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Victoria Cullen's diary told of husband's aggression, court hears in Australia

By Lesley Houston

Published 28/05/2015

Comrie Cullen was killed by her estranged husband
Comrie Cullen was killed by her estranged husband
Christopher Cullen has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter on the basis of provocation and excessive self-defence

A murdered Northern Ireland woman described the husband accused of her killing as "very aggressive" just two days before she was found dead, a jury in Australia has been told.

The closing stages of Christopher Cullen's murder trial, in which he is accused of a frenzied knife attack on his estranged wife Victoria Comrie Cullen, have begun in Sydney.

Englishman Cullen has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter on the basis of provocation and excessive self-defence.

Comrie Cullen, originally from Bangor in Co Down, described her husband's manner as "very aggressive" in diary entries found by police.

Excerpts from her journal in her own hand and dated January 20, 2014 were given to the jury tasked with deciding the fate of Cullen.

The entry states: "He was very aggressive. Told me to stop going on."

In her closing address yesterday, Crown prosecutor Siobhan Herbert said a text message Cullen sent to his sister Tina that afternoon was a significant piece of evidence.

The message said: "Sorry can't cope with lies no more. Thank (sic) for every thing".

The court was told: "His own words to his sister are about lies. There's nothing about taunting, nothing about being attacked."

Ms Herbert said that on the day of her killing, Cullen had followed his wife to her Sutherland apartment following a court dispute between the estranged pair, and it was there the fatal struggle began before ending up at the angling club where her body was found.

She said Ms Cullen was heard screaming, her papers were later found scattered and a trail of blood was found stretching from the front of her car to the back.

"At that stage at least her nose had been broken," Ms Herbert said.

Blood marks showed Ms Cullen was then bundled into the boot of her husband's car before he was later seen buying two "guaranteed sharp" fishing knives and a black T-shirt, she added.

"Why? Because he has decided to use the knife or knives on Comrie Cullen. He needs a T-shirt because there are knives and there is going to be blood," Ms Herbert argued.

"You'd be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Christopher Cullen is guilty of the murder of Victoria Comrie Cullen," she contended.

Defence barrister Winston Terracini SC said the killing of Ms Cullen was a "shocking tragedy", but it was not a planned act.

"You do it in broad daylight, in an open area, where there's no way you can conceal what you're doing: that's some plan, and some premeditation."

"You would reject that it was planned, you would reject that it was premeditated. Whatever happened, happened quite rapidly," he maintained.

He said Ms Cullen had had a two-month affair with a young Danish man named Nick Baastrup, whom she met in a nightclub in 2013.

He said, under the law, someone could be provoked by certain behaviour over time.

"You don't have to be provoked instantly, or react immediately."

Mr Terracini added that the attack on Ms Cullen was consistent with someone who had lost control.

"This wasn't one lethal stab wound to the heart... this was a frenzied attack," he said.

He said Ms Cullen's death was a "shocking tragedy", but was not a planned act.

He said while they were together, Ms Cullen was going out on a regular basis drinking and had tried to "manufacture" that she had been beaten by him.

The suspicions Cullen had that his wife was having an affair also turned out to be true, Mr Terracini said.

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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