Jonda's abusive partner was beating her with an iron. Terrified, she picked up a knife.

The following post contains graphic descriptions of domestic violence and might be triggering for some readers. If you, or someone you know, needs help you can call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

In 2015, Jonda Stephen was charged by Broken Hill police for the murder of her abusive partner, Chris Tiffin. She says it was self-defence.

The NSW woman would have to wait until February 2018 for a jury to acquit her of murder and manslaughter.

Appearing on Tuesday night’s episode of Insight, which profiled women who killed their violent partners, she described the harrowing acts of violence she was made to suffer.

“I was just sort of staying away from him and I think he’d been out at the pub and I was asleep and Chris came home,” she said.

“He had pills in his hand and he was gagging me, so I swallowed those. And then he came back with a condom full of more pills and I did the same, rather than him gagging me.”

Watch Jonda talk about her harrowing abuse on SBS’ Insight. Post continues below.

Video by SBS

“It’s just a lot easier to take the pills. And then he was gaffa-taping me around the head and I just remember I kicked him off me. I never fought back because I was too scared but it was at that stage where I couldn’t breathe and I just kicked him off me and he fell and I’ve jumped on him.”

“I thought I said to him that ‘I just can’t keep doing this anymore’, because of what happened the night before and he’s got my laptop and I asked him what he was going to do with it and he said he was going to smash it,” she continued.

“I can remember grabbing the laptop and then he’s started hitting me in the head with an iron.”

At this point, Jonda spotted a knife.


“As my head’s going sideways like that, I’ve seen a knife that I’d used earlier in the day and I’ve grabbed the knife because there was blood coming down my face and I just stabbed him.”

Immediately after he collapsed, Jonda called triple zero.

Jonda Stephens domestic violence
Image: Police NSW.

For Jonda, her relationship with Chris wasn't always violent.

"Before we started a relationship we were friends for a while and I think he was really funny, very charismatic and they say love's blind and I fell in love," said Stephen, speaking to the audience of SBS' Insight.

"I was happy for the first time in a long time. We'd do things I really liked, like fishing and camping."

Things quickly changed when they moved in together.

It began with small acts of control and verbal aggression before Jonda's relationship with her partner, Chris, became violent.

"So I think it started off with jealousy, you know, he'd accuse me of cracking onto his mates and that's something I wouldn't do. Then I suppose it started being verbal aggression and then it became violent," she told the programme's host, Jenny Brockie.

"I wasn't happy and wanted to finish it. He got a jerrycan full of petrol and wanted to blow me up. It sort of escalated really quickly.


"Strangling me, he did that a lot and he'd tie me up and you know leave me in the laundry for hours. It was threatening things as well. That you know, he was going to kill my daughter and my mother."

Jonda Stephens domestic violence
Image: NSW Police.

After Jonda was charged with the murder of Chris, she was made to spend three-and-a-half months at Sydney's maximum-security Silverwater prison before she was granted bail.

On the night of her arrest, police refrained from taking her to the hospital despite her evident facial injury. According to the ABC, she was instead given paracetamol for a headache. 11 days later, an x-ray confirmed her eye-socket was fractured. She was also suffering from a fractured elbow and torn shoulder ligament.

Instead, the detectives in charge questioned whether Jonda had truly acted in self-defence. In one interview, she was even asked if her eye injury was self-inflicted and whether she had staged the crime scene. The ABC reported that in initial police fact sheets the police state Jonda never reported Chris' violent behaviour.

Speaking on Insight, Jonda said it was because she was simply scared.

"Fear would be my main reason... and fear of repercussions to my family."


According to a 2017 study published by the Australian Institute of Criminology, one woman a week is murdered by a current or former partner. Names like Hannah ClarkeMara Lee Harvey and Natalina Angok are just a few of the names who remind us of this. However, there are many more dozens of names that don't make it onto newspaper headlines and news segments.

Five years on from her attack, Jonda is reminded of the incident every time she looks in the mirror.

"I've got a scar above my eye. You think of it every time you look at your face. I never really saw my injuries after it happened because there are no mirrors in jail," she said.

"It's just sort of a reflection thing. So you don't see yourself properly. To me, it sticks out and everybody's looking at it and I'm really conscious of it."

Regardless, Jonda's moving on in the best way she can.

"My day-to-day life, I suppose it's sort of up and down," she said.

"I have good days and then I have really bad days. It's really good seeing the dogs. I miss them because they didn't understand when I was in jail.

"I love going down the beach and taking them down the beach for a walk and stuff. They make me laugh."

Feature images: NSW Police and SBS News.

SBS's Insight episode on Women Who Kill Violent Men aired Tuesday at 8.30pm.

If you, or someone you know, needs help you can call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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