After 55 years of marriage an elderly man “just snapped” at his wife and allegedly stabbed the 74-year-old through the neck after she laughed at him when he accused her of having an affair.
Ben Ivanoff faced Gosford Local Court this morning charged with the stabbing murder of his wife Leonne Ivanoff in the upstairs loungeroom of their Nowack Ave home at Umina Beach shortly before 3pm yesterday.
The 77-year-old’s Legal Aid solicitor said he suffered from depression, macular degeneration, heart problems and had recently been diagnosed with depression.
She told the court the pensioner was not entering a plea today but “intends to plead not guilty” and needed to be released on bail to secure legal advice and continue his medical treatment.
The solicitor said it could be up to a year before the matter was eventually finalised, which could be delayed further by awaiting the results of various forensic procedures.
“He’s a clean skin, he’s never been before the courts before,” she said.
“The facts recently show he was hospitalised for dementia … he will not be eligible for Legal Aid after today.”
However, Magistrate Bruce Williams refused bail saying the medical conditions he had were still present and, faced with similar circumstances, he could be “a risk of further offending”.
“The accused is charged with the murder of his wife in circumstances where things got out of hand, there was arguing and he allegedly stabbed her,” he said.
Mr Williams said despite Mr Ivanoff’s intention to plead not guilty he “made certain admissions” to police.
The couple has lived at the two-storey house for most of their married life and police will allege that while there had never been any violence before, the relationship had deteriorated in recent years because of Mrs Ivanoff’s “bickering” and “nagging”.
Police also allege Mr Ivanoff was under the misguided belief his wife was having an affair and whenever he raised it with her she would laugh at him, which would further enrage him.
Police were called to the Umina Beach house shortly before 3pm yesterday after a witness discovered the woman’s body on the upstairs lounge.
Mr Ivanoff was arrested at the scene and taken to Gosford Police Station where he took part in a recorded interview in which he allegedly told police he and his wife were sitting on the lounge.
It is understood Mr Ivanoff told detectives she was laughing at him when he mentioned the affair and an altercation ensued while he was holding a knife.
He told police he only wanted to scare her.
A police examination of the crime scene located a black plastic knife handle under a coffee table a short distance from the lounge where the victim’s body was discovered.
The blade of the knife was still in her neck, protruding 15cm out the other side.
Dressed in a pair of white forensic services overalls Mr Ivanoff said nothing during his brief appearance and will return to court on March 3.