Wife shot then cut up husband

WAYNE ROBERT CHANT was a violent man who loved his guns, loved his grog and, when he got angry, did not mind exercising his fists on his wife.

But his decision to take his rifle to a marital dispute was a fatal lapse in judgment.

The domestic quarrel he instigated that night in 1992 ended with his frightened wife pumping a bullet into his head, cutting up his body and scattering his body parts in a crime that puzzled police for 14 years until DNA testing linked him to his limbs.

Joyce Mary Chant, 57, yesterday pleaded guilty to manslaughter by provocation, avoiding a second trial on murder charges after a jury failed to reach a verdict earlier this month.

She had already admitted to hacking up his body with an axe, but said she had only done so after he had died of an accidental gunshot wound.

But the Supreme Court heard yesterday that Chant confessed to her lawyers after the first trial ended that she had deliberately taken her husband's life in a moment of panic when he threatened her with a gun.

Chant wore the same tired expression she had held throughout the trial when she admitted to killing her husband and her wrists were still wrapped in bandages, but she rose to her feet more easily to answer the charges than she did to hear the jury's verdict and spoke calmly with her lawyers after the court adjourned.

According to a statement of agreed facts, her husband had been drinking more heavily and bashing her more frequently since he was in a car accident some months earlier, but he had never produced a gun in an argument before.

She managed to push it down and it fired, throwing her into a panic, a scuffle ensued and he fell onto their waterbed and dropped the gun.

She picked it up and shot him in the head.

Then, once he had finished groaning and became quiet, she picked up the gun, left the room and locked the door.

The body remained in the bedroom for several days, but finally she decided to get rid of it.

She chopped the head and limbs from the torso and the hands from the arms with an axe.

She put the head in an esky, the hands in a container, filled both vessels with cement and buried them under an aviary in the backyard, while the limbs were deposited into the Georges River and the torso dumped at a truckstop.

Later, she unearthed the hands and head, burying the head in the Royal National Park and disposing of the hands in a builder's skip.