The police crime scene at the Slade Point address cordoned off with tape after the death of Darlene Saltner.
The police crime scene at the Slade Point address cordoned off with tape after the death of Darlene Saltner. The Daily Mercury

De facto to stand trial for murder

FORMER Yeppoon mother Darlene Saltner was slain and left with 57 stab wounds, face down in a pool of blood.

Her de facto partner, Kenneth Michael Martin, 54, was found covered in blood and sitting in an armchair beside her body, a court heard this week.

When police arrived at the couple’s Mackay home, Martin allegedly told them: “It’s about time you (expletives) got here. You’re too late. She’s dead.”

Martin was committed to trial this week for the murder of Ms Saltner following a committal hearing in Mackay Magistrates Court.

He’s accused of murdering the 39-year-old Ms Saltner at Slade Point, north of Mackay, on December 20 last year.

On the night of her death, Martin made a triple-0 phone call to emergency services and four police officers arrived at the couple’s home just before midnight.

The paramedic who found Ms Saltner’s body face down in a pool of blood asked Martin: “How long has she been like this?”

Martin allegedly replied: “Since nine o’clock.”

The court heard Ms Saltner left her partner in Mackay to stay in Yeppoon for about four days in the week before her death “as a wake-up call for him”.

During that time Martin allegedly phoned Ms Saltner’s brother Greg, who was in Biloela, and said: “I’ll kill her when she gets back”.

“I shouldn’t be telling you this, Greg, because you’re her brother. But I’m going to kill her,” Martin allegedly said.

Brian Aley, of Yeppoon, said he and his partner picked Ms Saltner up from Rockhampton and drove her to Yeppoon where she spent some time with them.

Mr Aley testified that Ms Saltner said she thought her partner was drinking too much and they were getting behind financially.

“Darlene said she was coming to see us as a wake-up call for Ken,” Mr Aley said.

Ms Saltner’s brother told the court that during that time Martin phoned him several times looking for

Darlene.

“He said that he was going to kill my sister when she got back to Mackay,” Greg Saltner said.

Greg drove his sister to the Rockhampton Bus Terminal for her to return to Mackay on December 17.

She died three days later.

Fourteen witnesses gave evidence during the committal hearing.

Acting magistrate Ron Muirhead committed Martin to stand trial in the Supreme Court in Mackay on a date to be set.

Martin has been in custody since his arrest on December 21 last year.



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