Warning: Contains graphic details.
“Get off, what are you doing?” That’s what children heard their father yelling on the morning his wife stabbed him with scissors during sex, a Rotorua jury has been told.
One of the couple’s children said they also heard their mother responding to their father’s “loud” and “scared” voice and described it sounding like there was “something wrong with her in the head”.
The wife, who has interim name suppression, is on trial in the Rotorua District Court after denying charges of wounding her husband with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and breaching a protection order.
Several details relating to the incident at their family home cannot be reported for legal reasons and the names of the witnesses and the complainant are also suppressed.
It is the Crown’s case the couple had a turbulent relationship and often fought over money.
Crown prosecutor Anna McConachy said during her opening address on Monday a neighbour would tell the jury the woman talked about wanting to “take him out”, referring to her husband.
McConachy said the woman initiated sexual intercourse with her husband about 5am, for the third time since they went to bed the night before.
The woman was on top of the man straddling him and stabbed him with scissors once in the neck and twice in the abdomen when he had his eyes closed and was “close to climaxing”. He suffered “life-threatening” injuries.
The defence case is the woman stabbed her husband in self-defence as he was tightening a strap around her neck during sex.
Defence lawyer Tony Bamford said the woman was lying on her side, partially off the bed and her husband was leaning on his right shoulder.
The jury also heard how the couple had separated but were rekindling their marriage at the time of the incident.
Children give evidence
Three of the couple’s children, who are now adults, gave evidence yesterday, with two describing how they heard their parents’ voices early on the morning their father was stabbed.
One of the children read from their police statement, saying their mother had not sounded like she normally did when she argued with their father.
“It sounded like something was wrong with her in the head.”
They said they heard their father yelling, “Get off, what are you doing?”
They said their mother had earlier been acting differently and would drink alcohol and go out, coming home in the early morning.
Another of the children said their mother was not acting like a mother and was not how they remembered her to be.
One said they suspected there were messages on their mother’s phone and asked their older sibling to help them look.
Together they found messages from their mother to other men that included nude photos and videos of herself.
They arranged to tell their father what they had found. One of the children said in evidence their father went quiet. The couple then separated.
Two described how she took them out of school and told them they were going to the police station to make a statement about how their father had strangled her, she hit her head on a coffee table and blanked out.
Both children said in evidence they did not witness such an assault.
The children described how their parents would often fight verbally and physically. This included spitting, pushing and punching.
Two of the children said their parents were as bad as each other, but one said the fights were usually started by their mother and were usually about money.
The jury earlier heard from the complainant who said under cross-examination that his former wife would start arguments about money and accuse him of stashing money away.
He said he would give her $500 a week for the shopping - which he reiterated was a lot of money at the time - but she had wanted $700. He told his wife if she could not manage to buy the food with $500 a week, he would give it a try.
“I wasn’t putting tabs on her spending. I was ensuring there was enough money.”
He said she was using money he earned to go out drinking.
He was asked by Bamford if he was trying to “demean” his wife by doing things like changing her “nickname” in their Facebook messages to “hoe bag” and “c**k hunter”.
The complainant admitted to Bamford he was annoyed his wife was not telling him the truth and would change her name on the chats then delete them soon after.
Under re-examination by McConachy, the man said he had bought the woman items she needed for her work but she could keep the money she earned.
He was asked about things he paid for in recent years for his wife, including plastic surgery..
111 call played to the jury
A 111 call made by one of the children reporting their mother had stabbed their fatherwas played to the jury.
The witness described to the call-taker that there was a lot of blood and their father was turning white. The call-taker talked them through how to care for his wounds and monitor his breathing.
During the evidence, the defendant sat in the dock with her head down and was rocking back and forward.
The trial before Judge Tony Snell continues.
Kelly Makiha is a senior journalist who has reported for the Rotorua Daily Post for more than 25 years, covering mainly police, court, human interest and social issues.