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Affair led to kids' murder: court

Days after buying another woman Valentine's Day flowers, a Sydney father came home to find a trail of blood leading him to the bodies of his two young children lying next to their mother, a court has been told.

Australian Associated Press, Sydney, Australia, By Katelyn Catanzariti, Aug 24 2009

The woman had given the couple's three-year-old daughter and four-year-old son rat poison and an unidentified pink liquid before smothering them and killing them, court papers said.

She then tried to take her own life, the NSW Supreme Court was told.

Doctors agree the mother, from Canley Heights in Sydney's west, was suffering from "major depression" when she poisoned her children on February 19 last year.

She has pleaded not guilty to the two murders by reason of mental illness.

As her judge-alone trial began, the mother's lawyer told Justice Clifton Hoeben his client didn't think life was worth living after learning about her husband's affair.

In a note she left her husband, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said his betrayal had forced her hand.

"I have to go away because I don't want to witness the situation in which my husband betrayed me," she said.

"I take away my own life so I don't want to witness the situation in which my children live lonely by themselves.

"I don't want to take away their lives ... however ... living without love, to me life is just only selfishness and betrayal.

"Let my children and myself leave in peace."

The children's father gave evidence in court that he had bought flowers for a female friend days before the killings, but said he had never told his wife about the woman.

He said they were barely talking in the days before the incident but admitted to slapping her in fury during an argument the day before.

"I was angry and I couldn't control myself," he said through a Vietnamese interpreter.

He denied threatening to leave his wife, but defence barrister Richard Pontello accused him of lying to hide their marital problems from their family.

"You don't want your wife's family to know you were having an affair," Mr Pontello put to him.

"At that stage I hadn't had an affair so how could I say otherwise," he replied.

"We were just friends."

Forensic psychiatrist Rosalie Wilcox, for the prosecution, said while she was suffering from a major depression, the woman was not psychotic and should have known the difference between right and wrong.

"Is it possible her motive was revenge and anger because she had formed the view that he was having an affair and planned to leave her?" crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen asked.

"Yes, (it is possible) the event was precipitated by the accused coming to that conclusion," Dr Wilcox responded.

"She was considerably angry the night before. From her account she destroyed the wedding photos and had not slept very well that night.

"And in the morning she made a plan to take her life and the lives of her children.

"There was a degree of planning. She purchased the rat poison one morning but did not go through with it until the next day.

"I question whether there was a degree of malice in her behaviour. If she killed her children, her husband would suffer."

Dr Wilcox said she also questioned whether the woman had really tried to take her own life that day.

"If she really wanted to kill herself, she could have done it a lot Read More ..fectively than how she did," she said.

The trial continues.

© AAP 2009