Wife to stand trial for husband's murder

June 7, 2008 - 12:10AM

A Victorian woman who allegedly told a friend she would shoot her husband if she could get away with it has been committed to stand trial for his murder.

Police allege Stephen Uttley was shot by his wife Margaret at their Victorian farm in 2000.

Margaret Uttley told friends her husband had moved to the Northern Territory to work on a cattle farm.

Mr Uttley was last seen by his close friend Mario Stocco at a barbecue on October 8, 2000.

Police allege Uttley shot her husband at the farm in Tarneit, near the Melbourne suburb of Werribee, around October 11, 2000.

His remains were located when cold case detectives reopened an investigation into his disappearance last year and searched the family farm.

Margaret Erica Uttley, 53, pleaded not guilty to her husband's murder at a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

In the months leading up to the alleged murder it is claimed she said to a friend: "If I could shoot him and get away with it, I would."

Giving evidence on Friday, youngest daughter Hayley, 23, said her father was a strict disciplinarian, an old-fashioned sort of male, who had punched holes in the wall and kicked a pet cat.

Hayley Uttley said the aggressive behaviour came after her father drank.

"She (Mrs Uttley) would just cry, go down the hall and cry," Hayley Uttley said.

"It really wasn't anything that she had done."

Son Mark Uttley said his father drank every day usually beginning about midday.

"Dad and I didn't really get along that well because he was a crap dad," Mark Uttley said in his statement of evidence.

"He didn't seem to care about us kids, he didn't seem to put us first."

Detective Senior Constable Andrea Turner from the Cold Case squad said Mrs Uttley was a suspect from "day one" of their investigation into the murder.

"The inconsistencies were obvious from the start," Sen Constable Turner said.

"The type of person that he was, he wouldn't just leave."

Mrs Uttley was bailed to appear at a directions hearing in the Victorian Supreme Court later this month.

2008  AAP

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