Woman 'petrified' before partner was killed
A woman who fatally stabbed her de facto in their Perth home says she was petrified when he attacked her and her parents after months of controlling, jealous and violent behaviour.
But the prosecution in Tracey Bridgewater's manslaughter trial has rubbished her claims.
Testifying on Friday, the 41-year-old said she quickly fell in love with Nicholas Josephs, 44, who was initially generous and kind, but pinned her down and tried to strangle her soon after moving in three months after they met in 2017.
"I put that down to a one-off," the business analyst told the WA Supreme Court.
The next month, his ex-wife secured a violence restraining order against him and a consent order preventing him seeing his son, which made him more agitated and distressed, Bridgewater said.
Half a year later, he became furious at a bar after she checked why he'd taken a long time to get drinks, throwing a coffee table across the room, threatening to kill her and again wringing her neck in front of her friends, she said.
"I suggest to you he did no such thing," prosecutor James Mactaggart said.
He asked Bridgewater if she had taken any action and she conceded she had not.
"I loved the man - I wanted the relationship to work," she said.
Bridgewater said Mr Josephs was often irrationally jealous when she spent time with others, would wake her in the night to question her after looking in her phone, and ask who she had lunch with at work.
"He seemed very controlling," she said.
Mr Josephs would also get angry if she didn't want to have sex, which once sparked an argument that led to him brandishing a knife in front of police.
Mr Mactaggart again said that never occurred because Bridgewater didn't mention it in a statement for a 72-hour VRO she immediately obtained, only to reconcile with Mr Josephs the next day.
The night she killed him, he became enraged after she said she would call police because he refused to stop blaring music.
"The next thing I knew, I was pinned against the wall and he had his hand around my neck.
"I was just petrified."
Her parents, who were visiting from England, were also attacked as they tried to intervene, with the father throttled and repeatedly punched.
"I was very scared," Bridgewater said.
"I couldn't believe what was unfolding.
"Like a lot of people I don't like violence and I'd never seen anything like this."
She said he bit her finger so hard she thought he would sever it, knocked her and her father unconscious, and shouted he would kill them all and her "f***ing dogs" multiple times.
Bridgewater said she ran out of the house, unsuccessfully sought help from three neighbours and considered approaching a fourth but feared her father would be dead by the time she returned.
She said she went back inside and saw him "in a really bad way" as Mr Josephs continued his attack while her mother tried to pull him away.
Fearing he would kill them all using a knife that lay on the countertop, she picked it up before he lunged at her, looking like "a crazed man".
"Next thing I know, there's blood on his shirt.
"I had no other way of protecting myself or my family - I'd exhausted my other options.
"It was a self-preservation, automatic decision."