A South Australian woman who ran down and killed her partner has been jailed for at least four-and-a-half years, after a judge ruled that years of domestic violence and abuse played a role in his death.
Noelene Kenny, 42, pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the death of her partner Edward John Baker in February last year.
In sentencing, Judge Gordon Barrett said Mr Baker had convinced Kenny to join him and another man on a journey to buy alcohol in the lead-up to his death.“You did not want to go but your husband insisted that you come,” he said on Monday.
They travelled from their home at Indulkana, a dry community in the APY Lands, more than two hours to a roadhouse at Erldunda, across the Northern Territory border.
They bought beer and scotch and had been drinking before Kenny and Mr Baker got into an argument on the journey home.
The judge said Kenny was tugging her husband’s hair, before he pulled a knife on her and threatened her.
The other man, who was driving, grabbed the knife from Mr Baker’s hand and simultaneously ran into a kangaroo.
The two men got out of the car, before Kenny got into the driver’s side and drove at the men, who were sitting on an embankment on the side of the road.
“It appears from the pathologist’s report that it is likely that your husband fell over,” Judge Barrett said.
“You drove over him.”
Mr Baker died at the scene, however the prosecution accepted his death was unintentional.
“As plainly dangerous as your driving was, it may well be that in the dark you did not see that … your husband had fallen over,” the judge told Kenny.
Judge Barrett took into account evidence about the couple’s relationship in the lead-up to Mr Baker’s death.
“It is obvious that there was, between the two of you, a lot of violence,” he said.
He said records show that Kenny had reported abuse by her husband on “many occasions” between 2008 and 2015.
Mr Baker exerted coercive control over her in ways including verbal abuse, intimidation, emotional abuse and influencing service providers.
“This incident was in the context of over 20 years of violence and abuse,” he said.
“In my view, it is extremely unlikely that you would have committed this offence if you had not experienced the violence and abuse which you have experienced over 20 years.”
Judge Barrett sentenced Kenny to six years and five months, with a non-parole period of four years and six months.
Both sentences were backdated to February 2019, when she was taken into custody.
On Kenny’s release, she will be disqualified from holding a driver’s licence for 12 years.