‘Frightened, fatigued’ mother of three who fatally stabbed violent cousin jailed for five years — (Sydney Morning Herald)

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Sydney Morning Herald

Date July 30, 2015

Mark Russell, Court Reporter for The Age

Woman admits stabbing cousin.   Ringwood mother acted in self-defence, court told

A frightened and fatigued mother of three who fatally stabbed her drunk, violent cousin has been jailed for five years.

Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry said Lisa Marie Clark, 40, claimed to be horrified and hysterical after killing her cousin, who she said had been like a brother to her.

Justice Lasry said Clark, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, told a psychologist she had been sexually abused by her grandfather from the age of about six or seven to when she was 12 and had drug and alcohol problems after her mother committed suicide when she was 14.

“I do accept that at the time of the offence, apart from being fatigued, you were depressed and your functioning was affected by your mental state,” the judge told Clark when jailing her on Thursday for five years with a non-parole period of three years.

“You were certainly wary and frightened of the deceased man,” he said.

“Apart from your mental state, it is not surprising that someone who had suffered the emotional turmoil that you have in the early stages of life finds coping with stressful situations difficult.”

Clark had been bathing her 10-month-old daughter when her first cousin, Rodney Clark, 44, arrived at her Ringwood home, drinking a can of bourbon and cola on June 14, 2014.

Mr Clark attacked Ms Clark’s partner and her 21-year-old son after an argument, before she threatened him with a kitchen knife and ordered him to leave.

When Mr Clark was ushered out the front door, Ms Clark stabbed him once in the chest before he collapsed on the porch.

She left the knife embedded in Mr Clark’s chest as he cried out: “You’re f—ked Lisa, you’re f—ed Lisa.”

Ms Clark later told police she never intended to kill her cousin and talked about how exhausted she had been because of the baby. She said she had not eaten for a day, and failed to take her antidepressant medication because of extreme tiredness.

“I accept that it is tragic for you as it is tragic for the loss of your first cousin,” Justice Lasry said.

“The deceased had been violent towards you on previous occasions and you were not well equipped to handle the emotional aggression you encountered,” he said.

“You are remorseful, you pleaded guilty, and you have good prospects for a life beyond this case … I think you are someone deserving of an opportunity.”

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