A woman charged with the manslaughter of 20-year-old Luke Doyle told police two very different accounts of the day he died, a Wagga court has heard.
The trial of Tracy Lee Dowling, 41, was nearing the end of its third week in Wagga District Court when prosecutors played two recorded interviews Ms Dowling gave to police – one on the day of Mr Doyle’s death in March, 2012, and the other from just after she was charged in October, 2016.
Mr Doyle was found dead outside Ms Dowling’s home on the morning of March 13, 2012, with prosecutors now alleging that she could have saved him from his presumed overdose death with a quick call to triple-0.
In her first interview with police, Ms Dowling recalled waking up and finding Mr Doyle showing signs of overdose in her car after they had each taken some Xanax.
“Then I walk out and then next minute here’s Doyle f---ing slumped over in the middle of my car spewed everywhere,” she said in the recording.
“He was slumped over in the ute spewing, as soon as I opened the door I could smell spew, and he was still sort of dry heaving and there was snot coming out of his nose.”
Ms Dowling went on to say Mr Doyle was foaming at the mouth, describing him as a “seven” on the scale on unconsciousness.
“He just couldn’t answer the simplest of questions, like what day it was, where we were, how we got there, how long we had been there, whose house it was,” she said.
“I honestly thought he had overdosed – for someone to have been so limp and to have dropped and been non-coherent…”
Ms Doyle told police she could not call triple-0 because her phone was dead, and then told them Mr Doyle drove them to her house.
“You're telling us that, in that sort of state, you still let him drive the car and, in that kind of state, he was still able to drive the car?” one of the police officers asked her.
Police then read her the statement of Craig Apps, the man whose home they were at that evening, who suggested it was in fact Ms Dowling who drove them away from the scene.
“I walked up to [Luke] and bent over to try get him talking, and I saw there was vomit around him …. inside the vomit were two, maybe three, tablets,” Mr Apps told police.
“I thought we’d be able to get him to the hospital, they’d pump his stomach, and he’d be okay. I thought if we didn’t get him to the hospital, he would die.”
Mr Apps went on to say he loaded Mr Doyle into Tracy’s ute to take him to the hospital, went inside to get his things, but heard the car start and Ms Dowling drive off with him.
When they asked her to reconcile the two versions of events, Ms Dowling said “end of interview” and refused to participate any further.
Then, during her second interview four years and seven months later, Ms Dowling told police she now remembered things about the night she had forgotten back then.
“My counsellor explained that sometimes, when something traumatic happens to you, your memory or brain can shut down,” Ms Dowling said.
“Now, slowly, I have started to recall things that happened that night – things that I couldn’t remember or recall on that day.”
The trial continues.