THE night before Adrian Basham rode his black Kawasaki motorbike into Cowes, on the morning of Monday, July 23, 2018, and assaulted his estranged wife, Samantha Fraser, before allegedly killing her, he spent the night enjoying pizza and a roast dinner with friends.
There was no sign of what was to come the next day, at least as far as the neighbours and friends at San Remo were concerned, with whom Mr Basham shared the night, until 8.30pm or 9pm, that Sunday night.
One of those at the impromptu dinner, to which the accused man brought a pizza and accepted an invitation to stay on for a main course of roast, was Cameron Brown, an earth-moving contractor of Park Street San Remo
“He dropped over with some pizza, early evening sort of time… around about six or 7 o’clock I presume,” Mr Brown told the Supreme Court on Day 9 of Mr Basham’s murder trial, on Thursday, March 31.
He said the pair had talked about possibly getting breakfast the next day up at the Silverwater Resort, and maybe going for a motorbike ride together afterwards, weather permitting.
When he left Mr Brown’s house, to go next door to spend the night in a friend’s bungalow, Mr Basham was in “good, good spirits, his normal happy self,” said Mr Brown said.
Ultimately Mr Brown slept in, didn’t meet Mr Basham for breakfast and didn’t hear from him about catching up for a motorbike ride.
The pair had also spent part of the day together on Saturday, July 21, with Mr Basham calling into Mr Brown’s Park Street home at about 2pm, in his motorbike gear, intent on riding to Bairnsdale to visit his father.
“He was planning on going and seeing his father at Bairnsdale and I talked him out of it because the weather was clouding in and about to hammer with rain, literally as we were speaking, so I talked him out of it and said he should stay here for the day, stay and have a beer.”
They had a beer at home, went up to the San Remo Hotel for a more few beers later and then came home and watched the footy on TV with Mr Brown’s brother-in-law Steven Antonovich, a Melbourne versus Geelong game, before Mr Basham went next door to stay the night.
The court also heard from Mr Brown’s wife, Libby Antonovich, who, along with her husband, Mr Brown, became friends with Adrian Basham when he was doing some renovation work for other friends down the road in San Remo.
Ms Antonovich was asked if she knew anything of Mr Basham’s movements on the weekend Ms Fraser was killed and also about an incident the week after when police called at her San Remo home for an interview in relation to the alleged murder.
“During the course of you speaking with police on the Saturday, July 28 (2018), did you see Mr Basham?” she was asked by member of the prosecution legal team, Lachlan Cameron.
According to Ms Antonovich, she was sitting at the kitchen table of her Park Street home, mid-interview with Detective Sergeant Steven Sheahan, when Mr Basham walked in and advised her that she didn’t have to say anything to the police if she didn’t want to.
Mr Basham was asked to leave the house by police.
Ms Antonovich had said earlier that it wasn’t unusual for Mr Basham to arrive at the house unannounced.
The court also heard from Phillip Island Primary School staff member Adrienne Rush, who also knew Samantha Fraser socially. Ms Rush was questioned about an incident back in 2015, when Ms Fraser attended a night out for Ms Rush’s birthday where she allegedly received constant text messages from Mr Basham.
Ms Rush acknowledged that Mr Basham “suddenly and unexpectedly” popped up from behind a Cypress tree in the Cowes main street with a box of ice creams for the women.
“I thought it was quite strange behaviour, and at that point, obviously Sam introduced me to Adrian as her husband,” Ms Rush told the court.
She was also asked about Ms Fraser’s frame of mind in mid-2018, prior to her death.
Ms Rush said she found Sam to be “progressively happier and healthier”, in a new relationship and in a “really buoyant and happy and positive” frame of mind.
The trial continued on Friday and is due to extend over six week in the Melbourne Supreme Court.