A woman accused of killing the father of her two children on Mother’s Day last year has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the Northern Territory Supreme Court.
The incident occurred in the apartment of Katherine woman Gillian Campion’s ex-boyfriend, 43-year-old Nicholas Lena, after a night of heavy drinking.
The court heard Mr Lena had been drinking with friends at a house in Katherine earlier that evening, when Campion, 40, arrived at the party “extremely intoxicated”.
She then began yelling at him, in what witnesses described as “jealous” and “drunken” behaviour.
A person who attended the party told the court Campion had clenched her fist saying she would kill Mr Lena, and was asked to leave the party due to her drunkenness.
Later that evening, in circumstances being disputed by the defence and prosecution, Campion accompanied her ex-partner back to his apartment.
The court was told that shortly after arriving at Mr Lena’s apartment, she grabbed a black-handled kitchen knife and stabbed him in the chest twice, killing him “within minutes”.
Campion then called triple-0, the court heard, and exclaimed “my husband”, before calling back soon after and telling the operator “I killed my husband”.
When emergency services arrived, Campion was seen hugging Mr Lena and was covered in blood.
She was initially charged with murder, however that charge was altered to manslaughter after it was revealed she remembered nothing of the crime and had recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.354.
‘I am lost without him’: Campion
In court today, the prosecution read out a victim impact statement from Mr Lena’s parents, who had travelled from Queensland for the hearing.
The court heard losing their eldest son had been “the hardest thing that had ever happened to them”, and that on the day of Mr Lena’s death they were looking forward to a Mother’s Day call from their son and their two granddaughters.
Instead, they received the “devastating” news.
“We will never forgive and forget,” their statement read.
The prosecution told the court Campion had a “concerning criminal history” which included a string of domestic violence BOOKr.VIP offences, including an incident where she punched Mr Lena in the face several times and, in a separate incident, stabbed her ex-partner.
“There is no circumstance in the evening lead-up to this offence than can explain this happening,” the prosecution said.
“This court sees this time and time again, yet the message about domestic violence doesn’t seem to be getting out there. The two children are now facing a life without their father and their mother for a significant period.”
Campion’s defence lawyers argued that some of her criminal history had been “mischaracterised”, and that much of the domestic violence in the relationship was mutual.
The court heard she “accepted her actions” and felt remorse and sorrow.
Through her counsel, Campion said she was “lost without him [Mr Lena]”, and she felt “guilty every day and wants to say sorry to her children”.
Presiding Justice Judith Kelly said Campion, who the court heard was a well-educated person from a good family, was clearly intelligent but “had fallen prey to alcoholism”, describing the incident as “tragic”.
“This is just such a waste of two lives really,” she said.
Campion will be sentenced on April 19.
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