Death threat to toddler: 'We're going to slice her from ear to ear'

By Megan Palin of news.com.au

Tabitha Lean and her husband were caught after invisible ink was marked on their envelope. Photo / News Corp
Tabitha Lean and her husband were caught after invisible ink was marked on their envelope. Photo / News Corp

A married Adelaide couple has been accused of faking death threats to their own toddler daughter including one that read: "We're going to slice her from ear to ear", a court has heard.

Tabitha Lean, 40 and Simon Peisley, 37 both worked for the South Australian health department and are accused of faking death threats as a ploy to score time off work and a compensation payout.

They are each charged with 47 counts of deception and one of attempted deception over an alleged scam that involved dozens of threatening letters and parcels mailed to their home.

The lead detective in the case, Alexandra Banfield, took the witness stand in the SA District Court on Monday and confirmed that many of the violent letters contained threats to the couple's children.

"We're waiting for that baby of yours. We're going to slice her from ear to ear," Ms 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 bloodstained 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.

Simon Peisley and his wife were caught after invisible ink was marked on their envelopes. Photo / News Corp
Simon Peisley and his wife were caught after invisible ink was marked on their envelopes. Photo / News Corp

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 have denied the allegations.

The trial continues.

- With AAP

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 25 May 2017 20:47:34 Processing Time: 584ms