A businessman told police he strangled his estranged wife after she taunted him about sex, a jury heard yesterday.
In a videotaped interview segment played in the Supreme Court, James Stuart Ramage, 45, said he "lost it" after his wife, Julie, said sex with him repulsed her. He said Julie Ramage had described having "sleepovers" with another man who was much nicer and better than him.
"I hit her and I just wanted it to stop and that's when I strangled her," James Ramage said in the interview. "And you don't know how much I wish I could change that."
The jury heard later that Ms Ramage, 42, had a new lover who was a poet and wrote about horses and the bush. Ms Ramage, a keen horse rider, told her twin sister that he was "the love of her life".
Prosecutor Julian Leckie, SC, said James Ramage, after strangling his wife, did not help her, but tried to cover up the crime and dispose of her body.
Ramage placed his wife's body in the boot of his Jaguar car, cleaned up at their Balwyn home and drove to an isolated area of bushland near Kinglake. At the edge of a national park, he buried her and items including clothing worn at the time of the attack.
Mr Leckie said Ramage took the couple's teenage son out to dinner, and told their daughter that her mother was probably out with the other man.
Ramage later met a barrister friend and, after speaking with him and a solicitor, turned himself in to police. He has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife on July 21 last year.
Defence counsel Phil Dunn, QC, told the jurors and Justice Robert Osborn that Ramage did not deny killing her, but the question was whether it was murder or manslaughter. He said the prosecution could not prove the intent required for a murder conviction. At issue was whether Ramage's actions took place under provocation, as defined by the law.
Mr Leckie said Julie Ramage left her husband about five weeks before she was killed. He said unhappy incidents in their marriage, including some violence, had caused her fear.
She moved into a Toorak apartment, taking their daughter, Samantha, now 17, with her.
In a letter left for her husband, Julie Ramage said she had let him run her life too much, and she was stifled.
"You have often said you would be happier on your own with a nice sports car, apartment and not such a great financial burden as us," she wrote.
Ms Ramage described James Ramage in the letter as staid and conservative. She said she could hate him for some things he had done, but he was a good person who worked hard and loved their children.
"I feel very insecure at the moment leaving the house, beach house and all our other assets in your hands and I hope you won't do anything stupid that will hurt the kids," she said.
"Please, please be reasonable and amicable and I promise I won't do the wrong thing by you."
Mr Dunn said the couple had married as teenagers and had dated others when they separated in the 1980s. In 2002, they had problems in their relationship, he said. James Ramage had pushed his wife out of their bed, and she had another lover she had met at the Prahran Market.
The trial continues.
* Article from The Age