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Mother-of-six found guilty of manslaughter for stabbing man she claimed tried to rape her

A mother of six children accused of killing a man she claimed was trying to rape her has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Tracey Kerr, 42, showed little emotion when the jury handed down its verdict at 1.15pm on Thursday.

Ms Kerr, a cook, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Doug Barrett, 65, on May 25, 2012.

She admitted stabbing Mr Barrett but later told police she did so in self-defence when he tried to rape her at about midnight in the bungalow known as Dougie’s Bar behind his Echuca house - bringing back memories of when she was raped as a young girl.

The married Mr Barrett died from a heart attack brought on either by being stabbed in the neck, or from the shock of suffering cuts to his eyes, or from a heart attack brought on by a combination of the injuries.

The Crown case was that Ms Kerr and Mr Barrett had been having an affair and regularly met in the bungalow.


‘‘What you have got is a drunken woman who has got angry and has lashed out and she’s lashed out with a knife and she knows that if you stab somebody with a knife, you will cause them really serious injury,’’ prosecutor Peter Rose, SC, had told the jury.

‘‘The Crown accepts, and I mean no disrespect to Ms Kerr when I say this, that she is of low intelligence, but we don’t accept that she functions like a seven-year-old. She knows what she’s doing, she knows right from wrong.’’

Ms Kerr claimed Mr Barrett had called her the most beautiful black woman he had ever seen before trying to rape her.

Professor David Wells told the court he went to see Ms Kerr at the Echuca police station on May 26, 2012, after her arrest to determine if she was fit to be interviewed.

Reading from notes he had taken of their conversation, Dr Wells said Ms Kerr told him Mr Barrett had ‘‘tried to undress me’’.

‘‘Touched me on the boobs, on top of clothes.

‘‘He kept saying I was beautiful.

‘‘I was the most beautiful black woman I have seen.

‘‘Wished he met me years ago. Things he wanted to do to me. I said I really don’t need to hear this."

Dr Wells said Ms Kerr told him she had had six children to six different partners and they were now aged from 24 to 11 years but had been taken from her by the authorities.

Defence lawyer Shane Tyrrell told the jury Mr Barrett had been taking advantage of Ms Kerr.

‘‘He was getting something from her that he wanted, that suited him at Dougie’s Bar.

‘‘She’s vulnerable, she’s intellectually impaired. She’s a seven-year-old mind in a woman’s body.

‘‘She says that Douglas Barrett was putting the squeeze on her for sex on May 25, 2012.

‘‘She’s not making it up.

‘‘Pressure was building in the bungalow, he pinned her down.

‘‘She believed he was trying or was going to rape her. She said no. No means no. Douglas Barrett continued. She defended herself against a man who was drunk, a strong man, and she survived.’’

Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth remanded Ms Kerr for a plea hearing on June 23.