Neighbors heard a Melbourne mother screaming, “Help me, he’s trying to kill me,” just before a university lecturer murdered his wife at their family home.
Adam Brown, 40, a former digital media professor at Deakin University who also taught gender studies and women’s history, pleaded guilty to the murder of his five-year-old wife, Chen Cheng, last year.
He sobbed as he sat in a dock at Melbourne High Court during a pre-sentencing hearing on Friday, and was joined in court by more than a dozen family and friends.
The 35-year-old mother-of-one was found lying in the backyard of her Croydon North home in April 2022 after being stabbed multiple times.
Born in China, Ms. Cheng moved to Melbourne to study in 2015 and the couple met the following year.
They married in Ms. Cheng’s home country in 2017 and had a child together in 2020.
Adam Brown arrives for a hearing at Victoria’s Supreme Court on Friday
Although no cases of domestic violence were reported, Brown had anger issues and sought help from a psychologist the year before the murder, the court was told.
Ms. Cheng also sought psychiatric treatment after a traumatic birth.
On the evening of April 30 last year, the couple were arguing over future kindergarten arrangements when the argument escalated and moved through different rooms of their home, prosecutor Nanette Rogers SC said.
Brown claimed Ms Cheng spat in his face, hit him around the head and tried to restrain and push her away. They went into the kitchen and the couple both armed themselves with knives, prosecutors said.
Adam Brown (left) has pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife Chen Cheng (right).
She said Ms. Cheng was stabbed in the neck in the kitchen and lost a large amount of blood. Brown told police his wife bit his arm.
“The fight moved to a backyard, both of them ended up on the ground fighting over a single knife,” said Dr. Rogers.
“He realized that she had sustained serious injuries in the fight.”
She said Brown gave no explanation as to how his wife sustained so many stab wounds. He only suffered minor injuries.
Brown attempted to resuscitate Ms. Cheng and called Triple Zero.
Neighbors heard screams and screams from inside the house before she died and heard Brown say “stop,” “down,” or “shut up.” The neighbors knocked on the front door, concerned.
The mother of one child, Chen Cheng (pictured), died from stab wounds to her chest and neck.
When there was no answer, they heard Ms. Cheng scream, “Help me, he’s trying to kill me.”
They pounded on the garage and Brown let them in while one of the neighbors administered CPR. He told the neighbors that they had stabbed each other.
Ms. Cheng was pronounced dead at 10:40 p.m. by paramedics. An autopsy revealed that she died from three deep stab wounds to her chest and neck.
Brown’s attorney, David Hallowes SC, said his client deeply regrets it and accepts he will serve a lengthy prison sentence for the murder.
The hearing before Justice Mark Champion continues.
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Adam Brown (pictured) previously taught digital media, gender studies and women’s history at Deakin University