Conflicting stories surrounding the death of a man caught cheating should be thrown out and his abandoned lover should be found guilty of murder, a jury has been told.
Jenny Niguidula told police she woke up on November 17, 2019 to hear her lover Rhonie Apostol making gurgling noises from the bathroom of their Sydney home.
She found him with a stab wound to the chest and a kitchen knife with a 12cm blade nearby, and said she tried to treat his injuries before paramedics were called.
Watch the latest news and stream for free 7plus >>
The 53-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
At the New South Wales Supreme Court trial, Niguidula pleaded not guilty to murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
On Tuesday, Crown Prosecutor Christopher Taylor said the plea was an admission that she killed Apostol.
This differed from previous versions given to police at their home in South Wentworthville and in an interview at Granville Police Station.
“It’s clearly a false version of events,” Taylor told the jury.
Niguidula, who was married to Apostol’s brother-in-law Jonathan Olivares, began an affair with Apostol in 2011.
The court has previously heard that Apostol, who was also married, worked for Niguidula’s market research firm Kaleidoscope International and that they lived and worked in New York, Sydney and Manila for a time and traveled to various foreign locations on vacation.
On November 10, 2019, the pair arrived at Sydney International Airport on a flight from Manila, upon learning that he had been visiting a nurse in the Philippines for the past nine years.
CCTV footage showed her hitting Apostol on the head outside the airport and throwing his cell phone at him.
Niguidula was “angry” before stabbing her lover, compared to claims the couple had rekindled their love through dancing and dating, jurors heard.
When police were called after the 53-year-old’s death, Niguidula said his injuries were the result of his “stupidity”, including having an electric fan he installed fall on his head.
Other details, including the fact that she didn’t remember what happened when her lover was stabbed and that they hadn’t argued before the death, changed as she spoke to different people, Taylor said.
In her police interview, she said that Apostol wanted to buy her some Airpods before he died.
At the morgue, however, she said he had spoken about going to a movie and the couple had spoken about burying their little girl, who was “in the freezer.”
The jury had previously heard that she attempted artificial insemination and lost her baby in December 2018.
Evidence of intent to kill
Prosecutors say her intent to kill was proven by the location of the wound on her chest and its depth of 7cm.
“If you’re asked in connection with the murder charge, ‘How do you say that?’ Is Jenny Niguidula guilty or not guilty of murder?’ In my opinion, the appropriate answer to that question is guilty,” Taylor told the jury.
Olivares, Apostol’s wife Geraldine and his sister Coy watched the hearing via video link.
In part, Niguidula’s attorneys defend significant impairment and require her to prove that she suffered from a mental illness so serious that she could not control her actions or understand what she was doing.
Although psychological evidence pointed to a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, the question remains whether this condition led to her inability to distinguish between right and wrong.
Defense attorney Andrew Boe said Niguidula admitted her lover died from a stab wound to the chest and that she did something to bring about his death.
However, he said prosecutors could not prove her murderous intent because no evidence had been presented of what happened when Apostol was stabbed.
There was no way of telling what the knife did or if Apostol moved towards the blade, he told the jury.
Boe will continue his filings on Wednesday.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT at 1800.737.732 or come by 1800RESPECT.org.au.In an emergency, call 000.