A 55-year-marriage ended in murder yesterday afternoon when Ben Ivanoff was charged yesterday with allegedly stabbing his wife Leonne to death.
The harrowing incident took place in the couple’s lounge room of their two-storey Nowack Ave home in Umina Beach shortly before 3pm. Emergency services were called to the scene where the 74-year-old grandmother was found dead.
Locals expressed their shock at the incident, including an elderly neighbour who told Nine News, “The man was always very friendly with us and always fixed up the plumbing problems for us.”
The accused’s Legal Aid solicitor told the Gosford Local Court he suffered from several medical conditions, including depression, macular degeneration, heart problems and had recently been hospitalised with dementia.
However, Magistrate Bruce Williams refused bail explaining that faced with similar circumstances, the defendant could be at “risk of further offending”.
After being arrested, Ivanoff, 76, took part in a recorded interview with police where he allegedly admitted to “snapping” and stabbing his wife in the neck after she laughed at him for thinking she was having an affair. He told police he only wanted “to scare her” but an altercation ensued resulting in his wife’s death.
The ABC reports that police allege the couple’s relationship had deteriorated in recent years with “delusional thoughts” leading Ivanoff to believe his wife was being unfaithful. He was also sick of her constant “bickering” and “nagging”. He went onto to tell police her laughing had infuriated him and the fight had escalated.
A police examination of the scene uncovered a plastic handle of a knife under a coffee table near where the body was discovered. Police also allege the blade of the knife was still in the victim’s neck.
Tributes to the deceased have already been shared on social media with Lana Ivanoff posting a heartfelt message to her “Nanna”, “You’re in a better place now I know you will be always watching over me,” she said. “You will always be in my heart.”
Ivanoff showed no emotion in court on Monday and the case has been adjourned until March 3.