Vic murder evidence 'exaggerated': defence

Jacqueline Le

Lawyers for a Melbourne man on trial for brutally murdering his ex-wife say evidence from the couple's children about his repeated death threats are "exaggerated allegations".

Fernando Paulino, 55, is accused of murdering his 49-year-old former wife Teresa Mancuso in 2013.

He has pleaded not guilty to her murder, and his month-long trial before the Victorian Supreme Court is in its final stages.

Various witnesses, including the couple's two sons, have given evidence about how Paulino repeatedly threatened Ms Mancuso's life, stalked her, insulted her and made nuisance phone calls in the lead-up to her death.

But the defence says their evidence cannot be trusted.

"There is evidence of false and exaggerated allegations against this man," defence barrister Dermot Dann QC told the jury in his closing address on Thursday.

"If this man really was threatening to kill their mother in a serious and angry and aggressive way ... do you really think they would choose to stay living with this man?

"It just makes no sense. It doesn't add up."

Ms Mancuso was stabbed at least 16 times in the chest, abdomen and back, and suffered blunt force trauma to the head in the garage of her elderly parents' Reservoir home in 2013.

The prosecution alleges Paulino's hatred for his ex-wife and anger over family court proceedings to split the funds from the sale of their matrimonial home and two factories drove him to murder her.

But the defence says Paulino's frustration has been exaggerated at trial.

"Yes, he expressed frustration at Teresa, that she was the cause of that situation," Mr Dann told the jury on Thursday.

"He behaved poorly in a number of areas but that doesn't make him a murderer."

Mr Dann also said there was no evidence to support the prosecution's allegation that Paulino would have benefited financially from his ex-wife's death.

"This is where we say this financial motive issue just ran out of steam, petered out, was unrealistic from the start," he said.

Paulino has acknowledged he behaved poorly following the breakdown of his marriage, but the defence said there were "massive gaps' in the prosecution's allegations.

In his closing address, Andrew Tinney SC acknowledged there was no forensic evidence linking Paulino to his ex-wife's murder.

"The absence of any forensic evidence linking him to the crime is completely unsurprising," he told the jury on Wednesday.

"This was a well-planned murder."

Justice Kevin Bell will begin instructing the jury on Friday before they retire for their deliberations.