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Alleged killer wanted his guns back before ex-wife’s death, court told

Mrs Fraser told the court on Tuesday that after the couple split for the second time in early 2017, her daughter became ‘‘very concerned’’ that there were guns in the family home where Mr Basham and their three children were still living, and that she was ‘‘afraid of what Adrian might do’’.

‘‘She insisted Adrian’s father take the keys to the gun safe and the guns be handed in, which they were. [Adrian’s father] promised her that Adrian would never own a gun again. He was clearly concerned himself,’’ she said.

Police with Adrian Basham outside Bairnsdale Magistrates Court last year.

Police with Adrian Basham outside Bairnsdale Magistrates Court last year.Credit:Maree Regan

An emotional Mrs Fraser told the court: ‘‘Sam’s big concern was Adrian would unravel after the separation and shoot her and the children and himself and perhaps shoot us.’’

She said that the guns were seized by police in 2017. However, in June last year, Ms Fraser became concerned after she was told that Mr Basham had made an application to police to have his firearms returned, the court heard.

Ms Fraser’s father, Trevor Fraser, also gave evidence on Tuesday saying his daughter had told him she was scared about the firearms.

‘‘I just know that Samantha was very fearful of the fact there were guns present in the house and because of her fear, she was afraid of being near the guns,’’ he said.

Mr and Mrs Fraser lived on the same street as their daughter for several years before her death.

Mrs Fraser said after the marriage broke down her daughter became increasingly anxious and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

‘‘[Samantha] was very afraid in the months after the separation. She was advised, because she was so afraid for her safety and what Adrian might do, she lived with us for about three months,’’ Mrs Fraser said.

‘‘She had been advised she was at risk from this man … by the agencies that were supporting her. They had assessed him and assessed his behaviour as she had told them and she believed she was at risk.’’

Ms Fraser's body was found in the garage of her home in Cowes.

Ms Fraser’s body was found in the garage of her home in Cowes.Credit:Eddie Jim

“He was insistent he would not move out. His behaviour became more disconcerting and worrying. Sam said to me, her words were, ‘I think he is punishing me for trying to leave him’. The behaviour was very aggressive, very angry. He went off the medication he had gone on. Samantha was very concerned for herself and the children.’’

During this time, she said that Mr Basham was telling their children that ‘‘Mummy had left them and didn’t want to be with them anymore’’.

Mrs Fraser recalled that around the time of the separation, she believed Mr Basham set fire to the back fence after accusing Ms Fraser of having an affair with a neighbour, ‘‘which was nonsense’’.

‘‘We were entirely suspicious of Adrian setting the fire which burnt down her back fence and the neighbour’s back fence,’’ she said.

‘‘His behaviour around the fire was incredibly weird … he rang her and conversation went … ‘If I was not around, the whole house might have burnt down and you need me around to protect you’.’’

He also made ‘‘veiled threats and non-veiled threats’’ towards Ms Fraser, the court was told.

‘‘He would say things like, ‘You never know who will break in and do you harm’. Or he had also told Sam he knew how to lift the sliding doors out of place to get in. So she became very afraid and very, very concerned about going around and making sure everything was locked at night,’’ Ms Fraser’s mother said.

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Mr Basham, who was present for proceedings wearing a blue shirt and suit, started to sob during the evidence of Susan Grant, a friend and neighbour who lived on the same street as the couple in Cowes and who used to occasionally babysit the children.

Ms Grant found out Ms Fraser had died after she received a text message from Mrs Fraser on July 24 last year.

She then reviewed her home’s CCTV footage from the day of the murder which she watched ‘‘many times’’.

She said she recognised the figure walking down the street that day as Mr Basham because of ‘‘his build and the way he walked’’.

The footage was later released to the public by police and was crucial in the investigation.

The hearing continues.

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