A woman has been sentenced to jail for five years and three
months for the Valentine's Day killing of her partner by
stabbing him in the neck with a knife.
Patricia Erica Paton, 30, appeared for sentencing in the High
Court in Gisborne after a jury found her not guilty of
murdering Lawrence Teepa-Moon, 33, at their Elgin suburb home
but convicted her of his manslaughter.
The couple, who have children, had a violent 10-year
After a day of partying, excessive drinking and arguing last
February 14, the couple fought in the hallway before Paton
went to the kitchen and stabbed Mr Moon in the neck with a
The knife caused injuries a pathologist described as
Justice Dobson established a starting point for sentencing of
five years and six months. He reduced that by three months
because Paton was a victim of long-term domestic violence.
Paton's inability to appreciate the consequences of her
actions with the knife had been dulled by her exposure to
domestic violence, he said.
Justice Dobson said he noted the acceptance of violence in
their relationship as expressed by witnesses.
One witness said she saw Paton "all bruised up"while another
spoke of her "getting the bash" as if such happenings
Paton preferred to live in a violent relationship rather than
to live without him.
That attitude was seriously wrong and impacted on their
Some might say Mr Teepa-Moon got what he deserved but that
was not the case, the judge said.
Paton had taken the law into her own hands.
Mr Teepa-Moon's mother stated Paton was often the aggressor
in the relationship.
Justice Dobson said he accepted the jury's decision, inherent
in their verdict, that Paton had not acted in self-defence
and used a disproportionate amount of violence.
The jury did not find Paton had murderous intent. But they
rejected her claim that Mr Teepa-Moon was holding her
knife-holding hand as the knife entered his neck.
Paton's offence was only "a very short way from murder", he
She had issues with alcohol since her youth, and was
considered to be at risk of re-offending and of causing harm
Justice Dobson said Paton appeared to be remorseful about her
predicament instead of "facing up" and accepting her
Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker said Paton was angry on the
night of Mr Teepa-Moon's death and wrongly believed he was
sexually interested in another woman.
Paton grabbed two knifes, dropped one, and stabbed Mr
Teepa-Moon with the other in the presence of other people.
Mr Teepa-Moon's family still suffered hurt and pain.
Counsel David Sharp said Paton felt a great sense of loss.
She acknowledged Mr Teepa-Moon's family was grief-stricken
and appreciated them looking after her children.
Their relationship had moments of happiness but also the
"spectre of domestic violence".
Their type of dysfunctional relationship was all too common,
said Mr Sharp.