Judith Ann Venn laced her husband Lance’s favorite vegetable soup with drugs before slitting his wrist when he could no longer cope with his bipolar disorder.
- The woman pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
- She did not receive support to attend to her husband’s condition
Judith Ann Venn had come to the end of the road when she overdosed her husband of more than 40 years by adding pills to his favorite soup before slitting her wrist, a court was told.
The now 69-year-old was not getting by as a caregiver for Lance Hilton Venn, whose bipolar disorder had worsened significantly in the past 18 months.
But he also couldn’t bear the prospect of his daughters enduring the difficulty of caring for, monitoring and managing him, Venn’s attorney, Christopher Wilson, said Friday.
Judith Ann Vann overdosed her husband with pills she put into his favorite soup at their family home in Brisbane.
Venn pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Brisbane High Court in the death of her husband at their home in Alexandra Hills, south-east Brisbane, in August 2020.
Venn felt trapped as part of a close Christadelphian Church community that didn’t look outside for help, Wilson said.
“Because of her embarrassment and her desire not to stain her husband in that group, she kept a lot of what was going on with her mental health and deterioration a secret.”
In the month before her husband’s murder, Venn told a mental health service of her despair, but received very limited support.
“For her it was the end of the line, for them it was the first performance,” Mr. Wilson said.
A psychiatrist surmised that Venn habitually underestimated her husband’s physical violence toward her, perhaps because she was ashamed, thought she had failed him or knew he couldn’t help it, the court heard.
Ms Ann Venn was found guilty of manslaughter in Brisbane High Court after she overdosed on her husband of 40 years and slit his wrist at their home in August 2020.
“Out of sheer loyalty to him (she) didn’t mention it or didn’t make a big deal out of it,” Wilson told the court.
It was also likely that she was chronically sleep deprived and increasingly isolated and desperate.
Shortly before he was killed, Mr. Venn, a former fisherman, used the money they couldn’t afford to buy a boat, even though they already had four in the yard, indicating how bad it was.
On the morning of August 14, Venn was hopeful of some relief in her husband’s management, as he was due to see a psychologist that day.
But Mr. Venn ended up at his daughter’s house at the end of one of his nocturnal walks.
Venn canceled the appointment and overdosed on her by dissolving the prescribed pills in her favorite vegetable soup.
“She had just come to the end of the road,” Mr. Wilson said.
She slashed his wrist when he was unconscious before eating the soup in an attempt to take her own life.
Venn admitted to police that she had decided to end her husband’s life and her own out of frustration with his behavior.
“She was a stoic woman with an extraordinary ability to cope who came to the end of her rope because she was doing it all on her own,” Wilson said.
Venn, who wiped away tears during sentencing presentations, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter in the death of her husband.
She has been behind bars since the day she killed her husband and had the trusted position of working at the prison reception desk.
Judge Frances Williams reserved her decision until a date to be defined.