Christchurch woman Lucille Scollay has been found not guilty of her husband's murder but guilty of his manslaughter.

She admitted stabbing her husband through his heart during the early hours of February 10 last year had fatal consequences but she denied meaning to kill him.

Today, after two days of evidence at the High Court in Christchurch, a jury took just over four hours to unanimously find Mrs Scollay, 45, not guilty of murder.

They instead found her guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.


There were gasps of "yes'' from the public gallery at the decision.

Scollay was remanded in custody until March 13.

However, defence counsel Rupert Glover called for a Section 38 psychiatric report to be prepared and she might not be sentenced on that day.

Both families were relieved at the verdict.

Mr Scollay's dad Chris hugged his grandson Louis in the public gallery.

Her defence claimed she only wanted to somehow shake her deeply depressed 48-year-old husband out of his funk and make him realise just how "desperate'' their lives had become.

The only issue for the jury was whether she had any murderous intent when she picked up the large kitchen knife and plunged it into his chest.

Mrs Scollay had become highly frustrated and dissatisfied with their lives, the court has heard.


Her husband, a bright history major, became profoundly depressed shortly after the birth of their only child, son Louis Augustus 20 years ago.

Mr Scollay was on anti-depressant medication, the methadone programme, barely left their house suffering undiagnosed agoraphobia, and was essentially bedridden with scabies - his only release the smoking of cannabis.

His wife's family encouraged `Lulu' to leave her beloved `Guido' and "get her life back on track".

In the early hours of Sunday, February 10 last year, she returned home after a night out drinking with a man she had become close to, Greg Van Dyk.

Walking up the long Edgeware Rd drive, she decided to kill her husband, the Crown contested.

"She took her husband by his shoulder as he lay sleeping on his side, rolled him onto his back, got on top of him, straddling him as he was still half asleep, brought the knife up and stabbed him in chest, a deep wound that penetrated his heart," Crown prosecutor Mark Zarifeh said.

Son Louis was woken by her "almost scary" shrieking.

He found his father - who he was very close to - lying "limply on his back with blood coming out".

Mrs Scollay was apologising to her husband and pleading with him to stay alive.

"He was basically just saying that it was OK... that he had accepted his fate," Louis said.

After two days of evidence, Justice Cameron Mander this morning summed up both cases for the jury, even though he accepted "this has been a short trial".

He urged the jury to remain dispassionate when assessing the evidence and considering whether Mrs Scollay had murderous intent that night.

"You must judge the accused without fear or favour, unswayed by emotion," the judge said.

"Feelings of sympathy for the deceased, or the accused, or the situation of their son Louis, are inevitably aroused, but you must simply set such feelings aside."

A joint statement released by the families after the verdict said: "The family of Guy Scollay hold no animosity towards Lucille for this tragedy.

"The family of Lucille Scollay are deeply saddened.

"A son is lost, a wife has lost her husband, and a young man will now have to be without both father and mother.

"Both families request privacy.''