A MAN captured on CCTV footage shooting his de facto wife in the head has been found not guilty of her murder.Phillip Bracken, 45, wept quietly as a nine woman and three man jury accepted his claim of self-defence and acquitted him of the murder of partner Helen Curtis, 58. Bracken shot her outside a house in Clive St, West Footscray street in November 2012.
The court was told Curtis had regularly beaten and abused her partner of four years before the shooting.Ms Curtis had been seen yelling at Mr Bracken’s father before Mr Bracken shot her twice in the head at close range.
“This is an extraordinary case, and an extraordinary situation,” said Ruth Shann, Bracken’s lawyer.The killing was captured on CCTV, and showed Bracken chasing Ms Curtis before shooting her at least five times, twice in the head Despite the CCTV footage Bracken pleaded not guilty, saying he killed her in self-defence after years of abuse.
Ms Shann pleaded with the jury and asked them to consider what would happened if their genders were reversed and she had killed him after an abusive relationship.
“In general in situations of family violence we are biased towards the woman and again the man, and that is normal and probably right because as we heard… statistically overwhelmingly the majority of cases are a male perpetrator and a female victim,” Ms Shann said..
Ms Shann said Bracken was forced to shoot the woman he loved.“We have a right to defend ourselves against the threat of lethal force, and every single one of us has the right to defend someone that we love from the threat of lethal force,” Ms Shann said.
But Ms Curtis’s daughters were devastated by the verdict “Every one, fights everyone has relationships. Justice wasn’t served for our mum, he gets to walk free and we have to live with it for the rest of our lives,” said daughter Jaimi-Leigh Meilak.