Kissel's depression impaired her judgment, psychiatrist tells court
Nancy Kissel was suffering from depression when she allegedly bludgeoned her investment banker husband to death, a psychiatric expert told a court yesterday.
The comments from Dr Wong Chun-kit were heard at the retrial of Kissel in the Court of First Instance.
Kissel, now 46, is accused of murdering her husband, Robert Kissel, 40, on or about November 2, 2003. She has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter, which the prosecution does not accept.
During cross-examination by her barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, Wong said Kissel had shown symptoms of a major depressive disorder that impaired her rational thinking, judgment and action in 2003.
Wong, who examined Kissel in 2005 and again last year, said Nancy Kissel had relied heavily on the emotional support of others including her father, friends, children and her husband. When she lost their support, she went into a depression.
With Robert Kissel's threats of violence, talk of divorce and custody of her children already aggravating her anxiety, a further confrontation led Nancy Kissel to a state where she might resort to violence, Wong said.
'It is as if her emotions had gone into a volcanic eruption,' he said. 'Her emotional anchors were lost. She cared most for her children; a confrontation or discussions regarding the custody of the children could lead her to act in an extreme way.'
Prosecutors say Kissel bludgeoned Robert Kissel to death. The Merrill Lynch banker had also allegedly drunk a drug-laced milk shake administered by his wife.
Wong said that given her mental state, it was unlikely Kissel had considered the consequences if her husband drank the milk shake.
The retrial continues today.