Woman who shot blind husband guilty of murder

April 21, 2023 03:33 PM AEST | By AAPNEWS
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A woman who fatally shot her legally blind husband in the eye as he slept has been found guilty of murder.

Dale Vella shot Mark Anthony Vella with a double-barrelled shotgun as he slept at their Murrumbateman home in the NSW southern tablelands in August 2021.

The 54-year-old pleaded not guilty to murder after her guilty plea for manslaughter was rejected by the Crown.

Whether she shot and killed her husband was not in dispute.

Instead, the NSW Supreme Court jury was considering Vella's state of mind at the time and whether she was substantially mentally impaired to warrant a manslaughter offence.

Vella had to prove it was more likely than not her capacity to understand, control or judge her actions were substantially affected when she shot her husband, or be found guilty of murder, Justice Helen Wilson previously told the jury.

After retiring on Friday morning, the jury returned to the court on the same afternoon with a guilty plea.

Vella and her husband had been together for 23 years and suffered through a string of personal tragedies, including the death of a three-year-old daughter from brain cancer and Vella's own breast cancer diagnosis.

Four days before the shooting, Vella had been prescribed antidepressants, was sleeping all day and not eating much.

While Vella's barrister Greg Hoare said Mr Vella had never been physically violent with his wife, she had been the subject of coercive control.

He earlier argued the woman attempted to end her life as a result of her husband's manipulative behaviour but a mental impairment prompted her to shoot him instead.

Both members of the couple were licensed recreational shooters who owned a collection of guns.

She will be sentenced on July 5. 

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