Texts from Narelle Fiona Smith, who is accused of beating ex-lawyer to death, have been heard in Sydney court

A woman accused of murdering an elderly former barrister at his home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs wrote to a crime reporter on Christmas Day that she was being “manacled” by her neighbours.

Journalist Steve Hart told Sydney High Court he received a number of texts from Narelle Fiona Smith while working as senior crime reporter for Channel 10.

“I think I’ll be set up,” Smith wrote to Hart on Dec. 25, 2020, before apologizing for checking in over the holidays.

Smith, 46, is accused of murdering Peter McCarthy with a frying pan after his body was found face up on the living room floor at his unit in South Coogee on December 20, surrounded by broken furniture, glasses and a frying pan, the jury said.

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Narelle Fiona Smith, 46, (pictured, with police) is accused of murdering Peter McCarthy with a frying pan after his body was found on March 20. Glasses and frying pan, the jury was told.

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“I think I’ll be set up,” Narelle Smith wrote to Steve Hart (pictured) on Dec. 25, 2020, before apologizing for reaching out over the holidays

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“I think I’m being set up,” Smith texted Hart (pictured) on Christmas Day.

The 77-year-old was found on Sunday December 20, three days after Smith said the couple were drinking alone at his home and celebrating her birthday.

Hart visited Mr McCarthy’s Coogee unit block for interviews and preparing a story on the day his body was found, and struck up a conversation with Smith, who said Mr McCarthy was a friend.

Smith said she was with him on Thursday, and a day after police believed Mr McCarthy was last seen alive.

“It’s strong in my memory, the detail,” Hart told the court.

Smith said she was told her neighbors had spoken out about being behind Mr McCarthy's death (pictured Mr McCarthy).

Smith said she was told her neighbors had spoken out about being behind Mr McCarthy's death (pictured Mr McCarthy).

Smith said she was told her neighbors had spoken out about being behind Mr McCarthy’s death (pictured Mr McCarthy).

“I remember her saying she left him drunk in the lounge[on Thursday],” he added.

“He’s just a nice guy who lives next door. He’s a womanizer,” a cheerful Smith Hart said during an interview.

‘He’s a former lawyer. He gave me some (legal) advice,” she told Hart.

“I can’t go there,” she said when asked about the gruesome crime scene and if Mr. McCarthy had any enemies.

Hart said he considered Smith a friendly neighbor of the victim, and they exchanged numbers to discuss the case.

Channel 10 later aired part of the interview and agreed to blur her face and protect her identity.

This interview would be re-broadcast after her arrest without being blurred.

On Christmas Eve, Hart called Smith to ask her a series of fact-checking questions about pictures that police had provided to the media.

Mr McCarthy, 77, was found on Sunday December 20, three days after Smith said the couple were drinking alone at his home and celebrating her birthday (pictured is Mr McCarthy on CCTV footage - the last time when he was seen alive).

Mr McCarthy, 77, was found on Sunday December 20, three days after Smith said the couple were drinking alone at his home and celebrating her birthday (pictured is Mr McCarthy on CCTV footage - the last time when he was seen alive).

Mr McCarthy, 77, was found on Sunday December 20, three days after Smith said the couple were drinking alone at his home and celebrating her birthday (pictured is Mr McCarthy on CCTV footage – the last time when he was seen alive).

During the conversation, Hart casually asked if Smith had obtained any crime scene photos.

“Why should I have crime scene pictures?” She answered. “I was there on Thursday.”

Smith then told Hart that if anyone heard any unusual noises, it was because she had been lugging a heavy bag of garbage down the stairs the last time she visited the victim’s home.

On Christmas Day, Smith began texting Hart again.

“I think I’m being tricked,” she wrote.

Hart replied: “Merry Christmas. Who’s kidding you?’

Smith said she was told her neighbors had spoken out about being behind Mr. McCarthy’s death.

“Sorry to do this at Christmas,” she said. “One last thing: can you tell me where the funeral is?”

“If I find out – absolutely,” Hart replied.

Two days later, Smith texted Hart again, complaining that people in her area were looking at her like she was to blame.

The court heard Smith (pictured) texted Hart and complained that people in her area were looking at her as if she were to blame

The court heard Smith (pictured) texted Hart and complained that people in her area were looking at her as if she were to blame

The court heard Smith (pictured) texted Hart and complained that people in her area were looking at her as if she were to blame

“I don’t think anyone is going to do that on their birthday,” she told Hart.

“The evil little grin around here – it makes my head spin.”

Smith was arrested just over two weeks later, on January 11.

Hart told the court he looked to Smith as a source while covering the story and was unaware that police were investigating the 46-year-old for the alleged murder.

The trial will continue on Wednesday.

https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health/texts-of-narelle-fiona-smith-accused-of-bashing-ex-barrister-to-death-heard-in-sydney-court/ Texts from Narelle Fiona Smith, who is accused of beating ex-lawyer to death, have been heard in Sydney court

Brian Ashcraft

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