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Rayney name ‘irreparably tainted’ over murder charge

Lloyd Rayney’s sister says she is glad she changed her name when she got married because it allowed her to escape the difficulties that came with the “irreparably tainted” Rayney surname.

Raelene Johnston was called to give evidence today in her brother’s multimillion-dollar defamation trial brought against the State after he was named the prime and only suspect in his wife Corryn’s murder.

In her witness statements tendered to the Supreme Court trial, Ms Johnston outlined the impact the comments had had on her brother and his extended family.

She said members of her family experienced difficulties and uncomfortable questions because of their surname and this upset Mr Rayney.

“I am relieved I changed my name upon marriage,” Ms Johnston said.

“I am grateful I am not judged by virtue of my name. However, my relationship to Lloyd creates uncomfortable situations for me.”

The case is expected to last six weeks.

Ms Johnston gave evidence that her extended family used to enjoy going out for dinner together but said they could no longer do so because of the looks and comments that Mr Rayney attracted.

She said as a result, they spent less time together and Mr Rayney was left feeling frustrated that he was unable to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

“It is hurtful to Lloyd that our family dynamics have changed and are more strained because we see less of each other for this reason,” Ms Johnston said.

“He has asked me why I treat him like a leper and it is difficult for me to answer.”

Ms Johnston was aged 17 when Mr and Mrs Rayney married.

She described the pair as “very happy” in the early days but said Mrs Rayney was “openly hostile” to her husband before her death.

According to Ms Johnston, Mr Rayney now often comments that he is a “50 plus-year-old man with no future prospects or happiness”.

“He has cried in front of me in frustration during discussions about the fact that all he wants is to be happy and to be anonymous,” she said.

Ms Johnston testified that one officer involved in the investigation into her sister-in-law’s death was racist, arrogant, rude and insensitive.

When the State’s lead lawyer, Terence Tobin, asked Ms Johnston if the officers involved were “contentious investigators into a dreadful murder” she said no.

“I didn’t have dealings with every officer who was involved in this investigation,” she said.

“I don’t know what percentage of officers I had involvement with. I had concerns about several of the officers who I came across.”

Mr Rayney was charged with his wife’s murder in December 2010 and he was found not guilty of the charge in November 2012.

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