the stakes were high there was more incentive to keep lying.

"The stakes were high, his freedom and the well being of his children were on the line," Mr Falcongreen said.

He said the jury had to consider that Riggs's actions could be consistent with accidental death or manslaughter, and find him not guilty of murder if they had reasonable doubt.

He also presented a defence of prevention of repetition of an insult, if the force Riggs used in pushing his wife was not intended to cause death of grievous bodily harm.

"If you acknowledge another alternative, whether manslaughter or accidental death, you must find him not guilty of murder," Mr Falcongreen told the jury.



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