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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Tim Piccione

'Your mum's shot your dad': Triple zero call details killing aftermath

The crime scene established in August 2021 after Dale Vella (inset) shot her husband. Pictures by Elesa Kurtz / Facebook

An emotional triple zero call has detailed the moments following a Murrumbateman woman fatally shooting her sleeping husband.

The NSW Supreme Court heard on Wednesday from two witnesses present in the home, north of Canberra, on the night of the August 9, 2021, incident.

"Your mum's shot your dad," David Borg, a long-time friend of the deceased man, was heard saying on the recorded emergency services call.

The jury heard the call in question on the second day of a trial for Dale Lee Vella, who is accused of murdering her husband of 23 years, Mark Vella, by shooting him in the head as he slept in their home.

Vella, aged in her 50s, has pleaded not guilty to murder but indicated she would have pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter if it was laid.

Mr Borg, who made the emergency call, had been friends with Mr Vella for "40-odd years".

The 53-year-old man had worked for the Vella family's air conditioning business since 2019, and he lodged at their Murrumbateman property two or three nights a week.

He was sleeping in a room on the opposite side of the rural NSW home on the night of the shooting, the sound of which woke him up about 10pm.

"Tell me exactly what happened," the triple zero operator asked Mr Borg.

"A man has been shot in the head," he replied.

"Who shot the patient?" the operator asked.

"I think his wife," Mr Borg responded.

The operator assured Mr Borg help was on the way and asked if he could go into the bedroom where the deceased was lying to check on him.

"I don't think I can go in there," Mr Borg said.

The phone was soon after "snatched" by the couple's daughter, Georgia, who the court heard sobbing on the call.

In a state of shock, the then-22-year-old was heard repeatedly saying: "Oh my god."

The court heard the daughter telling the operator she believed her father was still breathing, as well as briefly describing his physical state.

"I can't touch him," she said.

The recording then detailed a conversation between the two on the whereabouts of the shotgun used to kill Mr Vella.

"Is the gun near your mother?" the operator asked.

"In the same room, yes. Should I move it?" the daughter responded.

Both witnesses also spoke on Wednesday about their experience seeing the deceased man's temper, both with his wife and professionally.

"He was pretty demanding," Mr Borg said.

"He liked to get things his way."

During opening addresses on Tuesday, defence barrister Greg Hoare alleged the accused had for many years been subject to "coercive control" perpetrated by her husband.

Mr Vella's daughter said on Wednesday she had on several occasions seen her father yell at her mother during arguments, most commonly about money troubles.

The family business was reportedly in $250,000 of debt prior to the shooting.

"He wasn't an easy man to live with," the daughter said.

"He would get angry and would verbalise how he felt."

Both witnesses said they had never seen or heard of Mr Vella being physically violent with the accused or anyone else.

Vella has admitted killing her husband but is claiming mental impairment on the night of the shooting, which her barrister will argue was substantial enough to reduce the charge to manslaughter.

Her trial is set to continue on Thursday.

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