Murder accused: 'I killed my man'

By Gisborne Herald staff

The scene of the fatal stabbing in Elgin. Photo / APN
The scene of the fatal stabbing in Elgin. Photo / APN

A woman accused of stabbing her partner to death on Valentine's Day this year dropped to the floor and cried "I killed my man" after she inflicted the fatal wound, a witness has told the High Court at Gisborne.

Patricia Erica Paton, 30, is on trial charged with the murder of her long-term partner and father of her three children, Lawrence Teepa-Moon, 33, on February 14, 2012 at their Elgin suburban home.

Paton has pleaded not guilty.

In his opening statement, defence counsel David Sharp told the jury Paton did not have murderous intent but was acting in legitimate self-defence during a "frightening episode" of domestic violence.

Crown prosecutor Jo Rielly (EDS Crrct) said Paton stabbed the deceased once through the neck with a knife from their kitchen after a violent struggle in the hallway of their home.

"This stab wound was a deep, penetrating wound that caused him to bleed to death."

Mr Teepa-Moon, a forestry worker, was stabbed in the left side of his neck.

The blade penetrated 9.5cm, severing the left jugular vein and the carotid artery.

Despite efforts by Mr Teepa-Moon's brother to stem the blood, and resuscitation attempts by paramedics, Mr Teepa-Moon stopped breathing very soon after the ambulance arrived.

The sequence of events leading up to Mr Teepa-Moon's death was outlined by Mrs Rielly.

On Tuesday, February 14, about 10 family members had gathered at the accused and deceased's house for a drinking session from around lunchtime.

Witnesses spoke of how people came and went from the address.

As the night wore on squabbles erupted between some of the couples, including Paton and Mr Teepa-Moon, who witnesses said had a history of domestic violence.

Paton and the deceased argued over whether he had an improper interest in one of the women there. Paton believed he did, said Mrs Rielly.

A fight broke out between them and Paton ran to the kitchen and grabbed two knives.

Mr Teepa-Moon, who was described as a big man and physically strong, followed her into the kitchen, carrying a beer bottle.

Despite the efforts of people to break up the fight, a witness said she saw Paton in a "fast and swift" motion stab Mr Teepa-Moon in the neck.

He fell against the cupboards in the kitchen as Paton fell to the floor in tears and said "I've killed my man".

Paton and Mr Teepa-Moon's children were at the house when it happened.

They were rushed crying from the scene to a property two doors down, where Paton's brother and his partner lived.

Paton left the scene shortly afterwards.

A truck driver on his way from Gisborne to Tauranga saw a woman in the middle of his lane as he was travelling along State Highway 2.

He stopped. It was Paton and she asked him for a ride to Opotiki. He asked why she was going there and she said she wanted to go to her dad's house.

He noticed swelling to her face and blood on her clothing and asked her what had happened.

She told him her partner had given her a hiding. She also said her partner had stabbed himself.

When they got to Opotiki, she changed her mind and said she wanted to be dropped off at her cousin's house. After the truck driver did that, he called the police.

The trial is expected to last all week.

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