Two daughters of a Melbourne man who claimed sleeping pills caused him to stab his wife to death have stood by him despite a jury finding him guilty of murdering their mother.
A pre-sentence hearing for Brian Robert Browning, 54, who killed Catherine Elizabeth Browning, his wife of 21 years, heard statements of support from the couple’s daughters.
Rhiannan, 19, and Amy Browning, 21, continue to visit their father in prison, the court heard.
Defence barrister George Georgiou SC said it was significant they maintained a close relationship with Browning, despite their close relationship with their mother.
“That says something about his role in their lives,” Mr Georgiou said.
Rhiannan Browning described her father as “the most supportive dad”, in her reference tendered in court.
“He’s apologised multiple times for what he’s done,” her reference said.
Amy Browning said in her written reference she knows she can’t believe what he’s done.
Whenever Mrs Browning comes up in conversation he changes the subject because it’s too painful, she said in her reference.
Both daughters were in the Victorian Supreme Court for the hearing on Friday.
Browning denied killing his wife, but was found guilty of her murder by a jury in May.
Police found the body of Mrs Browning, 47, in the bedroom of their family home on December 19, 2013.
The couple’s close relationship broke down due to financial stress, the court heard.
Mr Georgiou told Justice Lex Lasry Browning had no history of violence but was taking sleeping pills known to cause unusual behaviour.
The prospect of divorce made Browning depressed and he treated his sleeplessness with doxylamine, a drug known to have “adverse effects”, Mr Georgiou said.
He quoted a psychological report that said there was evidence of an acute, severe deterioration in Browning’s mental health in the days before the attack.
“His attempts to quell (his problems) with sleeping pills and cigarettes seems to have had the opposite effect,” Mr Georgiou said.
Victim impact statements read to the court from Mrs Browning’s siblings and mother detailed their grief and feelings of betrayal.
“I cannot understand how someone who’s been in my life for such a long time … could do something so violent,” Mrs Browning’s sister Sue Satchwell said.
“She was defenceless, fighting back against a huge man standing over her.”
Mrs Browning had worked for Family Life, a support service for disadvantaged families.
Browning will be sentenced on October 9.