Maple Ridge woman guilty of murdering husband

Judge finds Leah Florence was not too drunk to realize her actions; Andrew Lynn Milne died after being stabbed 14 times.

Police cars parked outside the house where Andrew Milne was stabbed to death by his wife Leah Florence in 2009.

Police cars parked outside the house where Andrew Milne was stabbed to death by his wife Leah Florence in 2009.

A Maple Ridge woman who killed her husband during a drunken domestic dispute two years ago has been found guilty of second degree murder.

Madam Justice Jeanne Watchuk ruled Tuesday that although Leah Marie Florence was drinking that night, she was not too intoxicated to form the intent to murder her husband, Andrew Lynn Milne.

“I find that Ms. Florence was not intoxicated and angry to such a degree that prevented her from intending to cause Mr. Milne bodily harm or seeing that the multiple stab wounds and cuts would cause his death,” said Watchuk.

Florence, who is aboriginal, has been in custody since November 2009, when she was arrested at a her home on Ospring Street in Hammond for stabbing her husband 14 times during a fight.

The 911 call to police came from her aunt Patricia Burt, who owned the house and lived a floor above the couple.

Burt had taken the couple in two months earlier because they were homeless. Burt’s ground rules for providing a roof over their heads included no drinking, fighting or smoking inside her house.

Police found 50-year-old Milne lying on the floor in a pool of his blood. He died later in hospital.

Florence suffered a gash to her arm during the altercation and needed stitches, but Justice Watchuk pointed out Florence told police and a doctor the wound was not bothering her.

In a statement to police, Florence said she and Milne has three two-litre bottles of cider to drink on the night in question.

Florence did not take the stand in her defence during the trial in New Westminster Supreme Court, so Watchuk was left to determine her level of intoxication by hearing testimony from police, paramedics and firefighters who dealt with her.

Most witnesses described Florence as “moderately” intoxicated. Some witnesses testified she was slurring words, while others noted she needed no help to sit upright or walk to the ambulance and answered all their questions.

“She was clear of time and place. She was aware of what had happened,” said Watchuk, noting testimony from an expert witness who explained that people who are moderately intoxicated typically know what they are doing, but don’t know why.

“It is clear from the entirety of the evidence, she understood the circumstances, her actions and the events of the evening.”

Florence had no reaction to Watchuk’s judgement, which carries an automatic life sentence.

A pre-sentence report has been ordered for Florence because of her aboriginal background.

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