A WOMAN accused of stabbing her partner to death on Valentine’s Day in February, dropped to the floor and cried “I killed my man” after she inflicted the fatal wound, a witness told the High Court in Gisborne yesterday.
Patricia Erica Paton, 30, is on trial charged with the murder of her long-term partner and father of her three children Lawrence Teepa-Moon, 33, on February 14, 2012 at their Elgin home.
Paton has pleaded not guilty.
In his opening statement on day one of the trial, defence counsel David Sharp told the jury Paton did not have murderous intent.
Mr Sharp put to the jury of eight women and four men that Paton was acting in legitimate self-defence during a “frightening episode” of domestic violence.
If the jury agreed, then the law said she was entitled to an acquittal, he said.
Crown prosecutor Jo Rielly said Paton stabbed the deceased once through the neck with a knife from their kitchen after a violent struggle in the hallway of their home.
“This stab wound was a deep, penetrating wound that caused him to bleed to death.”
Mr Teepa-Moon, a forestry worker, was stabbed in the left side of his neck.
The blade penetrated 9.5 centimetres, through skin and muscle. It severed the left jugular vein and the carotid artery.
The scene was described as “horrific” by one of the witnesses, with blood all over the kitchen.
Despite efforts by Mr Teepa-Moon’s brother John Moon to stem the blood flow, and resuscitation attempts by paramedics who attended the scene, Mr Teepa-Moon stopped breathing very soon after the ambulance arrived and he was pronounced dead at 10.36pm.
The sequence of events leading up to Mr Teepa-Moon’s death were outlined by Mrs Rielly.
On Tuesday, February 14, about 10 family members had gathered at the accused and deceased’s house for a drinking session from around lunchtime.
Witnesses spoke of how people came and went from the address, across from the Elgin shops.
As the night wore on, and the drinking took effect, squabbles erupted between some of the couples — including Paton and Mr Teepa-Moon, who witnesses said had a history of domestic violence.
Paton and the deceased argued over whether he had an improper interest in one of the women there. Paton believed he did, said Mrs Rielly.
A fight broke out between the two of them in the hallway and Paton ran to the kitchen and grabbed two knives.
Mr Teepa-Moon, who was described as a big man and physically strong, followed her into the kitchen, carrying a beer bottle.
Despite the efforts of people to break up the fight, a witness said she saw Paton in a “fast and swift” motion stab Mr Teepa-Moon in the neck.
He fell against the cupboards in the kitchen as Paton fell to the floor in tears and said “I’ve killed my man”.
Paton and Mr Teepa-Moon’s children were at the house when it happened.
They were rushed crying from the scene to a property two doors down, where Paton’s brother and his partner lived with their children.
Paton left the scene shortly afterwards in the clothes she was wearing and bare feet.
A truck driver on his way to Tauranga saw a woman in the middle of his lane as he was travelling down State Highway 2.
He stopped. It was Paton and she asked him for a ride to Opotiki.
He asked why she was going there and she said she wanted to go to her Dad’s house.
He noticed swelling to her face and blood on her clothing and asked her what had happened.
She told him her partner had given her a hiding.
She also said her partner had stabbed himself.
When they got to Opotiki, she changed her mind and said she wanted to be dropped off at her cousin’s house.
After the truck driver did that, he called the police.
There were five witnesses called to the stand yesterday, including people who were at the get-together as well as Detective Samuel Park, who was in charge of the scene examination.
The trial is expected to last all week.