Northern Ireland

Christopher Cullen trial: Wife received domestic violence counselling

Comrie Cullen Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Comrie Cullen, from Bangor, County Down, who was found dead in Sydney, Australia

A former Northern Ireland woman, allegedly murdered by her husband, had been receiving domestic violence counselling, a court has heard.

The body of Victoria Comrie Cullen, 39, from Bangor in County Down, was found in the grounds of a fishing club in southern Sydney last January.

She had been repeatedly stabbed and her throat had been cut.

Ms Cullen's husband, Christopher Cullen, 51, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

Domestic violence counsellor Penelope Ardren said from November 2013, she started providing assistance to Ms Cullen.

Ms Ardren wrote in her notes: "She was scared of her husband as his actions were erratic and violent".

Diane Murphy told a court in Sydney her friend had confided in her about the violence.

"Comrie had mentioned to me that her husband had pinned her to the fridge and strangled her 'til she was blue in the face," she said.

"She was quite emotional."

'Affair'

An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) was taken out against Mr Cullen, after an incident at his wife's workplace, a hair and beauty salon in Sylvania Waters.

Mr Cullen had gone to the business while his wife was at work, and held up signs saying she was sleeping with clients.

Police also investigated an assault on Mr Cullen at his home, that saw him taken to hospital but the investigating officer said he was vague about the details.

No one was arrested over the assault and Ms Cullen denied having any knowledge of it.

She told a police officer: "I did have an affair. It was nothing serious. I do not have a boyfriend".

Ms Cullen found a new apartment to live in, but was said to be struggling financially and was provided with a fridge and some furniture by the charity, St Vincent de Paul.

The trial continues.

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