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NSW woman killed with kitchen knife: court

AAP logoAAP 22/08/2016 By Daniel McCulloch

Soon after stabbing his young wife to death, a Sydney man approached police officers with his hands in the air and said words to the effect "I'm the man you're looking for", a court has heard.

Solomon Hailu Jenbare and his wife Wubanchi Asfaw were arguing inside their Auburn unit shortly before midnight on April 8, 2014, when he grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed her up to eight times.

Jenbare, now aged 52, pleaded not guilty to the 25-year-old's murder on the first day of his NSW Supreme Court trial on Monday. Instead, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter based on the partial defence of "substantial impairment".

Jurors were told Jenbare's lawyers would argue he was suffering PTSD, depression and a possible psychotic illness after a history of torture in his native Ethiopia which significantly impaired his self-control and ability to judge right from wrong.

Jenbare waged the fatal stabbing attack after the couple fought over plans to bring Ms Asfaw's nephew to Australia by arranging a fake marriage, the court heard.

Crown prosecutor Paul Lynch said some of the blows were up to 17cm long and others up to 7cm deep, leaving gaping wounds to Ms Asfaw's face and neck and other injuries to her back.

Ms Asfaw fled the Auburn apartment after the attack, screaming for help before collapsing outside a bakery about 60m away.

The 25-year-old was rushed to hospital where she later died.

Mr Lynch said the Crown did not dispute Jenbare's medical history but rejected his plea of guilty to manslaughter.

"He had an intention to either kill her or cause really serious injury and those injuries caused her death," Mr Lynch said.

The court heard Jenbare left the Auburn unit soon after the attack, before returning and approaching highway patrol officers who were at the scene to block traffic.

Senior Constable Michael Johnson was one of those officers, telling jurors Jenbare said to him words along the lines of "I'm the man you're looking for".

Another officer smelled alcohol on the accused's breath, with the court told Jenbare had consumed two beers and two nips of gin.

In a video captured by a police car camera, Jenbare told officers his wife originally had the knife.

However, jurors were told this was not a position he maintained.

Defence lawyer Belinda Rigg SC said there was no dispute her client caused Ms Asfaw's death.

"The real issue that is raised on his behalf is substantial impairment," Ms Rigg told the court.

Ms Rigg said four medical professionals would give evidence during the trial that Jenbare had "abnormalities of mind".

The trial continues.

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.

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