Thursday, 10 April 2008

Valentine's Day killer found not guilty of murder

A real estate agent from central west New South Wales has been found not guilty of murdering his wife's lover on Valentine's Day.

Forty-eight-year-old Tony James Riley fatally shot David Nichols in Gulgong last year, and pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the start of his Supreme Court trial.

The trial heard Riley was severely depressed following his wife's affair with Mr Nichols.

Earlier, defence lawyer Michael Allen told the jury Riley was so ill he was unable to control his actions.

But in his closing address, Crown prosecutor Frank Hollace questioned whether the accused's mental impairment was great enough to reduce murder to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

He told the court the real estate agent clearly knew what he had done and the consequences of his actions.

Riley's estranged wife, Katherine Riley, sobbed as she recounted the morning of the shooting on Tuesday.

She told the jury she and Mr Nichols ran for their lives as her former husband started firing at the house they were in.

Ms Riley said she later found Mr Nichols lying in a pool of blood on the lawn with two gunshot wounds and clutching a cordless phone.

Riley later turned the gun on himself and survived.

Riley has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced on the manslaughter charge in a fortnight.

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