Wednesday 28 September 2016

'I can't cope with the lies no more' - Text from man accused of murdering Irish wife to sister night before killing

Claire McNeilly

Published 15/05/2015 | 07:53

Christopher Cullen (51) denies the murder of his estranged wife Comrie Cullen (39)
Christopher Cullen (51) denies the murder of his estranged wife Comrie Cullen (39)

A man accused of the brutal murder of his Northern Irish beauty therapist wife sent his sister a text saying he couldn't cope the night before the killing, a court has heard.

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The body of Victoria Comrie Cullen was discovered in the grounds of a fishing club car park in southern Sydney in Australia on January 22 last year.

The 39-year-old Bangor woman - who was found curled up in a "Muslim prayer position" - had been repeatedly stabbed and had her throat cut.

Her estranged husband Christopher Cullen (51), a carpenter, originally from Liverpool, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

He was found wet and bleeding at the crime scene and allegedly told police the former couple had a fight and though he didn't know what had happened next, he had "lost it".

The New South Wales Supreme Court was told that Mr Cullen's sister Christina received a disturbing text from her brother the night before her sister-in-law was stabbed to death.

In a statement read to the court yesterday, Ms Cullen said the night before the killing her brother had barbecued sausages at a small family gathering and then settled down on the couch to watch the Australian Open tennis.

She said she had not noticed anything abnormal about his behaviour then or the next morning as he prepared to attend court where he was in dispute with his former wife - who had been living in New South Wales for several years - over a car.

"Chris was his normal self and said what he always said - 'be good for aunty Tina'," the statement read. A few hours later the court heard she received the disturbing text message from her brother.

"It said 'sorry, can't cope with the lies no more. thank for everything. take the kids back to England'," Ms Cullen said. "I was upset and crying about what Chris had sent."

She then received another message from her brother declaring "tell the kids I love them".

Local retiree Wayne Eldridge found the Co Down woman's body on the grass at the car park.

Detective Senior Constable Richard McEnally described how he was at the crime scene when Mr Cullen came out of the water.

Mr McEnally said Mr Cullen was wet, had blood on his T-shirt, a swollen face and stab wounds to his chest. He said that when he asked what had happened, Mr Cullen said: "We had a row. She stabbed me and I stabbed her."

He said he went into the water "'cos I wanted to end my life".

The trial continues.

The jury will visit the crime scene on Monday.

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