John Weekes is an NZME News Service reporter based in Wellington.

'Just shoot me, then,' says dad

Bullet fired between couple struggling with son's death in fight.

Mona and Brent Dudley. Photo / Michael Craig
Mona and Brent Dudley. Photo / Michael Craig

A grieving mother who shot her husband was threatening to shoot herself, according to the police case.

When Kelston schoolboy Stephen Dudley died after a fight at rugby practice last June, his community was in shock and his family heartbroken. Six months later, his mother, Mona, was charged with injuring by an unlawful act after shooting husband Brent.

Mona Dudley will be sentenced on Thursday in the Waitakere District Court after earlier pleading guilty. A police summary of facts said the Dudleys were at home watching TV about 11pm on December 27 when they started arguing. They were experiencing immense stress after their son's death.

Soon after the argument started Mona had picked up a .22 calibre rifle and Brent had pushed the butt end of the rifle into Mona's hands, saying, "Just shoot me, then." He had repeated the phrase, holding both arms outstretched. Mona had pushed the muzzle into her husband's face, and told him she didn't want to shoot him, but she wanted to be shot herself.

Brent had grabbed the muzzle with one hand and as the couple pushed the rifle back and forth a gunshot had exploded.

"The victim was shot in the middle of his chest with a single pellet," the police summary stated.

He was seriously hurt and spent two weeks in hospital recovering. But he forgave his wife.

"It was a silly accident," Brent told the Herald on Sunday in January. "There was never any intention for the gun to be discharged." The .22 bullet remains lodged near his heart.

Three weeks ago, a teenager who admitted assault after Stephen's death was discharged without conviction and granted permanent name suppression.

A co-accused will defend a manslaughter charge later this year.

Medical reports revealed Stephen Dudley was vulnerable as he had an undiagnosed heart condition. He would have turned 16 last month.

- Herald on Sunday

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