In 2012, the threats began to pour into the home of Tabitha Lean, her husband Simon Craig Peisley, along with the couple’s two minor children. At first, it was phone calls and letters, before escalating to packages sent to Lean and her husband’s offices at SA Health, as well as their children’s schools. Their home had been vandalized, with cryptic messages scrawled in tomato sauce on the walls, and the children had been afraid to sleep in their own beds after one letter threatened to cut one of the children “from ear to ear.”
It sounds like the plot of a psychological thriller, but Tabitha Lean says that’s exactly what happened. The family, fearing for their lives, were offered to be relocated by Southern Austraila’s taxpayer funded health services organization that they had worked for. In addition to paying for the family to live in luxury apartments, they also paid for the family to take interstate vacations, and paid nearly $580,000 AUD in workman’s compensation. It would come out in 2014, that the whole thing had been a ploy to change office locations during a restructuring of the organization.
According to Tabitha Lean, during the time that the threats had begun, she had feared for the solvency of her position as Aboriginal Health Services director while a restructuring of the taxpayer-funded health organization was underway and hoped that she could possibly change offices. Lean and Peisley were quick to turn on one another during the trial, claiming that greed had taken over the simple plan to be relocated.
Lean says that the couple’s marriage had been marred by health issues and infidelity. According to Lean, Paisley had been using their son’s Facebook account in order to contact men for sexual encounters. Neither would admit to making the threats.
Police were able to arrest the couple using an invisible ink sting operation. Breaking into the couple’s home, investigators marked pieces of stationary with an invisible pen. When later threats emerged, it was clear that it had been the couple who had made the 80,000 threats themselves.
A combination of evidence found during the invisible ink operation, handwriting analysis, fingerprints, and DNA found on the envelopes had been used to convict the couple. After seven hours of deliberation, Tabitha Lean was found guilty of 47 charges of deception, while Simon Craig Peisley had been found guilty of 46 of the 47 charges he faced. Both Lean and Peisley will be handed their sentences in February of 2017.