Man's stabbing murder of wife fuelled by 'anger, jealousy'

A TWEED HEADS man who murdered his former partner in an "horrific" knife attack was driven by anger and jealousy at her starting a new life without him, a court has heard.

Paul Thomas Ryan, 66, was convicted earlier this year of the stabbing murder of his former partner, Marie Van Beers, in the home the pair shared in Brett St, Tweed Heads, on November 12, 2018.

Ryan was found guilty at the judge alone trial of murdering Ms Van Beers in the kitchen of the shared home by stabbing her more than 30 times in a frenzied attack that lasted several minutes and during which the victim begged for her life.


Marie Van Beers, 63, who was killed at Tweed Heads. Picture: supplied
Marie Van Beers, 63, who was killed at Tweed Heads. Picture: supplied


At a sentence hearing on Friday, the NSW Supreme Court heard that Ryan's actions were motivated by a build-up of jealousy and anger that "boiled over" on the day of the killing.

The court heard that Ms Van Beers had started a relationship with another man that made her happy and on the day of the murder Ryan, a chronic alcoholic and prescription drug abuser, returned home from drinking at a local club to see her bags packed to leave about to make "her break to a new life".

Ryan entered the kitchen where the victim was cooking and put a knife to her throat, forcing her to call her sister in a bid to make her change her mind about leaving, the court heard.

After that, Ryan proceeded to stab his former partner to death in the "ferocious" and unprovoked attack that was described in court as an "extremely grave" domestic violence murder and an act of "intense patriarchal oppression" that has no place in modern society.


Paul Thomas Ryan is taken from Lismore Supreme Court and returned to custody.
Paul Thomas Ryan is taken from Lismore Supreme Court and returned to custody.


The homicide, also labelled in court as "atrocious" and "grotesque", was perpetrated in breach of an AVO granted the same day after threats made by Ryan against the victim.

"It's an example of a man killing a woman because she dared to disobey him," crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell told the court.

"The principal causation of the offending was the accused's anger and jealousy."

Ryan's barrister, Jason Watts, told the court his client suffered from a mood disorder and cognitive impairment and that Ryan's alcohol and drug abuse was "completely unresolved" in the lead up to the homicide.

The court heard Ryan did not have a "privileged" or "lucky" upbringing, suffering from learning difficulties and leaving school at 15 and that alcohol "very quickly" became a problem for him as a young man.

It heard that he suffered a serious work injury in 1994 and that three years later was temporarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital before suffering a "gradual decline".

"His life had become very dysfunctional and degraded," Justice Richard Button said.

Earlier, the victim's sister, Moya Reid, read a victim impact statement to the court via AVL link describing her sorrow at the loss of her "best friend".

"They say time heals all wounds, but some wounds like this will never truly heal," she said.

"I miss her so much."

Ryan will be sentenced on December 10.