Cathy McPhee murdered by deranged, jealous husband

By Olivia Lambert

Cathy McPhee was murdered by her husband in Mildura in 2013. Photo / News.com.au
Cathy McPhee was murdered by her husband in Mildura in 2013. Photo / News.com.au

Cathy McPhee had met the love of her life. At least that's what she thought.

But she soon found her new husband was outlandish, violent and deranged.

She could not escape the toxic relationship and the grips of his hands and what started out as a love story ended in tragedy.

Ms McPhee met Stephen McPhee in 2005 and they married three years later.

But after a few happy years, their relationship began to deteriorate and Ms McPhee was tormented by her husband, according to the Coroner's Court of Victoria.

She complained about him drinking alcohol and the coroner's report said Mr McPhee would become abusive towards her and would refuse to stop watching porn.

Three years after getting married, the pair visited a psychologist to fix their relationship problems.

The pair were very jealous and Ms McPhee believed her husband was having an affair with a woman from work.

She even hired a private investigator but her suspicions were not confirmed.

Mr McPhee later admitted to flirting with the woman from work but denied an affair.

His colleague however said Mr McPhee had been inappropriate towards her and Ms McPhee found he had been lying about meeting up with the woman and was making secret phone calls, the coroner's report said.

In 2012, Mr McPhee became possessive and controlling and he wouldn't allow his wife to see her sons without him and eventually tried to stop her from calling and visiting her kids.

He then cut her off from the internet and looked through her phone and would not allow her to speak to any other men, especially her ex-husband.

He would follow Ms McPhee to the toilet and would wait outside the door until she came out.

She had no escape and he was suffocating her.

The pair agreed on a trial separation in September 2012 and she built a granny flat out the back of her home in Mildura, in Victoria's northwest, so she could live away from her husband.

The coroner's report said it was unclear whether Mr McPhee fully accepted the separation or whether he thought his wife was just seeking temporary space by living in the granny flat.

Photo / News.com.au
Photo / News.com.au

That same month Ms McPhee went to her son's university graduation in Melbourne and Mr McPhee showed up uninvited and convinced Ms McPhee to stay in a hotel with him.

He then took her car and she could not drive anywhere.

She later told her son she was afraid Mr McPhee might hurt her.

In December Mr McPhee realised the marriage was over and he became aggressive and threatened to kill himself.

The coroner's report said the couple's psychologist was concerned about Ms McPhee and her safety and later that month Ms McPhee revealed to the psychologist she was worried by the relationship.

Mr McPhee had never physically hurt his wife before, but one of Ms McPhee's sons saw him point a knife at his wife, telling her to take it and stab him.

The coroner's report said Ms McPhee also told a close friend he once held a knife to her throat and said "if I can't have you no one else will have you and we'll go together".

Ms McPhee also told the private investigator she once left the house and slept in her car because she was so afraid of her husband.

On January 3 2013, the relationship came to a tragic end when Mr McPhee snapped and killed his wife.

She had been in Melbourne and returned to her Mildura home that day.

She met a friend in a shopping centre when she returned to the country town and gave her photos and items from Melbourne, that she did not want her estranged husband to find.

The coroner's report said when she arrived home, Mr McPhee was agitated because Ms McPhee had not answered her phone when he called.

But they started to have a good time together as he helped her unpack the car and they sat on the front patio discussing the new year.

The pair then started drinking and fighting and Ms McPhee said she didn't love him like she used to and couldn't trust him.

Mr McPhee tried to kiss Ms McPhee but she pushed him away and he felt rejected.

He said he was going to get another beer from an outside fridge and after drinking about six or seven cans, he snapped.

He went into the kitchen and grabbed a large knife. He crept up to Ms McPhee who was laying on the couch, listening to music.

The coroner's report said Mr McPhee stood over his wife and stabbed her in the chest.

She tried to grab the knife with her hands and said "I love you, Steve, I love you".

He then stabbed her a second time and she died.

According to the coroner's report, Mr McPhee panicked and removed Ms McPhee's skirt and wiped the knife to remove blood and fingerprints.

He then called an ambulance and told the operator his wife stabbed herself.

Mr McPhee then lied to police but later admitted what he had done and he was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

"The unexpected, unnatural and violent death of a person is a devastating event," state coroner Judge Sara Hinchey said.

"Violence perpetrated by a family member is particularly shocking, given the family unit is expected to be a place of trust, safety and protection."

- news.com.au

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