Woman found not guilty of murdering partner

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 jury has taken just three hours to find a woman guilty of the manslaughter of her partner on Valentine's Day, but cleared her of murder.

Gisborne woman Patricia Erica Paton, 30, was found not guilty of murdering Lawrence Teepa-Moon, 33, but guilty of manslaughter.

Paton will be sentenced by Justice Robert Dobson on January 21 next year.

The verdict was reached this afternoon.

Defence lawyers David Sharp and Alistair Clarke detailed a life of domestic violence between the couple, which culminated in the kitchen of their home.

Mr Teepa-Moon bled to death after being stabbed once in the neck with a knife from his own kitchen.

The knife penetrated 9.5 centimetres and severed his left jugular vein and carotid artery.

After a day of drinking with relatives at their home, Paton and her partner had a fight in their hall where she suffered facial injuries.

Paton said she broke free and ran to the kitchen where she grabbed two knives but dropped one.

She said she got the knives out because she was scared he was going to give her more of "a hiding''.

Mr Sharp argued she did not have murderous intent but was acting in legitimate self-defence during a frightening episode of domestic violence.

Paton admitted the knife was in her hand but said during a ``tussle that went wrong'' it was an intoxicated Mr Teepa-Moon who pushed the blade into his own neck.

She then fled the scene and ran for three hours in bare feet until she got a lift from a truck driver to Opotiki - about two hours north from Gisborne.

Crown Prosecutor Clayton Walker said Paton was not acting in self-defence but grabbed the knives out of anger.

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