Verdict caps despair for Scollay
Lucille Sarah Scollay wept in court - the epitome of loneliness, depression and grief - as her murder trial proceeded.
Life had overtaken her slowly, over years, until she simply came home one night and stabbed to death her husband of 20 years, Guy Christian Scollay.
She sat behind her defence counsel in court, weeping often.
Sometimes she seemed to be covering her ears rather than hearing what was going on.
She was dysfunctional in her relationship with her phobic, anxiety-ridden husband.
But she was not alone at court.
Family and friends supported her at a trial where she was not hoping for much. She accepted there could be only two verdicts: murder or manslaughter. There was never any talk of an acquittal.
After about three hours, the jury delivered its manslaughter verdict yesterday in the High Court in Christchurch. The trial had established a good deal of sympathy for her situation - where a marriage that had begun with hope and promise with a husband who had an honours degree in history deteriorated into drug addiction and depression.
Scollay, 48 when he died, had become a recluse in a home he shared with his wife and their 19-year-old son Louis.
It was no kind of life for the couple. Louis Scollay gave evidence of both parents being "pretty unmotivated". They were in bed a lot.
Lucille Scollay never denied stabbing Guy Scollay with a kitchen knife that penetrated his heart after she returned home from a night out drinking and talking with a friend.
She told police she had not wanted to kill her husband but to make him listen and to change their lives because they were both miserable.
She said: "I didn't want to hurt him. I wanted him to get better." That may have been a forlorn hope. He had barely left the house in years. He spent much of his time drugged or on methadone, sometimes smoking cannabis, and reading. Reading was his escape, Louis Scollay said.
Lucille Scollay was on anti-depressants and she had been on the methadone programme herself for a time. She said she could not bring herself to leave her husband.
She loved him. She described him to police as "a bit nutty and frustrating". "He used to be so brilliant. He was a historian.
"He had a future but it never happened." She had been crushed by the loneliness of her own life.
Scollay was remanded in custody for sentence on March 13.