Model told of baby news just before death

The distraught daughter of Brisbane model Maureen Boyce has broken down on the witness stand during the trial of her mum's accused killer, telling the court the 68-year-old had been thrilled to learn she was about to become a grandma before she died.

Banking executive Angelique Pennisi struggled through an emotional cross examination in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday, saying she would never forget how beautiful her mum looked the last time she saw her.

Mrs Pennisi also revealed the pair had been in a fight during the weeks before Ms Boyce died after she confronted her mum about a trip she took to New Zealand to see her lover Thomas Chris Lang, who is accused of her murder.

The court heard Mrs Pennisi had been married in late May of 2015. Her mum died months later in October 2015.

She gave evidence the pair had a fight leading up to the wedding when Mrs Boyce said she would be unable to join her daughter and close family friend Sarina Russo on a trip to Melbourne to try on wedding dresses.

"Yes she said that she was going to New Zealand," Mrs Pennisi said.

"Like every mother and daughter we had a fight."

Maureen Boyce's daughter Angelique Pennisi. Picture: Dan Peled
Maureen Boyce's daughter Angelique Pennisi. Picture: Dan Peled

She said the pair "constantly" had little fights but then they would make up and the pair patched up their relationship and Ms Boyce attended her daughter's wedding which she described as an "amazing day".

Mrs Pennisi said she found out she was pregnant in June 2015 and her mum was thrilled with the news.

"She was very excited she was going to be a grandmother for the first time so … seeing her daughter getting married to having her first child was pretty exciting for us all," she said.

"Yes she was really involved in it (the pregnancy)."

Mrs Pennisi gave evidence the last time she saw her mother was in September, the month before she was found dead in her bed with a 19cm kitchen knife buried in her abdomen.

"It was at Kangaroo Point when I came over to collect a book she had got because I was pregnant with our first child," she said.

"She looked so beautiful that day. I'll never forget it."

The court heard Mrs Pennisi later became aware that her mum, who was still married to Cairns-based GP Graham Boyce, had travelled to New Zealand to visit Lang and she said she reacted "terribly".

"I called my dad and I was very upset and asked him what mum was doing and we had a chat about it and I was heavily pregnant at the time so I was very emotional," she said.

"I sent her a text message because I wanted to show my mum that I didn't accept it."

"My mum sent me messages since then and I didn't reply but my husband spoke to my mum to reassure her."

Brisbane socialite Maureen Boyce died in October 2015.
Brisbane socialite Maureen Boyce died in October 2015.

She said while she didn't respond to her mum, she "knew she was okay" because she continued to message her and had "moved on to other conversations".

Throughout the trial, the court heard evidence that Lang had fathered a son with Ms Boyce 30 years earlier when she was visiting the United States and that he only found out about the child in 2013.

Mrs Pennisi said her mum had mentioned Lang in passing and in "heated discussions" with her dad.

"I heard that it could be possible (that he was the father of Ms Boyce's son)," she said.

"But mum mentioned something but it was never a sit down conversation to talk about who he was. There were unfortunately multiple men in my mum's life which I didn't agree with."

When asked if that caused friction between the mother and daughter, Mrs Pennisi said "absolutely"

"I have high moral standards, and that's one of the reasons I moved out of home," she said.

Lang, a retired American doctor, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Boyce.

The crown has now closed its case and Lang has opted not to give evidence.

The prosecution will begin closing arguments this afternoon.







Originally published as Model told of baby news just before death