The Gisborne woman charged with the murder of her partner on Valentine’s Day this year stood impassively as the jury found her guilty of manslaughter today.
Patricia Erica Paton, 30, was found not guilty of murdering Lawrence Teepa-Moon, a 33-year-old forestry worker and father of their children on February 14, 2012.
The unanimous verdict of manslaughter meant the 11-member jury did not accept the defence’s self-defence argument but nor did they accept the Crown’s contention that she had murderous intent.
Paton is in custody and will be sentenced by Justice Robert Dobson on January 21, 2013.
The verdict was reached after the jury deliberated for three hours this afternoon.
Defence team David Sharp and Alistair Clarke detailed a life of domestic violence between the couple, which culminated in the kitchen of their Elgin home that night.
Mr Teepa-Moon bled to death after being stabbed once in the neck with a knife from his own kitchen.
The knife penetrated 9.5 centimetres and severed his left jugular vein and carotid artery.
He was pronounced dead at Gisborne Hospital at 10.36pm.
After a day of drinking with relatives at their home, Paton and her partner had a physical fight in their hallway where she sustained blunt force trauma injuries to her face.
Paton said she broke free and ran to the kitchen where she grabbed two knives but dropped one.
She said she got the knives out because she was scared he was going to give her more of “a hiding”.
Mr Sharp argued she did not have murderous intent but was acting in legitimate self-defence during a frightening episode of domestic violence.
Paton admitted the knife was in her hand but said during a “tussle that went wrong” it was an intoxicated Mr Teepa-Moon who pushed the blade into his own neck.
She then fled the scene and ran for three hours in bare feet until she got a lift from a truck driver to Opotiki – about two hours north from Gisborne.
Crown Prosecutor Clayton Walker said the facts of the case reflected poorly on the Gisborne community and urged the jury to use common sense when deciding a verdict.
Paton was not acting in self-defence but grabbed the knives out of anger, he said.
The jury was reduced to 11 members after a juror was discharged on the third morning of the High Court trial after her father fell seriously ill.