Wife who set husband on fire freed
Published 13/04/2011 | 04:52
An Australian woman who burned her husband to death has been given a suspended sentence for manslaughter after a judge determined she had snapped following decades of domestic abuse.
Rajini Narayan, 46, set fire to her husband, Satish Narayan, on December 8 2008, after discovering he had had an affair.
South Australian Supreme Court Justice John Sulan said the woman's distress had been compounded by years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her husband.
Justice Sulan sentenced Narayan to six years in jail, then suspended it, saying she had already suffered enough.
Prosecutors initially charged Narayan with murder. In October, a jury convicted her instead of manslaughter, after she argued that she never meant to kill her husband.
During the trial, Narayan said she had planned to use petrol and a candle to burn a mark onto Satish's genitals in an attempt to purify him, after learning he had had an affair. He swore at her and turned away, she said, and she responded by throwing the gasoline and candle onto his back. He later died of the burns.
"For the first time in your life you had confronted your husband, had found the courage to be assertive to the person who had mistreated you for 20 years," Justice Sulan said.
"His response was to treat you with disdain - dismiss you."
The couple's children told the court they mourned the loss of their father, but said life at home was no longer angry and hostile since his death.