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NSW Supreme Court played emotional video Murrumbateman woman made on day she allegedly fatally shot her husband

Dale Vella is facing trial for allegedly fatally shooting her husband as he slept in 2021. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas))

Lawyers for a woman accused of shooting her husband dead at their Murrumbateman home have urged the jury to find her not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter instead.

WARNING: This story contains content that may be distressing to some readers.

Dale Vella, 54, is accused of shooting her husband Mark Vella dead as he slept in August 2021.

Mr Vella was shot through the eye at close range.

Mrs Vella told the court she had been in despair and was planning to take her own life.

She said she has no memory of the shooting, and only remembered being led out in handcuffs and hearing her daughter say 'Mummy'.

During her evidence Mrs Vella detailed a difficult marriage, with frequent verbal abuse.

The couple had lost a daughter to brain cancer when she was only three years old, and Mrs Vella later developed breast cancer.

She also said the couple had lived under financial stress for all of their marriage.

The court heard Mr Vella had sight problems and had required help to dress in the morning, and had to be driven to work each day.

Prosecutor urges jury to put aside feelings of sympathy

The court was shown a video she made for her children the morning before the death, saying she could no longer cope.

"Sorry guys, I just can't live with this any more."

"I've let him emotionally abuse you … I've tried to leave … he does not care about anyone else."

Prosecutor Kate Ratcliffe told the jury they should be wary of letting sympathy affect their verdict.

"She may have felt that her husband was domineering [and] demanding." Ms Ratcliffe said.

But she said that didn't mean Mrs Vella didn't intend to kill her husband.

"The crown case is that the evidence would not satisfy you that she had a mental health impairment that substantially impaired [her judgement of right or wrong] or control [over] herself."

Ms Ratcliffe reminded the jury that she had said to her daughter, "he can't hurt us any more."

She suggested Mrs Vella may have regretted it later but had shot him to remove him from the family.

'Was it murder? That's the question for you'

Mrs Vella's lawyer Greg Hoare rejected the idea she knew what she was doing.

"She woke up that morning, she made a suicide video," he said.

"She loaded a gun and put it beside the bed."

Mrs Vella had also done internet searches which included, "where is the best place to shoot yourself."

He pointed to the emotion in the video, which was played to the court.

"If that's a deception it's worth an Academy Award," Mr Hoare said.

He said attempts by the prosecution to cast doubt on Mrs Vella's account of her life which included taking aim at her claims of financial hardship were rubbish.

"This is a woman who says to you I must pay a penalty … must pay a price for what I have done," Mr Hoare said.

"Yes she took a life, yes she took the life of her children's father. Was it murder? That's the question for you."

He cited two doctor's reports indicating she was experiencing mental health issues, and was receiving treatment.

"I am asking you to return a verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter," Mr Hoare said.

Justice Helen Wilson told the jury it does not need to decide whether Mr Vella was a good husband, but whether Mrs Vella knew her actions were wrong and was able to control herself.

She said the jury should decide whether Mrs Vella had a mental health impairment which was so significant she should have her charge of murder downgraded to manslaughter.

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