Death threat: Would-be minister pulled gun on wife
By EVAN SCHWARTEN
JOHN Robert Knight was not the sort of man you would expect to pull a gun on his wife, especial- ly on Christmas eve.
But, in 2003, he assaulted his estranged wife, pulled a .22 cali- bre rifle on her and fired a shot, all because she wouldn't open presents with him. His elderly mother wept openly in the public gallery of Rock- hampton District Court as Knight, who is training to be a minister, pleaded guilty to charges including assault occa- sioning bodily harm and threat- ened violence yesterday.
Defence counsel Ross Lo Mona- co told the court Knight was a passionate family man who worked hard to support his wife and three children.
Desperate for a reconciliation, he shelled out for a "particularly nice Christmas present'' and asked his wife to come back to the family's Nerimbera home to open presents as a family.
She refused and he snapped. Prosecutor John McGrath said Knight had driven to his wife's unit in Eichelberger Street about 4pm on Christmas Eve, 2003.
When he saw her sitting in a car he argued with her and pulled her from the car, they scuffled and he dragged her by the hair to the unit's carport.
Mr McGrath said Knight grabbed the gun from his son's unit next door, cocked it and ap- proached his wife.
He later told police he meant to kill her.
The gun went off prematurely when he was standing just an arm's length away.
The bullet missed his wife and the shot brought Knight back to his senses, the court heard.
Mr Lo Monaco said Knight had never been in trouble with the law and had worked hard as a respectable member of so- ciety.
But he had been struggling to cope with the reality of spend- ing his first Christmas alone.
Since the incident Knight had moved to the Sunshine Coast and has taken a strong interest in religion, hoping one day to become a Presbyterian minister and help couples with marital difficulties. He had also remarried.
Judge Julie Ryrie handed Knight a nine-month suspended sentence, telling him his previ- ous good record and work histo- ry had saved him from serving prison time.