How These SA Fraudsters Threatened Their Young Children
A married Adelaide couple who worked for the South Australian health department faked death threats to their own young children in a ploy to score time off and a compensation payout, a court has heard.
Tabitha Lean and Simon Peisley are each charged with 47 counts of deception and one of attempted deception over the alleged scam that involved dozens of threatening letters and parcels mailed to their home.
The lead detective in the case took the witness stand in the SA District Court on Monday and confirmed that many of the violent letters threatened their own children, including a toddler daughter.
"We're waiting for that baby of yours. We're going to slice her from ear to ear," Detective Alexandra Banfield read from one of the letters.
"You can't keep her safe forever."
She said Lean and Peisley also reported a break-in at their home with the message "F*** off" written on a wall in tomato sauce and other swear words written on the windows in black paint.
But the jury earlier heard that all the threats were a scam, allegedly carried out by the parents themselves for their own gain.
They mailed crude letters and blood-stained parcels to their home and office so they could receive paid time off work and interstate trips at their employer's expense, prosecutors allege.
"They even went so far as to send their children items at school," prosecutor Chris Edge said in his opening address last week.
Other threats claimed the couple were unsafe at their office and demanded Lean step down from her management position in Aboriginal health services at SA Health.
Because of the link to work, the couple were allowed to take indefinite time off with almost full pay and were given funded family holidays to Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
They also made compensation claims and the state government had agreed to pay them a $580,000 settlement but this was never finalised because the couple were arrested.
The arrest came about after police began to suspect Lean and Peisley were behind the threats and devised their own plot to catch them out.
Police secretly broke into the couple's apartment, and marked a stack of envelopes and paper with "invisible ink".
The next threat the couple received was tested with a UV light, revealing the invisible markings the officers had made.
The letters, DNA evidence and handwriting analysis are being presented to the jury as the month-long trial continues.
Lean and Peisley, aged 40 and 37, have denied the allegations.
Main Image: news.com.au
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