Australia

A woman imprisoned for manslaughter in the far north of South Australia

A South Australian woman who ran down and killed her partner was imprisoned for at least four and a half years after a judge ruled that years of domestic violence and abuse had affected his death.

Noelen Kenny, 42, was found guilty of manslaughter for the death of her partner Edward John Baker in February last year.

In the ruling, Judge Gordon Barrett said Mr Baker had persuaded Kenny to go on a journey to buy alcohol before his death with him and another man.

“You didn’t want to go, but your husband insisted you come,” he said on Monday.

They traveled more than two hours from their home in Indalkana, a dry community in APY Land, to the roadhouse in Eldanda, which crosses the Northern Territory border.

They bought beer and scotch and drank them on their way home before Kenny and Baker went into discussion.

The judge said he was pulling her husband’s hair before Kenny pulled her a knife and threatened her.

Another man who was driving grabbed a knife from Mr Baker’s hand and at the same time bumped into a kangaroo.

The two men got out of the car before Kenny got into the driver’s seat and drove towards the man sitting on the roadside embankment.

“From the pathologist’s report, it seems likely that your husband has fallen,” Judge Barrett said.

“You drove over him.”

Baker died on the scene, but prosecutors admitted that his death was unintentional.

“Your driving was obviously dangerous, but you may not have seen it in the dark … your husband has fallen,” the judge told Kenny.

Judge Barrett took into account evidence of the couple’s relationship leading up to Mr Baker’s death.

“It’s clear that there was a lot of violence between them,” he said.

He said Kenny reported “many times” abuses by her husband between 2008 and 2015, according to records.

Baker forced her into control by means of verbal abuse, intimidation, psychological abuse, and impact on service providers.

“This incident has been in the context of violence and abuse for over 20 years,” he said.

“In my view, if you haven’t experienced more than 20 years of violence or abuse, you’re very unlikely to have committed this crime.”

Judge Barrett sentenced Kenny to six years and five months and was released on parole for four years and six months.

Both judgments date back to February 2019, when she was detained.

When Kenny is released, she will be disqualified from holding a driver’s license for 12 years.

Place of originA woman imprisoned for manslaughter in the far north of South Australia

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