A grandfather accused of stabbing his wife of 47 years to death while she slept in their Western Sydney home has been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial over her murder.
- The court heard Vince Coluccio was confused about whether his wife is actually dead
- A forensic psychologist said the accused suffered from “psychotic depression or schizophrenia”
- The victim’s family were not in court when the judgment was handed down
Vince Coluccio, 74, was dressed in prison greens and was assisted by an Italian interpreter when the judgment was handed down in the NSW Supreme Court today.
Police alleged he stabbed Elia Coluccio with a kitchen knife while she was asleep on the couch of their Merrylands property in February last year.
The elderly man then washed his hands before getting in the car and driving himself to the local police station where he was charged with murder.
Before delivering his decision, Justice Robert Hulme extended his sympathies to the loved ones of Ms Coluccio, none of whom were in court today.
“Undoubtedly this is a sad case — I extend my sincere condolences to those who grieve the loss of Elia,” he said.
Adam Martin and forensic psychologist David Greenberg found the alleged killer suffered from either “psychotic depression or schizophrenia”, the court heard.
“He seemed confused as to whether his wife was alive or dead,” Dr Martin said in a written statement.
“His limited understanding would hamper his ability to defend or give evidence.”
The court heard Mr Coluccio told one of the doctors he believed his wife was having an affair when he allegedly killed her in the family living room last year.
“He claimed the deceased had been cheating on him and that his children were mocking him …at other times, he appeared tearful and expressed remorse,” Professor Greenberg said in a written statement.
Mr Coluccio’s brother disappeared almost 30 years ago, which doctors have attributed to his deteriorating mental health, the court heard.
“He claimed his brother was god and that he could hear his voice,” Professor Greenberg said.
Justice Hulme said there was strong evidence to suggest Mr Coluccio failed to understand any of his previous court proceedings.
“There is compelling evidence Mr Coluccio is unfit to stand trial — he experienced delusions and remains confused if the deceased is actually dead,” he said.
“On the basis of uncontested evidence of the experts, I find him unfit to be tried.”
Mr Coluccio stared blankly at the judge when the decision was handed down and his case was referred to the Mental Health Review Tribunal for further assessment.
He will remain behind bars at Long Bay Jail pending the findings of the tribunal at a later date.