Jenbare was being questioned about the stabbing of his wife Wubanchi Asefaw, 25, in their Auburn, Sydney unit late on April 8, 2014. The notes confirming she had died in the attack were within his “line of sight” as he was being spoken to by detectives, his trial for murder heard on Monday.
Jenbare’s barrister Belinda Rigg asked Detective Constable Peter Phillp if that moment was the first he knew his wife had died.
“He asked if his wife was dead,” Det Const. Phillp told her.
He confirmed Ms Asefaw had died and Jenbare responded by crying and showing obvious “distress” for the next 10 minutes, the jury heard.
The 52-year-old has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not murder, arguing he was so mentally impaired through years of torture and abuse in Ethiopia it reduced his capability from murder to manslaughter.
The Crown rejects that plea. Its case is he stabbed his young wife during an argument and is guilty of murder because he had intent to kill her or cause serious injury.
An expert witness called by the defence, Dr Olav Nielssen, said Jenbare told him he “didn’t intend” for his wife to die and was “disturbed” by it.
He told Dr Nielssen the couple were arguing over a phone call to her nephew, back in Ethiopia, who she wanted to marry in order for him to be allowed entry to Australia.
“He said he told her he wouldn’t allow her to do it because he was a Christian and couldn’t make a false declaration.”
He told Dr Nielssen his wife said: “It’s none of your business, I’ll do it [whether] you like it or not.”
Jenbare had gone to her, in another room, holding a kitchen knife in his hand. Dr Nielssen said Jenbare told him when Ms Asefaw saw the knife she immediately began fighting him for it.
“She jumped over me and tried to grab the knife … was pushing and pulling,” Dr Nielssen said Jenbare told him.
But the accused couldn’t say what happened next.
“He doesn’t remember the next one or two minutes or how she left.”
He told the doctor: “[I] don’t remember how she got the stabs, actually I don’t remember a lot of things.”
The next thing he knew he was outside asking people to call 000 for help. Ms Asefaw was found down the road after staggering, bleeding, away from the unit and calling for help.
She was pronounced dead in hospital soon after.
Dr Nielssen asked him if he was worried about his wife leaving him, but Jenbare denied he was.
He told the court it was his opinion that Jenbare was suffering PTSD and a depressive, psychiatric illness.
Asked by Ms Rigg if that meant he had an abnormality of the mind that affected his “perception of events” he answered “ yes”.
“He met the criteria for having a depressive illness and probably a psychiatric illness,” he said.
In cross examination, Crown prosecutor Paul Lynch asked him about the delusional beliefs Jenbare had.
“It’s not uncommon for people to say they are propelled to act by God, the devil or the CIA to do what they did?”
But Dr Nielssen said those symptoms were “quite rare”.
Although Jenbare denied jealousy was a factor in what happened, Dr Nielssen said it was “possible a fear of abandonment” played a role.
He said the “nexus” between the PTSD and the stabbing attack was Jenbare’s mental ability to cope with what was happening.
“It’s on his perception of events and self-control.”
Mr Lynch said Jenbare told police his wife had been armed with the knife and he had been defending himself.
“I want to suggest this was just a man who got angry through jealousy, he thought his wife was leaving him and stabbed her to death,” Mr Lynch said. Dr Nielssen said that it was possible they had been the “mechanisms”, but Jenbare did have very severe PTSD and depression, which were influencing his behaviour.
Last week, the trial heard the couple were arguing in their unit when Ms Asefaw was fatally stabbed.
In his opening address Mr Lynch said: “Shortly before midnight on April 8, 2014 during some sort of domestic dispute [and] in course of it he armed himself with a kitchen knife and he stabbed his wife seven or eight times. Some were fairly superficial, but others were anything but.”
The wounds were horrific.
“Among them were gaping wounds to the right side of her neck, a similar gaping wound to the left part of her face down to her neck and wounds to her back and body.”
The worst of them were 17cm long and cut 8cm “deep into the tissue of deceased”.
The trial continues.
Source Article from http://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/expert-witness-tells-nsw-supreme-court-murder-accused-solomon-jenbare-suffered-from-ptsd-and-depression/news-story/d853b39def8b2e7502fa7ff72d217844