A woman who stabbed her husband to death has avoided the usual sentence of life imprisonment.
Rachel Rihia, 47, stabbed her husband Joseph Rihia to death on April 13, 2010, at her home on Mays Rd, Onehunga.
She was sentenced yesterday in the High Court at Auckland after pleading guilty to murder shortly before her trial.
Justice Kit Toogood decided it would be manifestly unjust to impose the usual sentence of life imprisonment and jailed her for 10 years with no minimum period of imprisonment.
The court was told the Rihias had a relationship plagued by alcohol and violence.
Police had attended 36 incidents in the previous 11 years at their house - 23 of which involved alcohol.
Justice Toogood said on three of the occasions, Mrs Rihia was the aggressor, including one time where she had beaten her husband over the head with a table leg.
On the day of the murder the couple had one of their children taken away from them by Child Youth and Family.
Later that afternoon, after they had been drinking heavily with two others, an upset Mrs Rihia attacked her husband for causing the loss of her child.
She threw a stereo speaker at him, hitting him in the head.
Family carried Mr Rihia onto the couch in the lounge.
"While he was lying on the couch, you picked up two knives from the kitchen, holding one in each hand," the judge said.
"You walked over to Mr Rihia and stabbed him once in the chest with the knife you were holding in your left hand. The knife pierced Mr Rihia's heart."
The judge said it was important to note Mr Rihia had not threatened his wife in any way.
Psychologists' reports concluded that Mrs Rihia had "complex post-traumatic stress disorder" related to the violence of her relationship.
He said while intoxication was a factor, it was "the loss of your child and the impaired ability to deal with that event which, in my view, was the key factor in the over-reaction which led to Mr Rihia's tragic death".
Coupled with her personality disorders, it would have been manifestly unjust to impose a life sentence, the judge said.
"I am satisfied in your case also that you would not have stabbed Mr Rihia to death had it not been for the significant mental impairment you suffered through years of alcohol abuse and physical abuse most recently, until you parted with him, at the hands of Mr Rihia himself."
The death split the family and the bad feeling was evident in court.
One woman called out as Rihia was led away to prison: "You'll come out of there in a f..... coffin you bitch."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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