A battered wife who snapped after years of abuse and killed her husband with a hammer went free from court into the arms of her tearful children yesterday. 'Go back to your family and mend your life,' were the words from Mr Justice Thomas Gall, as he freed 55-year-old Lee Nui in the Court of First Instance while her children smiled and cried. Leung Kwok-ki, 62, died of head injuries three months after being struck by his wife on April 29 last year. The judge ruled Ms Lee was not of fit mind when the pent-up frustrations created by a 34-year abusive marriage finally led her to explode and batter Leung's head with a hammer. In a letter to the judge, the couple's six grown-up children recounted their father's heavy drinking and abusive and violent behaviour. All were supportive of their mother and visited her often while she was in custody. Outside court, her son expressed the family's relief. 'I think we have to gather our family together now, because it was broken,' he said. Prosecutor James Dick said social worker Fung Shing-on was working with the family two months before the incident and met them on the day of the attack. 'Leung brought a pair of scissors, a camera, some beer and an ancestral tablet to the meeting. He was drinking and yelling that his children treated him badly and that he would break their arms and legs,' Mr Dick said. 'All the children confirmed Leung was terrible to them. Eventually Madame Lee and Leung left.' That night police responded to a 999 call and found Leung bleeding but conscious with a frightened Ms Lee at his bedside. She cried and admitted hitting Leung with a hammer, and said: 'You arrest me. I prefer to be put into jail.' Her defence counsel, John Mullick, said it was an 'exceptional case where justice must be tempered with mercy'. 'The fact she has brought up six children who have all made a success of their lives is testimony to her leading a hard-working life in spite of going through hell,' he said. 'This will live with her for the rest of her life. She has now suffered enough.' Mr Dick reduced the charge from murder to manslaughter after Ms Lee pleaded guilty to unlawful killing. He told the judge he had no objection to a sentence allowing her immediate release. Mr Justice Gall said: 'At the time you committed the offence you were suffering from a severe mental illness . . . which diminished your responsibility for the act. 'I accept the sole cause of this was the actions of your husband to yourself and your family. You no longer suffer from that illness; the cause having departed, you have recovered.' Her 12 months in custody awaiting trial was given as punishment.