Helen Ryan says I didn't kill my husband - my sister did, wife tells jury

Died ... Jeffery Ryan.

A WOMAN on trial for the murder of her husband has made a dramatic accusation from the witness stand that her sister was solely responsible. Helen Ryan and her mother, Coralie Coulter, could face lengthy prison terms if found guilty of hiring a hit-man to kill Jeffrey Ryan, who was shot and killed in October 2009.

Mrs Ryan's sister, Ganene Coulter, has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder, admitting she helped to put her sister in touch with the killer. But Mrs Ryan said her sister had hired the hit-man to murder her husband out of ''revenge, hate and jealousy''. She told the jury Ganene Coulter and Jeffrey Ryan had been in a relationship for ''two to three months'' before she met him in 1994.

Mrs Ryan admitted paying $5000 to the hit-man but said that she simply wanted him ''roughed up a bit'' to make him realise that ''he was hurting us'' - a reference to a number of alleged incidents of domestic abuse against her and a family member. In total, $15,000 was paid to the hit-man.

However, Mrs Ryan said the other $10,000 was not hers but money her sister had told her to give to him. She claimed she did not ask about the extra money, only being told by her sister later that it was payment for the murder of her husband.

But the Crown prosecutor, Terry Thorpe, said it was Mrs Ryan herself and not her sister who was ''a woman scorned''. He said her claim that she didn't know until later what the $10,000 was for was ''a nonsense'', calling her a ''fish on the end of a hook, flipping and flopping, trying to get out of it''.

He also put it to Mrs Ryan that she was angry at having her stake in the will cut back significantly as the marriage disintegrated. ''You knew that he thought the marriage was over, didn't you?'' Mr Thorpe said. ''You knew that he changed his will. You decided, out of anger, out of revenge, that you would have your husband killed.'' Mrs Ryan denied it. The trial at the NSW Supreme Court is continuing.

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