Jail for manslaughter of husband

Lucille Scollay.
Lucille Scollay.
Christchurch woman Lucille Scollay has today been sentenced to six years in jail for the manslaughter of her husband.

The 46-year-old admitted stabbing her husband Guy, 48, through his heart during the early hours of February 10 last year with fatal consequences, but she denied meaning to kill him.

She was found not guilty of murder by a jury after a two-day trial at the High Court in Christchurch last month.

They instead found her guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Both families were relieved at the verdict.

Today, Justice Cameron Mander sentenced her to six years in jail with no minimum non-parole period.

The judge said it was apparent her actions were "borne out of despair".

She was conflicted, in that she was deeply unhappy, but she still loved her husband, and felt she could not leave him.

"This predicament led to this crisis which led to your killing of Mr Scollay," Justice Mander said.

He told her she had to live with what she had done, and the impact it had had on her family.

Crown prosecutor Catherine Butchard said given that Scollay told police she had decided to stab her husband while walking home up the family home driveway, there was a degree of premeditation. There was intentional harm, she said, which placed it at the higher end for manslaughter cases.

Her defence claimed she only wanted to somehow shake her deeply depressed 48-year-old husband out of his funk and make him realise just how "desperate" their lives had become.

The only issue for the jury was whether she had any murderous intent when she picked up the large kitchen knife and plunged it into his chest.

Mrs Scollay had become highly frustrated and dissatisfied with their lives, the court heard.

Her husband, a bright history major, became profoundly depressed shortly after the birth of their only child, son Louis Augustus, 20 years ago.

Mr Scollay was on anti-depressant medication and the methadone programme, barely left their house suffering undiagnosed agoraphobia, and was essentially bedridden with scabies. His only release was the smoking of cannabis.

His wife's family encouraged 'Lulu' to leave her beloved 'Guido' and "get her life back on track""

In the early hours of Sunday, February 10 last year, she returned home after a night out drinking with a man she had become close to, Greg Van Dyk.

Walking up the long Edgeware Rd drive, she decided to kill her husband, the Crown contested.

"She took her husband by his shoulder as he lay sleeping on his side, rolled him onto his back, got on top of him, straddling him as he was still half asleep, brought the knife up and stabbed him in chest, a deep wound that penetrated his heart," Crown prosecutor Mark Zarifeh said.

Today, defence counsel Rupert Glover said it was "almost superfluous"to say how much of a tragedy this was.

During his long career, this case was "quite unique in the way the whole thing unfolded".

It was not a wilful, deliberate act, he contested, and her immediate horror afterwards bore that out.

No punishment the court imposes could make up for what her, and her family, has lost, he said.

The High Court was a court of justice, Mr Glover said, but said it was also a court of mercy, and asked Justice Mander to take that into consideration.

Victim impact statements from her son Louis and Mr Scollay's father Chris said they bore no grudge.

Louis spoke of empathy for his mother after all the years, Mr Glover said: "Not just sympathy but empathy."

- Kurt Bayer of APNZ


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