Wife killer avoids jail

A NSW butcher who beat his wife's head with a hammer and stabbed her in the chest has been found not guilty of murder on the grounds of mental illness.

Paul William Mundy, 56, jumped off a bridge at Canberra after he killed his wife, Michele Ann Mundy, in the apartment they shared above his butcher shop at Cowra on February 2 last year.

She suffered severe head injuries and a knife was found embedded in her chest, with a hammer located nearby.

Mundy, who was discovered floating in the Lachlan River later that day, told police he had jumped from the bridge because he "injured Michele".

In a judge-only trial in the Supreme Court in Sydney last week, the court heard Mundy suffered from delusions that his wife was having affairs and "orgies" in his home.

"The evidence of these beliefs and these accusations, and the lack of any basis for such beliefs, is overwhelming," Justice Stephen Rothman said in his judgment handed down last Thursday.

Justice Rothman accepted Mundy suffers from longstanding psychiatric illnesses, including a major depressive disorder and a delusional disorder.

The court heard Mundy had stopped taking his medication some time before the killing.

"Once more, the evidence before the court makes clear that better treatment of the mentally ill is an essential element in dealing with the tragic circumstances that occurred on this occasion," Justice Rothman said.

"The family of the deceased, who are mostly also family of the accused, have suffered a huge loss that cannot be replaced."

Justice Rothman found Mundy not guilty of murder on the grounds of mental illness and ordered that he be detained in a mental health facility until released "by due process of law".

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