A wife who shot and killed her husband in his sleep at their family home has learned his fate
Man Shot While He Was Sleeping Woman Says Was Going To Shoot Herself Accusing Her Husband Of Abuse
Mark Anthony Vella’s life as a loving father, farmer and husband ended violently when he was shot dead in his sleep.
His wife, Dale Lee Vella, has been sentenced to 24 years in prison for his murder, which a judge said will never be understood.
‘It is clear (Del Vella) murdered her husband,’ Justice Helen Wilson said during her sentencing in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.
Mark Vela was sleeping in his family home when his wife, Dale, was shot in the eye
Mrs Vella was sentenced to 24 years in prison for murdering her husband Mark.
‘Why this happened is far less clear and may never be known.’ she said.
The couple had a relatively normal life at their Murrumbateman property before Mr Vela was killed in August 2021.
Vela noticed that one of their dogs was missing and the pair rode their quadbikes together to find the pet.
Then they piled the wood inside and had dinner with their friend David Borg and daughter Georgia.
Later that night, Vela puts a gun to her husband’s right eye while he sleeps and shoots him at close range. He died instantly.
Mr Borg woke up to a loud bang and a knock on the door.
Del Vella told him to call an ambulance and said ‘I was going to shoot myself, but I shot him’.
She then called an ambulance and woke up Georgia, who later ‘tortured herself’ to do what she could to help her father.
‘There was nothing he or anyone else could have done to assist him,’ said Justice Wilson.
Vela has never denied killing her husband at their home in the NSW Southern Tablelands, although she pleaded guilty to manslaughter instead.
His barrister Greg Hoare asked a Supreme Court jury not to convict him of murder, arguing that he was mentally retarded at the time.
In a statement read by Crown prosecutor Kate Ratcliffe during Vela’s sentencing hearing, Mr Borg remembered calling an ambulance, knowing his friend would not survive and how it haunted him.
Del Vela told police that her husband had been abusing her for years. She did not deny killing her husband
He wrote, ‘It saddens me that you thought your only two options were to kill yourself or kill Dale’.
‘I’ll never have another friend like Mark.’
In a police interview after her arrest, Vela said she had endured years of emotional abuse at the hands of her husband.
In a video recorded on her phone before the shooting, she told the camera, ‘I can’t live like this anymore, I let him (their children) emotionally abuse me for years, I tried to leave, but he won’t. ‘cares about no one but himself’.
‘None of the children believed he abused them or their mother, each described him as a loving father,’ Justice Wilson said on Friday.
The jury found him guilty of murder the day it retired.
“Many have suffered and will continue to suffer for his crimes,” Justice Wilson said.
‘The court does not recognize Mr Vela’s monstrosity.’
The couple’s children sat tearfully in the back of the courtroom as their mother was sentenced on Friday.
Vela will be eligible for parole in February 2039.
1800 honor (1800 737 732)
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636