A woman who told police she went into “survival mode” when she stabbed a man outside her friend’s home near Newcastle has been found not guilty of his murder, but the jury was discharged after they were unable to reach a verdict on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Jurors deliberated for 10 days in the NSW Supreme Court trial of Lily Ridgeway, 22, before coming to their final decision and being sent home, with Justice Helen Wilson describing the Crown case as “relatively weak”.
Ms Ridgeway stabbed Jason Adams, 27, during an altercation outside the home of her friend Nikita Hanson in Raymond Terrace, north of Newcastle, in the early hours of February 29 last year.
During the four-week trial, the court heard Ms Ridgeway had been staying at Ms Hanson’s home at the same time as Mr Adams, who, days earlier, had been released on bail over driving offences and was using Ms Hanson’s residence as a bail address. Ms Ridgeway and Mr Adams were not well acquainted.
Ms Hanson told the court Mr Adams began to make her “feel uncomfortable” and was “making a move on me when I asked him not to”.
She said she “kept asking him to leave” but he refused, and Ms Ridgeway, a schoolfriend of Ms Hanson, enlisted the help of a male relative to escort him from the house between 8pm and 10pm on February 28.
Ms Ridgeway said that, in the hours after Mr Adams was kicked out, he had sent Ms Hanson “constant” text messages and threatened to come back and “smash up the house”.
When he turned up about 5.15am, she armed herself with a knife to “protect myself” and went outside to meet him. “I didn’t have any intentions of hurting him unless he was hurting me,” she said.
Within 10 minutes of arriving at the home, Mr Adams lay on the street with a fatal knife wound to the heart.