A Victorian mother who killed her partner by hitting him 16 times with a pickaxe has been cleared of murder after lawyers argued she was a victim of domestic violence.
Angela Williams, 45, admitted to killing Douglas Kally, but said she had lashed out in order to protect herself after years of domestic abuse.
A Victorian Supreme Court jury found her not guilty of murder, returning a guilty verdict for defensive homicide instead.
Mr Kally’s body was found in the backyard of the Indented Head house the couple had shared with their two children, months after his death in July 2008.
Lawyers for Williams had told her trial that Mr Kally “terrorised the family and terrorised them for a number of years”.
Mr Kally was a drug dealer and an alcoholic with a propensity for violence towards Williams and their children, defence barrister Leonard Hartnett said.
He described Williams as a prisoner to Mr Kally’s cruelty and derelict lifestyle.
Williams told police the night he died, Mr Kally had been pushing and shouting at her in their bedroom as he accused her of infidelity with his best friend, David Granger.
She said she grabbed a pickaxe from behind their bedroom door and Mr Kally taunted her by saying “do it you f***ing fat s***”.
The offence of defensive homicide was introduced in Victoria in 2005 in a bid to treat women who kill their partners after domestic violence more compassionately.
The trial heard that after killing Mr Kally, Williams told people her partner of 23 years had left her to move to his favourite NSW fishing spot.
She started a relationship with Mr Granger within weeks of the killing.
Williams, of St Leonards, cried as the verdict was read out in court on Wednesday.
She was remanded into custody until a pre-sentence hearing next month.