Cleaner denies killing with murderous intent

05:01, Feb 11 2014
Lucille Sarah Scollay
MURDER CHARGE: Lucille Sarah Scollay in the dock at the High Court in Christchurch.

Upset about her husband's mental health issues and the state of their relationship, Lucille Sarah Scollay took a knife from the kitchen and stabbed her husband through the heart as he slept.

Scollay, 45, wept in court as the Crown outlined the case against her in a murder trial which is expected to last just three days in the High Court at Christchurch.

The Crown will call evidence from 19 witnesses before Justice Cameron Mander and a jury.

Lucille Sarah Scollay
TEARFUL: Scollay allegedly grew frustrated with her "obviously quite brilliant husband".

Lucille denies the charge of murdering Guy Christian Scollay, 48, who was stabbed to death at the house the couple shared in Edgeware Rd early on February 10, 2013.

The Scollays' 20-year-old son, Louis Scollay, told of being woken up hearing his mother screaming, and saying, "What have I done?"

She came into his room and said she had stabbed his father. She put pressure on the chest wound with a towel while Louis called 111.


Louis Scollay
TRIED TO SAVE FATHER: Louis Scollay, pictured in Feburary 2013, called 111 after the fatal stabbing.

Lucille continued trying to stop the bleeding, and said she was sorry.

She told her husband: "If you are going to do one thing in your life, come out of this alive."

Louis said his father was saying: "It's all right. Everything's OK."

Lucille Sarah Scollay
ON TRIAL: Lucille Sarah Scollay, 45, denies a charge of murder.

He kept trying to keep his father alive, telling him to hold on, but he was dying quickly.

Police and ambulance then arrived and took over, and told him soon after that his father had died.

He said his parents' relationship was "riddled with disappointment".

They suffered from depression and anxiety and had both been very unmotivated.

His father was fearful of outdoor spaces, and would seldom go anywhere. His mother often stayed in bed until 3pm.

Both had been on the methadone programme and his father was on the programme when he died.

His father also used to sometimes smoke cannabis.

There was a strong bond between the parents and they had a loving relationship though they were dysfunctional on a day-to-day level. His mother had never threatened to leave. What she wanted most was to have a normal life with her husband.

Crown prosecutor Mark Zarifeh said the stabbing arose from Lucille's "disappointment, dissatisfaction, and frustration with her husband and his problems, and with their relationship".

He said the couple had been married for more than 20 years. For some considerable years the relationship had not been good.

Both had problems with morphine addiction and had been on the methadone programme. Both suffered from depression and took medication. Guy suffered from anxiety attacks and rarely left the house.

He had an honours degree in history but his health issues had overtaken any prospects he had. He did not really have any social life outside the house, although his wife and son would try to encourage him to go out.

Zarifeh told the trial that Lucille had recently met and rekindled a relationship with a man she had an affair with about 10 years before, when they worked together at a needle exchange.

The man gave evidence of meeting Lucille on the evening of February 9, 2013, watching cricket, drinking beers, and visiting a bar.

When he dropped her off at her home she became distraught and emotional and was crying.

"It all came gushing out," he said.

Lucille said she loved Guy but she was unhappy with him because he seemed to be getting very difficult in terms of understanding him or living with him.

"She felt she had wasted her life and could not see things getting any better."

The man said he wanted to comfort her, and told her to "hang in there" because things would work out. He told her to be strong, and not do anything rash.

She had recovered some composure when they parted and she walked up the driveway to her house.

Lucille told police that she decided to stab her husband as she walked up the driveway to the house.

She took a knife from the kitchen, rolled her sleeping husband onto his back in his bed, and then straddled him and stabbed him in the chest.

She immediately called for help from their son, and the ambulance was called, but the medics were unable to revive Guy.

The Crown would say that at the time of the stabbing, Lucille had murderous intent. If the Crown could prove that, it was murder, but if not it was manslaughter.

It was also murder if she meant to cause bodily injury, knowing that it was likely to cause death, and she was reckless whether death occurred.

Zarifeh said Lucille had decided she needed to do something about the situation with her husband. She told police that she loved him, but could not help him, and could not leave him.

She said: "Otherwise we were going to be stuck like that forever. I didn't think I would do it, but I did."

Defence counsel Rupert Glover said Lucille had not intended to kill her husband, but her actions had been an attempt to make him listen to her "to try to change their desperate, desperate lives".

Her actions had been building up over 20 years, watching her obviously quite brilliant husband deteriorate to the point where he would spend all day in bed, often drugged to the point where he could not even make sense.

"What really happened is that the pressures building up over a period of 20 years got to the point where she simply broke," said Glover.

He said the only possible verdicts were either guilty of murder, or not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Lucille accepted without reservation that her actions resulted in the death of her husband.

What was really on trial was the state of her mind at the time.

The Press