A Lower Hutt woman has been found not guilty of killing her Mongrel Mob member partner.
A jury of seven women and five men delivered their verdict in the High Court in Wellington just after 5pm in the case of mother-of-four, Jessica Lee Keefe, 30.
She cried into her hands after the jury delivered its unanimous verdict of not guilty of murder and a majority verdict of not guilty of manslaughter.
She had pleaded not guilty to murdering Sean Verma, 30, at Petone on January 29.
Keefe did not give evidence in court but she told police that she could not remember how the knife went into the centre of Verma's chest. She said he had been hitting her.
Neighbours who could see into the flat through its tall windows, said they saw Keefe fighting back. She was described as swinging something at Verma and later it was discovered a 60-inch television screen in the flat was cracked in two places.
She said she had picked up the knife so he would leave her alone. Instead he said: "Just ... do it."
Keefe said what happened next was a blank. She could not remember if she stabbed him or he lunged at her. She did not think she hurt him.
But the Crown said she had put the knife back in the drawer and dropped another similar knife in the car park outside, then pretended she did not know what happened.
During a trial that began last week the jury heard that Keefe and Verma had a history of fights, especially after drinking.
Keefe called police to five incidents and hospital staff reported another as a suspected assault when Keefe and Verma turned up seeking treatment for her ongoing headaches.
She told police she had tripped over furniture during an argument with her sister and a television had fallen on her head, but to hospital staff she said the argument had been with Verma.
From another of the incidents, Verma pleaded guilty to assaulting Keefe and he was convicted and discharged. She said she got a knife to keep him away after he punched her but he said he punched her because she had held a knife to him.
The couple were not supposed to be living together while he was serving a sentence of home detention.
Keefe and the children were supposed to be living two doors away with Verma's parents.
A probation officer said that shortly before Verma died he had volunteered to start a domestic violence counselling course.
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