Wife stabbed drunk husband in self-defence

Rebecca Le May

A wife killed her husband with a single stab to the heart after a fierce argument following an afternoon of drinking, but she was acting in self defence, a Perth court has heard.

Vainerii Taungaroa Emile-Bruning has gone on trial in the District Court of WA, charged with the murder of Alan Bruning at their Manning home on April 10 last year.

The court heard during opening submissions on Wednesday that Mr Bruning, a fish filleter from New Zealand's North Island, had brought some male work colleagues back to the house after they'd been to a tavern and their BBQ plans at a park were rained-out.

Defence lawyer Anthony Eyers said the men had been playing a slapping game in the garage in a bid to see who could endure the most punishment while drinking progressed to sipping sprits straight from the bottle.

The deceased then tackled one of his friends Corey Robertson, knocking him unconscious.

,Meanwhile, the couple became embroiled in a verbal then physical argument about cleaning up the post-party mess, which ended when the accused woman's 13-year-old son broke it up.

Mr Eyers said she then went inside to the kitchen and grabbed the first weapon she could find - a filleting knife - having been helped to break away from a "protracted, drunken and vicious assault" by a strong man.

The lawyer said his client, who had long been frustrated by her husband's excessive drinking, did not thrust the knife at him but rather he ran at her.

"We say she lawfully killed her husband, acting in self-defence," he said.

Mr Bruning's post-mortem blood alcohol limit was just shy of six times the legal limit, while she was below the legal limit, Mr Eyers added.

Prosecutor David Thiering said the accused acted disproportionately and could have run away or called for help as there were people in the house.

Mr Thiering said Mr Robertson emerged when he heard the arguing and saw Mr Bruning collapsed and bleeding in the garage, while Emile-Bruning was sitting nearby in a chair.

She stayed there while he tried to apply first aid and ran next door to help, and while paramedics attended.

Mr Bruning died shortly afterwards in hospital.

"She was fed up with him but it doesn't justify using a knife and killing him," the prosecutor said.

"She wanted to stop him in his tracks and did so."

The trial continues.