Man pleads guilty to shooting wife as she slept in armchair after she threatened to leave him
A man has pleaded guilty to murdering his wife because she did not want to go travelling with him, and she had threatened to leave him and take everything.
Alan Charles Gibson, 67, used a .22 calibre rifle to shoot his wife, Rosemary Gibson, 62, twice in the head while she slept in an armchair at their Airfield Road, Traralgon home on the morning of April 14, 2016.
He then turned the gun on himself, causing critical injuries.
The couple’s grandson was in the house at the time and discovered Mrs Gibson’s body about 8am.
Gibson was under police guard in hospital until May 4, 2016, when he admitted to police that he had shot his wife then attempted to kill himself.
He was charged with one count of murder by Victoria Police’s Homicide Squad.
Wife was caring for elderly parents
The Supreme Court, sitting in Morwell this week, heard Gibson had resented his wife for spending so much time away from him.
They had both retired and he had hoped to go travelling, but Mrs Gibson did not want to go because she was caring for her elderly parents in Sale.
Gibson also felt his wife’s sisters were interfering in his life and not contributing to looking after their parents.
The day before the murder, Gibson cleaned out part of the house and burnt most of the waste in a bonfire.
But the court heard when Mrs Gibson returned home that night, she was furious.
“That’s it, I can’t do it any more, this is the last time,” Mrs Gibson told her husband.
The court heard she also threatened to “take him to the cleaners”, and that she was going to take everything when she left.
Gibson later told police that was the point of no return.
“I lost it. I lost it. Absolutely lost it,” he said.
When asked if he intended to kill her, Gibson answered, “Well, I must have because I, well it just, I had it.
“I just know things were getting to such an extreme turning point it was just, it just, it … but then to come home and after I’d cleaned up, the house looked immaculate and she went right off.”
The court heard that before Gibson shot himself, he wrote a note of the things he had “been stewing on”.
Police outside the Gibsons’ Airfield Road home in Traralgon on April 14, 2016. (ABC News: Sarah Farnsworth)
‘What Alan has done is unforgiveable’
In her victim impact statement read to the court, Mrs Gibson’s daughter-in-law Sally Gibson wrote of her heartbreak and anger about what had happened.
“My children have had to learn to live without her. I have had to learn to live without her support,” she said.
Ms Gibson said her mother-in-law had welcomed her into the family.
“Rosie was an amazing grandmother, and Alan took her away from my children,” she said.
“That has caused anger in me that I’ve never experienced before.
“Nobody has the right to take someone else’s life, and the last thing Rosie would want is to be away from her children and her grandchildren. She loved them all, they were her world.”
Ms Gibson said the family was still struggling to come to terms with what had happened.
“The why is the hardest part. Never going to be given a reason or an answer that will be good enough. Having to try and find strength to let go for our own healing.
“It’s impossible, because what Alan has done is unforgiveable.
“All I’m trying to do is not allow Alan to take my life and my family’s happiness.”
Gibson suffering from depression
Doctors who assessed Gibson after he murdered his wife diagnosed him with depression and possible dementia.
Doctor Danny Sullivan wrote, “I do consider that Gibson’s mental functioning was markedly impaired by depression at the time.”
Gibson wrote a letter of apology that was read in court.
“I am sorry that I put all my family and friends through all this.
“Rosemary, my wife of 44 years, was a wonderful lady who was always helping others. I did what I should not have done, then turned the gun on myself.
“I know this has affected my family so much and I am terribly sorry. I only wanted to go on holidays.”
Gibson will be sentenced at a later date.