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Refugee who stabbed wife had PTSD: court

AAP logoAAP 29/08/2016 By Margaret Scheikowski

A refugee who was tortured in his native Ethiopia was suffering from mental conditions when he repeatedly stabbed his wife in their Sydney flat, a jury has been told.

Psychiatrist Olav Nielssen, a defence witness, said Solomon Hailu Jenbare suffered PTSD and depression, conditions that amounted to the partial defence of substantial impairment.

Jenbare, 52, had pleaded not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court to murdering Wubanchi Asfaw, 25, in April 2014, with the crown rejecting his guilty plea to the less serious offence of manslaughter.

Dr Nielssen said Jenbare told him that on the night of the stabbing his wife rang her nephew in Ethiopia, telling Jenbare she was divorcing him.

She discussed marrying her nephew so he could move to Australia, but Jenbare said he was a Christian and would not do that because it would involve a false declaration.

Jenbare said he did not suspect his wife was having an affair with her nephew and denied being upset about them, but said he was angry about her trying to arrange a false marriage.

He told the psychiatrist he was preparing food and still had the kitchen knife in his hand when he went into the bedroom where his wife was on the phone.

Jenbare said he did not remember everything that happened, but his wife jumped at him as if to take the knife and he tried to protect himself because he has deformed hands as a result of his torture.

As well as having physical disabilities in his hands, leprosy has left him with feet deformities, the court heard.

Crown prosecutor Paul Lynch said Jenbare told police his wife had been armed with the knife and he had been defending himself.

"I want to suggest this was just a man who got angry through jealousy, he thought his wife was leaving him and stabbed her to death," Mr Lynch said.

Dr Nielssen said they may well have been the "mechanisms", but Jenbare did have very severe PTSD and depression, underlying conditions influencing his behaviour.

The trial is continuing.

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