LESS than two weeks before she stabbed her husband in the chest, repeatedly slashed him while he lay on the ground and then chased him down the street with a large kitchen knife, Felicity Renee Jarrott sent him a picture showing a large cut across her stomach that she said had been made by an angle grinder.
"I really do hate my stomach ... but I think I've slightly improved it," the text accompanying the photograph said.
Over the next two weeks the relationship, and perhaps Ms Jarrott's mental health, continued to deteriorate to the point she called the police in relation to an "emotionally abusive husband". It was 10pm on December 20, 2018, when police arrived at the couple's house at Jewells.
At 10.26pm they left after determining no crime had been committed and they had no power to remove Mr Jarrott from his house.
Four minutes later they were called back to the house by a distressed neighbour who had found Mr Jarrott outside the house, bleeding profusely from several stab wounds.
"Please help me, call an ambulance, I've been stabbed," Mr Jarrott told the woman.
When asked why his wife stabbed him, Mr Jarrott replied: "Because she has mental problems."
Mr Jarrott later told police he was in the garage when his wife approached with her hand behind her back. She suddenly sprinted towards him, raised the knife and stabbed him in the chest, causing a large gash, fracturing a rib and puncturing his lung.
Ms Jarrott was arraigned, softly pleaded "not guilty" to a charge of wound person with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and faced the first day of a judge-alone trial in Newcastle District Court on Monday.
The court heard the central issue of the estimated three or four-day trial will be Ms Jarrott's mental state at the time her husband was stabbed.
Crown prosecutor Rob Munro said forensic psychiatrists for the defence and prosecution agree Ms Jarrott was suffering a major depressive disorder at the time of the stabbing.
Defence medical expert, Dr Richard Furst, opined that Ms Jarrott "lacked capacity to reason about the wrongfulness of her actions" and had the defence of mental illness available to her, Mr Munro said. The prosecution expert, Dr Kerri Eagle, said that while the depressive episode impaired her judgement she appeared capable of reasoning the wrongfulness of her actions.
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