In the chaotic days around the time that the wife of famed artist John Olsen discovered a lump on her body, underwent an urgent CT-scan and learned that two new tumours had appeared on her brain, her daughter took her to the bank.
The NSW Supreme Court heard on Wednesday that Katharine Olsen's daughter, Karen Mentink, drove her mother to the local branch a few days after the brain scan in October 2016 and observed Mrs Olsen write a cheque to her for $30,000.
It allegedly followed a cheque for $2.2 million that Mrs Olsen signed over to Ms Mentink a month earlier which was, Ms Mentink told the court, "a gift". By year's end, Mrs Olsen was dead.
Now the nature and intent of those payments are in dispute, and John Olsen, 91, is suing his stepdaughter Ms Mentink, 58, for $2.3 million for skimming the estate of her mother, who was his wife of 27 years.
The withdrawals are alleged to have been made while Mrs Olsen was suffering a cognitive impairment following brain surgery, and Ms Mentink was managing the couple's financial affairs.
Olsen's barrister Mark McCulloch SC has alleged that Ms Mentink acted in "unseemly haste" by convincing her to make the withdrawals.
Ms Mentink accepted under cross-examination that she had taken her mother to the bank in the days it became clear the cancer was terminal, but denied she had prevailed upon her mother to give her $30,000 at that time.
"In between seeing the doctor and urgently getting a CT-scan and seeing [an oncologist], I'm putting to you the assertion that you took your mother to the bank to have her transfer $30,000 to you, do you deny that happened?," Mr McCulloch asked.
Ms Mentink replied: "I deny that happened."
She said the transfer had occurred the previous month.
Ms Mentink had a history of enjoying the Olsens' largesse, the court heard, including living rent free in one of their properties for 101 weeks (which she said she repaid out of her divorce settlement), accepting money from them to renovate a Lindfield property and receiving money to pay for her children's private school fees.
She agreed that she was aware Olsen was receiving a significant income from the sale of his paintings while his profile as an artist was growing.
In 2016 she sent her mother an email entitled "apartment on my wish list" and linking to a property at McMahons Point. She added in the email: "Just in case a spare million ends up in my bank account looking for a home".
Ms Mentink said the email was written in jest.
She denied that her mother was suffering from confusion or acting erratically at the time she signed over the $2.2 million, though she had used the word "confused" to describe her mother's demeanour in letters to doctors.
Mr McCulloch asked her: "You're aware it is an issue in this case whether your mother was in a state of confusion when she withdrew the funds and gave them to you in 2016?"
Ms Mentink: "I didn't know confusion was part of that. Is that what you're saying, that she was confused?"
The hearing continues.