An Australian woman poured a pot of boiling water on her sleeping husband because he wanted to end their marriage, a court has heard.
Maria Doris Axiak, 57, pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury on Monday, more than two years after the incident in the home in the Melbourne suburb of Burnside that she shared with her husband.
The County Court of Victoria heard Axiak became "hysterical" when her husband informed her after dinner on September 22, 2018 that he wanted to end the 28-year relationship.
Axiak got on the phone with her daughter and told her she wanted to "do something" to his face, so that he would think of her and her feelings when he looked in the mirror.
"I feel like doing something little bit to his face so in the morning he'd get up and remember what he's been doing to me," Axiak later told police.
"Mum, don't do anything stupid," the daughter responded, but Axiak went to fill a pot of water and set it to boil.
She then disconnected the landline phone, took her husband's mobile phone, and went outside to smoke a cigarette while the water heated up.
"It took maybe 5 or 6 minutes to boil like I went outside and had a smoke and I came in, he was sleeping," she said in the police interview.
"I was on the left side of the bed, I went to half way up the bed and threw the water, I just shoved it like that and I throw the pot and ran out."
The water burned the man on his head, arm, shoulder and flank and caused his eardrum to puncture.
Axiak left the house and took his mobile phone and car keys with her, while the husband made his way to a house next door where a neighbour opened and found him in a dressing gown.
The court heard the man's face and chest were described as "very red".
He asked to borrow the phone and called his stepdaughter, who had previously pleaded with her mum not to do anything stupid.
"Mum has thrown water on me," he said.
After the call ended, Axiak appeared at her daughter's home and yelled "I did it, I did it, I threw water on him and I am sleeping here tonight," the court heard.
The daughter then drove her mother's husband to Sunshine Hospital where he was treated for his burns, which involved him being placed in an induced coma and undergoing surgery and skin grafts.
During Monday's hearing, Judge Claire Quin asked Axiak if she would plead guilty or not guilty to intentionally causing serious injury to her then-husband.
"Guilty," Axiak responded.
Her defence barrister Nola Karapanagiotidis called on psychologist Aaron Cunningham to give evidence before the court.
He said Axiak suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and that her mental illness was a "huge factor" in her decision-making at the time of the offence.
"There is this huge factor here, that can cause anger and anxiety and depression," Cunningham said.
"So I couldn't remove that from the equation and say it was just anger, you'd have to say on the balance of things that it's her mental illness driving this."
Karapanagiotidis told the court Axiak had no prior criminal history, but that she comes from a background marked by trauma.
"She's had a hard and difficult life, she's never offended in the past, and she's somebody who has required intensive special assistance over the years to manage and deal with her mental health issues," Karapanagiotidis said.
Prosecutor Jo Piggott told the court Axiak didn't appear to be immediately remorseful in the days after the offence, and that she didn't seem to understand how serious the impact was on her victim.
"It's a huge lifelong scarring to the victim," Piggott said.
"The impact on the victim will be lifelong, although the evidence is that he's not suffering any ongoing pain.
"But certainly there will be a physical reminder [of the crime]."
Quin said she expected to sentence Axiak on Friday. The crime carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - DO YOU NEED HELP?
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay
Where to go for help or more information:
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice:
• National Network of Stopping Violence:
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent.
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