A pregnant mother-of-four was killed after she was allegedly stabbed 49 times and beaten with a metal rod, a Sydney court has heard.
Kirralee Paepaerei, 37, and her unborn 7-month-old child were killed in an alleged brutal stabbing murder at her western Sydney home in Mount Druitt in 2015. She was stabbed 28 times in the face, including incisions into her jugular arteries, and 21 times in the chest, reported ABC, citing the crown prosecutor.
Her partner, Joshua Scott Homann, 40, went on trial on Wednesday, Feb. 28, after being accused of killing Paepaerei. Homann pleaded not guilty to the murder.
Crown prosecutor Sean Hughes told the NSW Supreme Court that Paepaerei died from excessive blunt force trauma and multiple stab wounds, reported the news broadcaster. The couple’s unborn child also did not survive.
“Ms. Paepaerei’s nose and part of her jaw were fractured, there were at least, in the neck alone, 28 incision and stab wounds [and] 21 stab wounds on the chest,” Hughes told the court, reported ABC.
On the night of the alleged attack, two young relatives arrived home and saw Homann at the top of the stairs yelling profanities before hearing loud banging coming from upstairs followed by the sound of breaking glass, according to Hughes.
They then heard an alarm sounding from the accused’s black Holden Commodore and then saw the vehicle reversing at speed from the driveway.
One of the relatives then rushed upstairs and found Paepaerei’s lifeless body and raced downstairs to call emergency services.
During a search, police found a 15-centimetre bloodstained knife on her mattress and a large metal rod with “blood spatter on the wall,” reported the news broadcaster
— ABC Sydney (@abcsydney) February 28, 2018
According to the Crown case, Homann had murdered Paepaerei then crashed through an upstairs window and fled the scene.
Hughes added that Homann then drove to the police station, leaned over the counter, and shouted to police officers that someone had come into his home and tried to stab him.
“He said, ‘Someone broke into my house and tried to stab me, my partner is home, you need to make sure she is OK, please help my partner who is still at home, I’m worried about her,'” Hughes told the court, reported ABC.
“[But] there was no evidence found consistent with there being an intruder — the deceased died at the hands of the accused and the accused alone,” Hughes said.
Defence Claims Mental Illness a Factor
Defence barrister Peter Lange told the jury in an opening address that Homann “will not be suggesting that he is not responsible, that he did not cause the death of Ms. Paepaerei.”
“What is at issue is what was going on in the mind of Mr. Homann that night and what was operating on his mind that night,” Lange said.
Lange said his client was exhibiting “erratic behaviour” on the day of the alleged attack and the trial would hear evidence from psychiatrists of other incidents involving Homann, reported Fairfax.
He said that even though methamphetamine was found in Homann’s system, this case was not about domestic violence or drug use.
The court heard that both Homann and Paepaerei were methamphetamine users — also known as the drug “ice” — during their two years de facto relationship, but Paepaerei had stopped using the drug in anticipation of the birth of her child, reported Newscorp.
“What this case is ultimately about is the power of mental illness and I would ask you to keep an open mind and listen to the evidence,” Lange told the Jury.
The trial is expected to run for more than a fortnight.