Deakin University professor Adam Brown breaks down over the murder of his wife Chen Cheng in Croydon North
Neighbors heard a Melbourne mother yelling ‘help me, he’s trying to kill me’ moments before a university professor murdered his wife in their family home.
Adam Brown, 40, a former Deakin University professor of digital media who also taught gender studies and women’s history, pleaded guilty last year to the murder of his wife of five years, Chen Cheng.
He sobbed as he sat on a bench in Melbourne High Court during a pre-sentence hearing on Friday, and was supported in court by more than a dozen family and friends.
The 35-year-old mother-of-one was found lying in the backyard of her home in Croydon North in April 2022, having been stabbed multiple times.
Ms. Cheng was born in China, moved to Melbourne to study in 2015, and the couple met the following year.
They were married in Ms. Cheng’s home country in 2017 and had a son together in 2020.
Adam Brown arrives at the High Court of Victoria on Friday for a pre-sentence hearing
While no incidents of domestic violence were reported, Brown had anger issues and sought help from a psychologist in the year before the murder, the court was told.
Ms. Cheng also sought mental health treatment after suffering a traumatic birth.
On the night of April 30 last year, the couple were discussing future kindergarten arrangements when the fight escalated and progressed through different rooms of their home, prosecutor Nanette Rogers SC said.
Brown claimed that Ms. Cheng spat in his face, hit him around the ears, and he tried to grab her and push her away. They entered the kitchen and the couple armed themselves with knives, the prosecutor said.
Adam Brown (left) pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife Chen Cheng (right)
She said that Ms. Cheng was stabbed in the neck in the kitchen, losing a large amount of blood. Brown told police that his wife bit him on the arm.
“The fight moved to the backyard, both of them ending up on the ground fighting over a single knife,” Dr. Rogers said.
“He realized that she had suffered serious injuries in the fight.”
She said Brown had not provided any explanation as to how his wife suffered so many stab wounds. She only suffered minor injuries.
Brown tried to revive Ms. Cheng and called triple zero.
Neighbors heard crying and screaming coming from the house before she died, and heard Brown say “stop,” “get down,” or “shut up.” Concerned, the neighbors knocked on the front door.
The mother of one Chen Cheng (pictured) died of stab wounds to the chest and neck.
When there was no response, they heard Ms. Cheng yell ‘help me, he’s trying to kill me’.
They hit the garage and Brown let them in, with one of the neighbors performing CPR. He told the neighbors that they had been stabbed.
Ms. Cheng was pronounced dead by paramedics at 10:40 pm, and an autopsy found that she died of three deep stab wounds to her chest and neck.
Brown’s lawyer, David Hallowes SC, said his client was “deeply sorry” and agreed that he would serve a long jail term for the murder.
The hearing continues before Judge Mark Champion.
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Adam Brown (pictured) previously taught digital media, gender studies and women’s history at Deakin University.