Husband’s confession after killing wife

Disturbing details have been heard in court about the way a Sydney woman was allegedly murdered by her husband, who made a phone call afterwards.

After Mourad Kerollos stabbed his wife, Gihan, to death as she left her administrator job at a Sydney hospital in 2019, he dialled triple-0 and said “I killed my wife”, a court has heard.

The former Auburn hospital security guard was found nearby in his car minutes after making the call, along with a knife and a half-finished bottle of whiskey, Crown prosecutor Pat Barrett told the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Later, according to an officer’s statement, Mr Kerollos said he had consumed four or five drinks of the spirit that night, adding: “That was after I did what I did.”

Gihan Kerollos, also known as “Gigi”, was found dead with a Coles shopping bag covering her head outside the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick, where she worked as a hospital administrator, at around 8.40pm on May 18, 2019.

The 48-year-old mother of three and beloved member of Sydney’s Coptic community had sustained multiple stab wounds to her neck.

Mr Kerollos has been charged with her murder and is on trial in the NSW Supreme Court, where he has pleaded not guilty on the basis of mental illness.

The Crown case alleges the terrible event was the culmination of months of volatile and controlling behaviour in which Mr Kerollos constantly accused his wife of cheating on him, looked at her phone and took away her car keys.

Crown witness Kerri Eagle, an expert psychiatrist, is expected to testify he was experiencing a psychotic disorder at the time, potentially schizophrenia.

Mr Kerollos watched the proceedings over video link from Long Bay prison, assisted by an interpreter.

He had told his lawyer he wanted to watch from prison, the court heard, but Acting Justice Peter Hidden ordered he be brought to court for the rest of the trial so the proceedings could be interpreted to him more easily.

Mr Barrett told the court the relationship between Mr and Mrs Kerollos, who had been married for 20 years, began to deteriorate from 2015.

Following Mr Kerollos having an affair in 2016 and 2017, the pair began to sleep in different bedrooms, he told the court.

The prosecutor said arguments between the pair, mostly about how stubborn Mr Kerollos was, escalated in the 12 months before Mrs Kerollos was killed.

“The accused wanted to know everything about what his sons and what his wife were doing,” he said.

“During the last year of their marriage, he started examining Gihan’s telephone. He told his son he was doing that to see who she was contacting.”

By February 2019, the couple had decided to get a divorce, the court heard.

In the weeks before Mrs Kerollos died, she was catching public transport to work instead of driving like she usually did, Mr Barrett said.

“She told her son Paul that the accused had taken her car keys. The accused told his son that it was none of his business,” he said.

Mr Barrett said it was not at issue that Mr Kerollos had inflicted the multiple stab wounds that caused Mrs Kerollos’s death, but whether he was so mentally ill at the time that he cannot be held criminally liable for the act.

The court will also consider if he ought to be found guilty of manslaughter rather than murder on the basis of substantial impairment.

Dr Eagle, who is due to testify on Thursday, would likely say Mr Kerollos held “delusional” beliefs his wife was having an affair, a phenomenon knowing as the “Othello syndrome”, Mr Barrett said.

She would give evidence that Mr Kerollos’s illness meant his judgment, capacity to reason and ability to understand events was impaired.

The trial continues.

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