A 26-year-old man allegedly murdered by his mother was scared of her, She controlled his movements, his money and whether he could work, a court has heard.
A 26-year-old man allegedly murdered by his mother was scared of her, She controlled his movements, his money and whether he could work, a court has heard.

Man afraid of 'controlling mum' accused of killing kids

Friends of a Queensland man allegedly murdered by his mother claim he was afraid of his "controlling" mum who he said dictated who he could see, how much money he could access and whether he could get a job.

The allegations were made in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today where Gold Coast woman Maree Crabtree is facing a committal hearing on charges of murdering her children Johnathan, 26, in 2017, and Erin, 18 in 2012.

Crabtree is charged with two counts of murder, one of attempted murder and varying counts of torture, fraud, attempted fraud and obtaining advantage by financial deception.

Maree Crabtree is facing a committal hearing on charges of murdering her two children.
Maree Crabtree is facing a committal hearing on charges of murdering her two children.

One of Johnathan's friends Cassandra Hopper told the court on Tuesday that the man told her his mother would not let him get a job.

"(He) said she was very controlling and he wasn't allowed to live his own life, he had to live by her rules," Ms Hopper said.

"Every time that we hung out he would only have $20.

"His mum would give him $20 every time he left the house and he wasn't allowed anymore."

Ms Hopper said Johnathan was upset about the death of his sister Erin, who Crabtree is accused of murdering in 2012.

"He was always self-destructive about her death," Ms Hopper said.

"(He) was very upset about it and didn't want to be alive because she was dead."

The woman said in 2015 she received a Snapchat message from Johnathan that showed a photo of pills and the words "goodbye Tara, hello Erin" referring to his living sister Tara and his deceased sister Erin.

That same day Johnathan was involved in a serious car crash when his vehicle smashed into a tree.

Ms Hopper said she sent a screenshot of the message to Crabtree, warning her not to let her son drive but claims the woman said he was "fine".

She said in the wake of the crash, Johnathan and his mum began sharing a single Facebook account.

Maree Crabtree with her son Jonathan Crabtree. Picture: Supplied
Maree Crabtree with her son Jonathan Crabtree. Picture: Supplied

Johnathan's ex-girlfriend gave evidence Johnathan's car accident was a suicide attempt because "he was actually trying to escape from her (his mum)".

Under cross examination she said Johnathan had purposely crashed into the tree because he wanted to kill himself.

She said on the day of the crash, she had broken up with Johnathan who she says told her he was "petrified" of his mother and he begged her not to break up with him, threatening to kill himself if she did.

The woman also claimed she believed Crabtree had drugged her on three separate occasions while she was visiting Johnathan, saying she was given a drink which caused her to fall asleep and she woke up feeling groggy.

When asked by defence barrister Angus Edwards why she continued to accept drinks after the first alleged drugging, the woman said she did not believe it would happen again.

She said she didn't confront Crabtree over her suspicions because she assumed she would "deny it like with other stuff".

"She does tell a lot of lies," the woman said.

The hearing continues.

Originally published as 'Lived by her rules': Witness says man afraid of controlling mum


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