WHEN Paul Margach suspected his wife Tina was having an affair, he searched her mobile phone for telephone numbers and called a man he had never met, Shane Breheny.
Pretending at first to be his wife’s brother, Margach asked Mr Breheny whether he had got along with Tina, “and if we had it off”, Mr Breheny told the Supreme Court yesterday.
“He was trying to put his (four-year-old) younger daughter on (the phone), and saying ‘This is your new Daddy’, ‘You have broken up my family’, all that sort of stuff.”
The following night, Margach stabbed his wife to death in a jealous rage. Firemen who arrived at the house in Hurtle Street, Ascot Vale, after he phoned for help on October 15, 2004, found him waving and crying with both his young daughters on the front veranda.
He told them he had stabbed his wife because he found out she was having an affair and begged them to save her life.
Margach, 38, has pleaded not guilty to his wife’s murder. His wife had not had an affair with Mr Breheny, a sign-writer, but had confessed to her husband that she had a couple of drinks and danced with him while on a weekend away in Swan Hill with her girlfriends.
She and Mr Breheny phoned and sent text messages to each other several times the following week, and she told Mr Breheny that she had feelings for him.
The night before she died, Mrs Margach told him that her husband “blew a fuse” over the news of her flirtation and hit her on the nose and that “the kids are all crying”. But she still wanted to stay with her husband and said, “I deserve everything I get at the moment.”
Mrs Margach spent much of that phone call debating with Mr Breheny about whether her husband could trace their conversation. In fact, Mr Margach had installed a listening device on the family telephone line. Her conversation was replayed in court yesterday.
Mrs Margach suggested to Mr Breheny that they both leave their partners. Mr Breheny told the court he was being light-hearted when he replied, “I would in a heartbeat.”
Mrs Margach told Mr Breheny that her husband had “this big jealousy problem” and that she did not show him the affection he wanted.
She said she had to remind herself that her husband was a good father and a good provider, “But is that everything? . . . If I didn’t have kids, it would be like, there’s my door.”
She told Mr Breheny that she felt differently about him to the way she felt about her husband: “If someone . . . wanted to touch you or something and I was there I’d want to knock them out.”
Mrs Margach told Mr Breheny that in the argument with her husband, he said, “I’m going to make it my goal just to destroy you.’ I said, ‘That’s good, that’s great . . . You forgot the acid. Do you want me just to lay down now and pour it on me?’ . . .
“But I don’t want to hurt him like that . . . He was really hurting tonight and that hurt me.”
The case continues.
First published in The Age.