Dad reached over teens to murder mum

A father who leaned over two of his children to stab their mother has been convicted of her murder.
A father who leaned over two of his children to stab their mother has been convicted of her murder.

A father who leaned over two of his children to fatally stab their mother has been convicted of her murder.

James Leonard Fairhall pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the opening of his Victorian Supreme Court trial but prosecutors rejected that and pushed for a stronger finding over the death of Noeline Dalzell.

Jurors handed down that verdict on Tuesday morning after a nine-day trial.

Ms Dalzell had moved on from their two decade on-off relationship, during which they had their three children.

All three were present when Fairhall killed their mother and had screamed for him to stop.

On February 4 the three children - two girls aged 13 and 16 and a 15-year-old boy - arrived home from school to find their parents arguing, with Fairhall accusing her of cheating.

Their son yelled at Fairhall to leave the house but he ignored the teen and took hold of a large knife.

Her children tried to shield Ms Dalzell, taking cover in the boy's bedroom. The older teens stood between their parents as their father backed their mother into a corner.

With their youngest daughter beside him, Fairhall reached over his older children and stabbed Ms Dalzell to the neck.

Almost immediately he was tackled to the ground and Ms Dalzell fled to find help.

A neighbour called paramedics who rushed to the scene but Ms Dalzell collapsed and could not be saved.

Fairhall's lawyers said his client admitted killing Ms Dalzell but claimed he was not guilty of murder because he didn't intend to kill her.

A pre-sentence hearing is not expected to be held until next year.

Australian Associated Press