The man who killed his wife said he was fed up

A retired accountant who strangled his wife told police she attacked him and he chose to silence her after he got tired of harassing, taunting and bullying her.

“He gave an analogy of a dog biting,” prosecutor Adrian Robertson said in the crown’s opening address to a NSW Supreme Court jury on Friday.

Engracio Songcuan, 74, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Erlinda Songcuan, his wife of 44 years, in the garage of their Woodcroft home in western Sydney on May 2, 2020.

He does not deny strangling the 69-year-old but pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of manslaughter.

The Crown did not accept the plea.

Songcuan’s attorney Brian Royce told the jury that the issues involved the use of excessive self-defense and extreme provocation.

“This trial is about the actions of the defendant and we in no way blame the deceased, but we have to look at that conduct in that context,” he said.

Mr Robertson said the Filipino couple had three daughters and a son who died around 1991.

Their daughter Catherine, who lived with them, would testify to arguments and how they moved into separate rooms in 2018 after her mother had cancer surgery.

The relationship had soured and divorce was on the table, while Ms. Songcuan suspected her husband was having an affair and wasting his money.

In the days leading up to the death, their daughter witnessed “a pretty heated argument” when her mother hit her father with slippers and had a knife in her hand.

She would testify that her mother was screaming and hysterical, using a slipper to try to get her father’s phone, and moving a knife in small movements.

After her mother showed her a birthday card addressed to Songcuan that she found in the garage, her father told her “there was never anyone else” and her mother was paranoid.

Later, her mother showed her divorce papers signed by the couple and explained how she found out about the affair.

“She said she had found some lady’s clothes and she showed Catherine a pair of the defendant’s underwear that had a thong inside of it,” Mr Robertson said.

Songcuan told police that someone had poisoned his wife’s mind, that she suspected he was having an affair and that she taunted and harassed him, pulled knives at him and hit him with a slipper when they were driving.

He said he moved because “I’m afraid she’ll kill me because she keeps knives in our room”.

The morning he killed her, he said she stormed into his room and hit him with a large object and broke the TV remote, and he had to choose to shut her up for a bit. of peace and freedom.

“His face looked like a tiger,” he told police.

He said they went into the garage so as not to wake their daughter, before squeezing her throat for maybe 15 or 20 minutes.

“I think I overreacted but I decided better for myself, instead of living a miserable life.”

Mr Robertson said Songcuan then faked the scene to make it look like his wife had hanged herself.

The jury is expected to decide whether he accepts what Songcuan told police about the relationship.

He claimed that Songcuan committed a “deliberate act of revenge” and did not suffer a loss of control.

He cited what he told police and his actions at the time and immediately after, including covering the body with a rag and cardboard box and writing three notes.

The trial continues before Judge Hament Dhanji.

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