A 47-year-old man is on trial accused of strangling a drug dealer and then dumping her in a pond in a cemetery in Baldivis, south of Perth, four years ago.
Alan McIntosh has pleaded not guilty to murdering Diana Matthews, 46, whose body was found at the Rockingham Memorial Park in April 2011.
Prosecutor Alan Troy said it was the state’s case Ms Matthews was rendered unconscious but she was still alive when her body was placed in the pond.
Mr Troy said a post-mortem examination also found a “very high” concentration of methamphetamine in Ms Matthews’ body and it was “possible” it played a role in her death, although he said that was a matter that had to be determined by the jury.
The court heard Ms Matthews was a methamphetamine dealer and Mr Troy urged the jury members to put aside any prejudices it may have about the use of illicit substances.
“You may have strong views on the use or sale of illicit drugs … and the harm it causes … but this is not a case about the lawfulness of drug use,” he said.
“The fact Ms Matthews was a fairly prolific drug dealer does not in any way justify or excuse her death.”
Charged after conversation secretly recorded
The court was told McIntosh and the woman were flagged as suspects early in the police investigation, but were not charged until 2013.
The recording will be played to the jury but Mr Troy said it included McIntosh saying “I did nothing” but later saying “it was only meant to scare her”.
He was also alleged to have said “you did society a favor. The only good drug dealer is a dead drug dealer”.
Mr Troy said there was no forensic evidence linking McIntosh to Ms Matthews death and her clothing had been burnt at the mortuary because an order was not made to keep it.
The jury was told one of the key witnesses will be the woman who was with McIntosh.
“Her credibility is very much at issue in this trial,” Mr Troy said.