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NT woman 'feared fiance' before vanishing

AAP logoAAP 10/08/2016 By Neda Vanovac

In the weeks before she disappeared, Darwin woman Carlie Sinclair told friends, family and neighbours that she hated and feared her fiance Danny Deacon, and spoke to lawyers about separating from him and taking their toddler son to Brisbane.

Meanwhile, Deacon had dug her grave on a rural property and was waiting for the opportunity to kill her, prosecutors allege.

Deacon has pleaded not guilty to Ms Sinclair's murder.

At the opening of his trial on Wednesday, the court heard the couple's 10-year relationship had deteriorated and was characterised by "mistrust and hatred", with both partners suspecting the other of cheating.

Deacon told police he last saw Ms Sinclair on Tuesday June 18, 2013, after they had an argument at their decorative concreting business in inner-city Darwin, and that she walked out on him and their two-year-old son.

In a police statement, he said she regularly drank and had become violent towards him.

The day after she disappeared, he said her wallet was missing, along with some clothing and personal items and more than $300,000 in cash he had hidden in a shipping container at their business.

The night before, he had followed her to their business suspecting her of meeting a lover, but found her alone, he said.

They were drinking and getting along well, as they knew their relationship had ended: "I actually felt good because I felt a weight had lifted from my shoulders," Deacon's police statement read.

Police witnesses said he was an agitated witness whose story didn't gel.

Prosecutors allege Deacon knocked Ms Sinclair out and then strangled her, before wrapping her body in a tarp and material, leaving it trussed up in the boot of her car before returning the next day to bury her in a grave he had dug three weeks before in Berry Springs.

Deacon concocted an elaborate story to explain his movements that day before he reported Ms Sinclair missing, and for 18 months maintained his story that they'd had an argument before she walked out, prosecutor Paul Usher said.

"He planned to get away with murder and for 18 months he did," he said.

But in December 2014 in Perth, Deacon confessed to an undercover police officer in a hotel room that he had killed and buried Ms Sinclair, the court heard.

"He provided very specific details to undercover police about how he had killed Ms Sinclair by knocking her out and strangling her, how he wrapped her up as a mummy, how he had dug the grave weeks before, and how he had tricked police with his missing person story," Mr Usher said of the recorded confession.

"The accused explained how he had thought it all out."

Deacon flew to Darwin with undercover police and showed them the Berry Springs grave, the court heard.

After his arrest he confessed again in a recorded police interview to killing Ms Sinclair, and allegedly again to two prisoners while he was held at Darwin Correctional Centre.

The trial continues. It's expected up to 80 witnesses will be called over six weeks.

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