Warning: Contains graphic details.
A wife who stabbed her husband with scissors while they were having sex claims she acted in self-defence, a jury in Rotorua has been told.
It’s the Crown’s case the wife had told a neighbour she had wanted to “take him [her husband] out” before stabbing him in their home weeks later, inflicting “life-threatening” injuries.
The defence case is the woman stabbed her husband in self-defence as he was tightening a strap around her neck.
The woman is on trial in the Rotorua District Court, having denied two charges - wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and breaching a protection order.
She has been granted interim name suppression until the end of the trial, which is set to last six days.
The Crown case
Rotorua Crown prosecutor Anna McConachy gave an opening address to the jury on Monday morning. As McConachy spoke, the defendant put her fingers in her ears and rocked back and forward in her chair with her head down.
McConachy said the woman stabbed her husband about 5am one morning, while they were having sexual intercourse in a bedroom..
“She was on top of him, she was straddling him, he had his eyes closed and was close to climaxing.
“She lunged forward with a pair of scissors. She stabbed him once in the neck and twice in the abdomen.”
McConachy said the husband cried out in pain and grabbed his wife by the wrists to stop her from stabbing him again. Naked, he ran upstairs and alerted their children. Blood was splattered throughout the house.
One of their children called 111 while another attended to the man’s wounds. He was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and needed surgery because his bowel had been pierced, McConachy said.
Not long after the first 111 call, the defendant also called 111 and told the call-taker: “We were having sex, he had the strap on me and he wouldn’t get off.” She said she grabbed scissors and cut him in the neck and tummy.
Couple had separated
The couple had earlier separated due to financial arguments and rumours of infidelity.
McConachy said the couple’s children had found messages on their mother’s phone showing she was messaging and sending nude photos to other men. They told their father and not long after that, the couple separated.
A few weeks prior to the stabbing, the husbandwas granted a protection order against his wife requiring her to leave the family home if he requested. The protection order said she was not to engage in any family violence against her husband or children.
The weekend before the stabbing, the couple started to rekindle their relationship.
The night before the stabbing, they had sex, then again early in the morning, McConachy said.
McConachy told the jury the defendant initiated sexual intercourse for a third time.
“(He) said it was unusual for them to engage in sexual intercourse that many times but he went along with it,” McConachy said.
The woman closed the bedroom door and returned to bed. The husband recalled her looking down the side of the bed and assumed she was checking her phone.
McConachy said the couple began having sex and after some time the woman asked her husband, who had his eyes closed, if he was close to climaxing. He said he was and she indicated she was too.
She repeated the question moments later and when he again indicated he was close, she lunged forward and stabbed him.
“He managed to grab her wrists and said, ‘You’re killing me’. He said it was met with a blank expression. He said he was able to hold on to her wrist and wrestle the scissors from her.”
McConachy said the children would tell the jury about how their mother was acting “strangely” before the stabbing. She stopped cooking dinners, was going out drinking, and yelling and screaming at them, and there was lots of arguing.
A friend of the defendant would also give evidence the woman had wanted to “take him out”, referring to her husband.
The defence case
The defendant’s lawyer, Tony Bamford, also gave an opening address and told the jury the couple were having sex about 5am.
“(She) was lying on one side with a strap around her neck, it was a bag strap and had been put there during consensual sex that occurred the evening before.”
Bamford said the woman’s husband was leaning on his right shoulder, she was partially off the bed and the strap was being pulled tight.
“She was telling him to stop.”
Bamford said the sex was unprotected and the woman was concerned she was not on any contraceptive but her husband refused to stop.
“His whole demeanour was such that she became seriously concerned for her safety. So she grabbed a pair of scissors off the bedside table in her hand, stabbed him in the neck and stabbed him twice in the abdomen.”
Bamford said the woman was half-naked with the strap tightly pulled around her neck when police arrived.
Bamford reminded the jury the woman must be presumed innocent and it was up to the Crown to prove the case. He said they must be sure she was guilty.
He said it was not a case of who they believed and if there was a “reasonable possibility” she was acting in self-defence, the Crown’s case had failed.
Bamford said the woman’s husband believed she had been cheating on him and had told her he was going to do something “really nasty”.
That was “playing on her mind” as the strap was around her neck.
The trial before Judge Tony Snell continues.
Kelly Makiha is a senior journalist who has reported for the Rotorua Daily Post for more than 25 years, covering mainly police, court, human interest and social issues.
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