Outburst after cousin found not guilty of killing
Katherine Abdallah has been found not guilty of the manslaughter of the cousin she fatally stabbed during a fight over a luxury car inside a Sydney townhouse seven years ago.
In front of a packed gallery in the Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Stephen Rothman delivered the verdict that brought an end to years of trials and appeals over the case that tore a family apart.
Suzie Sarkis, 21, died from stab wounds after the bloody struggle in the Brighton-Le-Sands home she shared with Ms Abdallah on February 9, 2013.
Ms Abdallah broke down, her head buried as she sobbed into her hands, as Justice Rothman handed down his ruling before the decision dawned on Ms Sarkis's sister Christine, who lost control.
"What, not guilty!" she yelled. "She killed my sister.
"How can you say that?
"You're crying, Katherine Abdallah. You killed my sister."
Ms Abdallah continued to cry as she was shepherded past a flock of waiting media outside the King Street courts, with Ms Sarkis's family filing out soon after.
The deadly 2013 argument erupted over damage to Ms Abdallah's new $200,000 Mercedes AMG, which Ms Sarkis had been caught speeding in the day before.
Horrific CCTV footage was played to Ms Abdallah's judge-alone trial last month, showing the moment she stabbed her cousin in their loungeroom.
Ms Abdallah, 39, had pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and claimed she was acting in self defence.
She had previously been convicted of manslaughter twice, in separate trials held in 2015 and 2017, but both rulings were quashed on appeal.
In the third trial it was argued that she believed using two knives she grabbed from the kitchen was necessary to defend herself during the fight with Ms Sarkis.
In the footage played to the court, captured by a CCTV camera inside the house, Ms Sarkis can be seen pinning Ms Abdallah down on the couch as she delivered blow after blow with her fist to the woman's head and back.
Moments before she had smashed a white vase on the kitchen floor and attempted to leave the unit, with Ms Abdallah blocking her path and slapping her cousin in the face.
In a sustained attack, Ms Sarkis then unleashed a series of kicks to the body of Ms Abdallah who was cowering on the floor.
However, the older woman managed to turn the tables when Ms Sarkis dropped her guard and overpowered the 21-year-old on another couch where the struggle continued.
Ms Abdallah then runs to the kitchen to grab the knives, being pursued by Ms Sarkis, before thrusting the knives three times towards the younger woman, the final appearing to connect with Ms Sarkis's torso.
The trial heard a triple-0 call made by Ms Abdallah after the incident in which she denied using a knife.
"There was a bit of an accident in the house, a bit of a fight, please please," she told the operator.
She first told police Ms Sarkis had been attacked by a tall, fat Lebanese woman who had fled the scene before realising the incident had been recorded on her own CCTV cameras.
Ms Abdallah was first charged with murder but found guilty of manslaughter in 2015 in the first of three trials over her cousin's death.*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Outburst after cousin found not guilty