Woman cleared of fatally stabbing boyfriend

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 13:03 20/08/2014
Juliette Anne Gerbes
STABBING ACCUSED: Juliette Anne Gerbes outside Napier court house.

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Hawke's Bay woman Juliette Gerbes has been cleared of fatally stabbing her boyfriend in 2012, with Christopher Jones' death being declared an accident.

It took them just over an hour to find Gerbes not guilty of manslaughter following a two-day trial at the High Court in Napier.

A previous jury failed to reach a decision earlier this year. 

Gerbes, 21, and Jones had a violent relationship, which reached its lowest point on October 13, 2012.

The couple started arguing and throwing punches at each other after Gerbes rebutted Jones' attempts to have sex with her, the court heard.

She slapped him when he said he would go down to the local bar and find a woman who would sleep with him.

Thinking he had gone to the bar, she got up to lock the doors. 

When she found Jones still in the house, she tried to push him outside.

But he pushed harder and backed her into a corner. 

She grabbed the closest thing she could find - a knife on the bench.

The knife sliced 15 centimetres into Jones' stomach, cutting two major vessels and causing excessive bleeding.

The 22-year-old died in Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital hours later.

The jury had to determine if Gerbes intentionally stabbed Jones or whether he accidentally impaled himself on the knife or pulled it into himself deliberately.

The crown said Gerbes plunged the knife into Jones in anger.

The angle and direction of the wound was "inconsistent" with Jones pulling the knife into himself.

Lawyer Eric Forster said Gerbes picked up the knife in self-defence because she feared further assault.

Justice Lowell Goddard said it was a tragic case.

"A young man has been killed and a young woman is on trial for his manslaughter."

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