Victim's wife carried another man's child

Bellinda Kontominas
July 25, 2008

A WOMAN on trial for killing her husband with an antique decorative knife had become pregnant with another man's child in the months before the death, a court has heard.

Danielle Stewart, 32, has pleaded not guilty to murdering her husband, Chaim Kimel, 55, after a domestic dispute in their Rose Bay apartment in August 2006. Stewart is claiming she acted in self-defence.

Her psychiatrist, Rosalind Foy, told the Supreme Court that Stewart, who had borderline personality disorder, had been told by Mr Kimel to terminate the pregnancy after she conceived a child with a Melbourne man, Yuri Moel.

"Yuri had wanted to keep it and have her live with him in Melbourne," Dr Foy said, reading from her clinical notes. "Her husband told her that she must terminate the pregnancy if she wanted to come back to the family home."

Dr Foy said Stewart's disorder was most likely triggered by childhood traumas, including the death of her mother when Stewart was 11 and alleged sexual abuse by three people. She had undergone the termination in March 2006, and another in 2005.

Stewart had "highly conflicting feelings" about her relationship with Mr Kimel, from whom she had been estranged for much of 2005, the psychiatrist said. The couple had terminated a pregnancy that year as they were unsure of their relationship and neither was ready for children.

Dr Foy said in four months of treatment Stewart had not mentioned physical abuse by Mr Kimel, but had spoken of being emotionally abused by him. Dr Foy said Stewart had a "high level of anxiety" about losing Mr Kimel, the relationship and her home. She also had "difficulty with his personality", the court heard.

Stewart had told her she had been sexually abused on separate occasions by an elderly male neighbour, a female neighbour and the older brother of a friend.

Stewart's grandmother, Elaine Kraker, previously told the court her granddaughter been torn between moving in with Mr Moel in Melbourne or returning to Mr Kimel. "She didn't know what to do, whether to make that break," she said. "I wanted her to go to Melbourne but then Chaim was ringing her wanting her to go back."