Did this doctor kill his wife?
When Brian and Christine Crickitt married in 1994, it was a second chance at love.
Both had been married and divorced before. Both already had children.
But any happiness in the early days had turned toxic by 2009.
Christine told Tracey, her daughter from her first marriage, that she and Brian, a GP, were having difficulties.
‘He’s not coming home at night,’ she said, even saying that she and Brian had not been intimate for five years.
There was no love left between the pair and they had terrible rows.
Christine, 61, had arthritis and Graves’ disease, an autoimmune thyroid condition, and Brian had also prescribed her medication for depression and bipolar disorder
Tracey perhaps worried that her sickly mother was heading for her second divorce.
But what happened next was much worse.
On 1 January 2010, Brian returned to their Sydney home to find Christine’s body slumped on the en suite floor.
He called for help but, as a doctor, he knew…
His wife was already dead.
In a statement given to police, Brian said he and Christine had been unhappy and didn’t have a good word to say about his recently deceased wife.
‘The last month things have been very difficult and I’ve been very unhappy. I’ve been in two minds about what to do,’ he admitted.
Brian said that during a heated row on the night of 31 December 2009, Christine had accused him of having an affair, and ‘not wanting things to turn physical’, he’d left.
On returning, next day, he said Christine was dead.
Police asked where Brian had been in the intervening hours. He said he’d driven around, then called a female friend.
Asked if he had an intimate relationship with her, he denied it.
But in a second interview given later, Brian’s story had changed.
Now he told officers the woman was indeed his mistress, and Christine had been correct. They had been having an affair.
But he maintained he’d no idea how Christine had died.
Nor did the authorities. An autopsy performed on her body the day after she’d been found was inconclusive.
Police thought Brian knew more about Christine’s death.
Especially when he was seen holding hands with his mistress outside the morgue after visiting Christine’s body.
But with no firm evidence against him, Brian was free to go.
In 2011, an inquest into Christine’s death was heard but the coroner returned an open verdict.
It must have appeared to Christine’s loved ones that her death would remain a mystery.
Yet, behind the scenes, police were building a case.
And in December 2014, five years after Christine died, Brian Crickitt was arrested for her murder.
Authorities claimed that he’d killed Christine by injecting her with an overdose of insulin.
He denied everything and even unsuccessfully appealed his right to continue to practice medicine while on bail when his licence was suspended.
In October last year, Crickitt appeared in Sydney’s Supreme Court and denied murder.
A judge alone would decide his fate.
Crown Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi told the court that the Crickitts’ marriage was volatile and that Christine had been killed by Brian so he could cash in on her $568,000 (£350,000) life insurance and begin a new life with his lover.
He suggested that Brian had injected Christine with insulin as it cannot be detected in the body after 24 hours.
And that he’d chosen to give her the fatal overdose on New Year’s Eve, knowing no-one would be available to do an autopsy on New Year’s Day.
There was evidence for the theory, as a small red mark on Christine’s left buttock had been noticed on autopsy photos.
Police found a screenshot of a Google search for ‘insulin overdose’ on Crickitt’s computer.
A diabetic former patient of Crickitt’s said that she’d seen him on 31 December 2009, and he’d prescribed her insulin despite the fact she had four or five months’ supply.
The prosecution said he’d then used this prescription to improperly obtain fast-acting insulin and, back home, forcibly injected Christine in the buttock, leaving her to die while he went to have sex with his mistress.
Defence lawyer Lisa-Claire Hutchinson countered that Crickitt had no motive to kill his wife.
He’d never denied they were unhappy, but if he’d wanted to be single, he could just divorce her.
They had no religious faith to stop them, no children together to think about.
Both had divorced before.
Addressing what police had called Crickitt’s ‘disdain and contempt’ for his wife after her death, Hutchinson suggested that this honesty was more likely a sign of innocence than guilt.
It was unlikely, she said, that ‘someone in the position of the accused, if he had killed his wife, would provide police with the very motive’.
Crickitt had since remarried another woman but his now-former lover took the stand and said that they had made no plans for a future together and that them getting married was only ‘a feasible possibility down the track’.
Lead defence barrister Tim Gartelmann said the saved Google search that officers had found contained no information about how long insulin stayed in the blood.
‘It was not in the nature of an article on how to kill with insulin and get away with it,’ he told the court.
And the most compelling point …
There was no evidence Christine had been given insulin, neither a pathologist nor a coroner had been able to determine the cause of Christine’s death…
So, would a judge decide that she’d been murdered?
Last December, Justice Clifton Hoeben found Brian Crickitt, 63, guilty of murdering his wife Christine. He kissed his new wife and his daughter before he was led away in cuffs. Crickitt is currently awaiting sentencing.
Outside court, Christine’s daughter Tracey thanked officers for their persistent police work and said, ‘The sadness never goes away but what we’ve learnt is to appreciate life and to appreciate our mother even more for the many good things she taught us.’