A man who considered his dog a "child substitute" and rocked it to sleep every night murdered his partner because she woke the animal up, a court has been told.
Anthony Sherna, 42, is accused of strangling Susanne Wild, 53, and burying her body in the backyard of their home at Tarneit in Melbourne's southwest. He's pleaded not guilty in the Victorian Supreme Court to murder.
The court was told Sherna rocked his dog, Hubble, to sleep every night and that the animal was a "child substitute".
As he was nursing the animal in February last year, Ms Wild approached him, still angry over a mobile phone bill, and woke up the dog.
Prosecutor Maitland Lincoln said Sherna put the Jack Russell-Maltese Terrier cross to bed in the laundry, then removed the cord from his dressing gown and strangled Ms Wild.
He then went to the Plaza Tavern at Werribee where he played poker machines for four hours before going to a brothel.
After a couple of days, Ms Wild's body began to smell so Sherna wrapped it in sheets and fastened it with rope and plastic.
The court was told he took his dog to a pet resort, then buried his de facto in the backyard, adding a row of plants alongside the grave.
The accounts manager later confessed to police, telling them Ms Wild had screamed and caused Hubble to shake with fright.
Mr Lincoln said it was clear that Sherna intended to kill or inflict serious harm on Ms Wild, and that his actions were conscious, voluntary and deliberate.
But Defence lawyer Jane Dixon SC said Sherna's reaction to Ms Wild "storming in and shouting at him" was sudden and unplanned.
She said it had followed "years of harassment, intimidation and abuse".
"Nothing he did was ever right," Ms Dixon told the court.
She said the couple had no friends, never socialised and never went on holidays or to restaurants.
Sherna's former workmate Nathan Webb said Sherna received "playful ribbing" from his mates that he was "under the thumb" and would never socialise with them outside work because Ms Wild disapproved.
Ms Dixon said Sherna had always intended to hand himself in to police and the jury had to decide whether he acted defensively.
Senior Constable Graeme Raynor gave evidence that Sherna was "extremely relieved" when he told police where her body was.
Sherna had consumed up to eight beers and Ms Wild, his de facto partner of 18 years, several glasses of red wine on the night she was killed, the court heard.
The trial continues on Friday.
I love my dogs and my cats... but if my partner woke them up I don't think I'd go to this extreme!