Woman accused of stabbing mobster

Last updated 12:36 09/09/2013
Jessica Lee Keefe
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
ON TRIAL: Jessica Lee Keefe.

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The stormy relationship between a Mongrel Mob member and his partner ended on a night in January when Jessica Lee Keefe is accused of fatally stabbing Sean Verma in the chest.

The defence says Jessica Keefe was a battered woman who acted in self defence.

If she was lucky Keefe, 30, might go for up to two months without being beaten, her lawyer Donald Stevens, QC, said. But on average she was beaten once a fortnight.

The Crown agrees domestic violence was a part of the couple's relationship. Prosecutor Emma Light told a jury in the High Court at Wellington today that it would hear evidence of the six times police had been called to domestic disputes at the couple's Petone, Lower Hutt, flat.

But on January 29 this year Sean Verma was serving a sentence of home detention and could not leave the flat.

Witnesses heard him telling Keefe to "F*** off".

Verma was seen trying to drag her out of the flat.

The Crown alleges Keefe took a knife and stabbed Verma in the centre of his chest out of anger, not self defence, Light said.

Keefe then returned the knife to a drawer and went back to three of her four children who were waiting in her car nearby.

Verma made it outside the flat where he told a friend and neighbour, "She stabbed me, dog."

Keefe has pleaded not guilty of murder. Her trial is expected to last up to three weeks.

Light said the Tuesday Verma died the couple had been arguing outside the flat and Verma punched her before she drove away.

Keefe began drinking and had an argument with a woman at one of the houses she visited.

One of her children lived with their father and she had a dispute with the father about not returning the child to his care. She then had an argument with Verma.

She was later to tell police that she was not sure if she stabbed him or he had lunged at her while she held the knife.

Light said Keefe could have left when Verma told her to, but instead she continued the fight she had started.

Stevens said it was a case about domestic violence and self defence, not murder.

Verma had been drinking bourbon for up to 10 hours before he attacked Keefe.

She tried to flee but could not and as a desperate last resort she grabbed a knife in self defence.

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- The Dominion Post

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