A university lecturer who murdered his wife in their Melbourne home after an argument about their son’s kindergarten arrangements has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Adam Brown, 41, a lecturer in digital media and gender studies at Deakin University, stabbed his wife Chen Cheng, 35, multiple times in their Croydon North home on April 30, 2022.
The couple started arguing about their two-year-old son’s kindergarten arrangements in an upstairs bedroom of their home. They moved downstairs into the kitchen, and then out into the backyard.
Per The Age, neighbours heard Cheng screaming “help, please stop, help me” and Brown telling her to “stop” and “get down” about 9.30pm.
Half an hour later, three neighbours gathered outside the couple’s driveway, before Brown let them in through the garage door. They found Cheng lying on the grass with multiple stab wounds, including large cuts to her neck and chest.
They tried to perform CPR on Cheng’s lifeless body until paramedics arrived. She was declared dead about 10.40pm.
Supreme Court Justice John Champion rejected Brown’s claims to police that his wife grabbed a knife first and tried to attack him, noting he sustained light injuries and Cheng had defensive wounds on her hands.
“I accept an argument took place, but do not conclude Ms Cheng initially attacked you,” Justice Champion said, per the ABC.
“It is clear you had an opportunity to stop, put the knife down and walk away from the argument. Instead you engaged in what you knew to be morally abhorrent behaviour.
“Ms Cheng fought for her life against your attack on her and doubtless she was terrified by what was occurring. There is no excuse for what you did.
“You must be justly punished for your offence. Your actions have deprived your wife’s family of a beloved daughter, niece and cousin … you have permanently impacted the lives of so many people, not least your own child.”
Justice Champion read a victim impact statement to the court from Cheng’s mother, Liu Min, who lives in China. She said her daughter’s death felt “like a spear piercing her heart”.
“She is afraid of going out and seeing relatives and friends. She couldn’t believe her beautiful daughter was murdered in what should have been the safest place: her home,” he said.
The court heard that while visiting from China, Min witnessed her daughter and son-in-law frequently arguing, which led her to believe Cheng was in an unhappy marriage. After she returned to China, Min spoke to her daughter daily to make sure she was ok — including the night she was murdered.
Justice Champion sentenced Brown to 24 years’ jail for his “reprehensible” crime with a non-parole period of 17 years.
Image credit: Nine News