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Man denies murdering Mount Gambier mum

Summary

Loved ones of Rachel Martin were overcome with emotion as her alleged murderer pleaded not guilty, with one exiting the Mount Gambier Magistrate Court in tears on Monday afternoon.Luke Raymond Simpson, 34, has denied murdering Ms Martin after police discovered the body of the 44-year-old at a Chestnut Close property in July last year.After the quick court appearance, Ms Martin’s family huddled outside the courthouse hugging. In January Mr Simpson was unable to appear before the court for charge determination via video link after testing positive to Covid-19 while in custody at Yatala Labour Prison.At the time defence lawyer Chris Ryan said he had only recently received an autopsy report from prosecutors and had been unable to present it to the defendant.Mr Simpson first faced court the day after his July arrest where he did not apply for bail.Earlier, police alleged it was a “domestic-related homicide” with ambulances attending the home after reports a woman had collapsed and was unresponsive.Limestone Coast Police Superintendent Campbell Hill previously said Ms Martin was found dead at the scene, describing it as a terrible incident which had “rocked” the community.“From the outset there was certainly concerns raised about the way in which the deceased was located,” Supt Hill previously said.“To lose a loved one to begin with is tragic enough, to have it linked in with (an alleged) homicide … is just devastating.”At the time of Ms Martin’s death South Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens described domestic violence as a “scourge on our society”.Mr Simpson will next appear in the Adelaide Supreme Court in May.

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