NZ woman acquitted of murdering Indian-origin man

Wellington, Sep 19 (IANS) A New Zealand court Thursday acquitted a woman of charges of murdering an Indian-origin man.

A jury of 12 members in the Wellington High Court cleared Jessica Lee Keefe, 30, of charges of murdering her partner Sean Verma, 30, at his flat in the suburb of Petone in Lower Hutt, Wellington, Jan 29 this year, Fairfax NZ News reported.

Verma died soon after receiving a knife wound to his chest in the flat.

The man of Indian descent was reportedly a member of a major criminal network in New Zealand known as the Mongrel Mob and was the father of Keefe's youngest child.

Keefe had pleaded not guilty in court.

In her statement to police, she said that she could not remember how the knife pierced Verma's chest when he was hitting her.

However, Keefe didn't produce any evidence in the court.

She told the court that she got a knife to keep Verma away after he punched her.

Keefe said what happened next was a blank and she could not remember if she stabbed him.

In an earlier hearing, the defence lawayer had told the jury that Verma might have impaled himself on the knife while attacking Keefe.

Neighbours who saw the incident through the tall windows of Verma's flat said they saw Keefe fighting back and swinging something at Verma.

Later, a 60-inch television's screen was found cracked at two places.

Keefe and the children were reportedly living two doors away with Verma's parents.

Prior to his death, Verma had pleaded guilty to assaulting Keefe and had also volunteered to go for a counselling course against domestic violence.

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