When Elong Elong man Robert Dickie disappeared the rumour mill in Dubbo churned.
As the trial of Dickie's accused murderer Kylie So entered its sixth week, a number of last-minute witnesses took to the stand with evidence that could point to an entirely different set of suspects.
Witnesses told the Supreme Court in Dubbo about hearing a number of people - unknown to So - talking about doing something to Dickie in the weeks leading up to and immediately after his disappearance in June, 2016.
"I don't remember much about it but I know they were talking about [wanting to get] rid of him," an acquaintance of Mr Dickie told the court, recalling a conversation she had with two possible suspects.
"That's why I started to be a bit panicky ... because I don't understand how someone can take a life."
Earlier, Crown prosecutor Liam Shaw said the "new material" could point to an "alternative hypothesis" around Mr Dickie's disappearance.
Throughout the trial the Crown has alleged Mr Dickie was killed by So after he tried to kick her out of his Wattle Road home.
So - who first met Dickie in 2011 when she was doing sex work in Dubbo - had arrived in Australia from New Zealand just days before he disappeared. She said the two maintained contact online and he asked her to move to Elong Elong to be his girlfriend.
Mr Shaw says blood stains found in Dickie's bedroom, 14 months after his disappearance, could be evidence a fight had taken place. Despite extensive searches of the area, no trace of Mr Dickie's body has ever been found.
Lost in translation
However, in video recordings of police interviews with So played for the court, she maintains Dickie told her he was "going to a party" on the evening he disappeared.
With the help of a Vietnamese interpreter over the phone, So told officers she saw Mr Dickie leave the house and get in a car with another person, never to return.
"He said he was going to a party and he would be back at 10:00pm... He said he had a friend who would come pick him up," she told police through the interpreter.
"I didn't see the friend, I was watching TV at the time ... but when he opened the door as he was leaving I could see the bright lights of the vehicle.
"He didn't bring wine or alcohol with him even though at home he has a lot of bottles, he just went with his friend."
On Wednesday, September 20, the interpreter who assisted police with the interview took to the stand. Defence counsel Ian Nash asked her if some of the apparent inconsistencies in So's account could be explained by language differences.
She said in Vietnamese the word for "gate" and "door" are the same, which may have led to the confusion.
The trial of Kylie So continues at the Supreme Court in Dubbo.
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