Deakin University lecturer Adam Brown breaks into the murder of wife Chen Cheng in Croydon North

Disturbing details emerge about how a gender and women’s studies teacher killed his wife in a horrific attack at their home as he sobbed in court: ‘Help me, he’s trying to kill me’

  • Uni teacher sobs during pre-sentence hearing
  • Pleaded guilty to his wife’s murder
  • The court heard harrowing details on Friday

Neighbors heard a Melbourne mother screaming ‘help me, he’s trying to kill me’ just before a university lecturer killed his wife in their childhood home.

Adam Brown, 40, a former digital media lecturer at Deakin University 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 in a dock at Melbourne’s High Court on Friday during a pre-sentence hearing, and was supported in court by more than a dozen family and friends.

The 35-year-old mother of a child was found lying in the back garden of their home in Croydon North in April 2022, after being stabbed multiple times.

Ms Cheng was born in China, moved to Melbourne to study in 2015 and the couple met the following year.

They got married in Ms. Cheng’s homeland in 2017 and had a child together in 2020.

Adam Brown will arrive at Victoria’s High Court on Friday for a pre-sentencing hearing

While no domestic violence cases had been reported, Brown had anger issues and sought help from a psychologist the year before the murder, the court was told.

Ms. Cheng also sought mental health care after a traumatic childbirth.

On the evening of April 30 last year, the couple were arguing about future kindergarten arrangements when the fight escalated and moved through several rooms of their home, prosecutor Nanette Rogers SC said.

Brown claimed Ms. Cheng spat in his face, punched him around the ears, and he tried to restrain and push her away. They walked into the kitchen and the pair both armed themselves with knives, the prosecutor said.

Adam Brown (left) has pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife Chen Cheng (right)

Adam Brown (left) has 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 his wife had bitten him on the arm.

“The fight moved to the backyard, both landing on the ground as they struggled over a single blade,” said Dr. Rogers.

“He realized that she had suffered serious injuries in the battle.”

She said Brown had not provided an explanation as to how his wife suffered so many stab wounds. He suffered only minor injuries.

Brown tried to resuscitate Ms. Cheng and called triple zero.

Neighbors heard screams and screams coming from the house before she died, and heard Brown say “stop,” “go down,” or “shut up.” Concerned, the neighbors knocked on the front door.

Mother of one Chen Cheng (pictured) died of stab wounds to her chest and neck.

Mother of one Chen Cheng (pictured) died of stab wounds to her chest and neck.

When no answer came, they heard Ms. Cheng yell “help me, he’s trying to kill me.”

They pounded on the garage and Brown let them in while one of the neighbors performed CPR. He told the neighbors that they had stabbed each other.

Ms Cheng was pronounced dead by paramedics at 10:40 pm, with an autopsy finding 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 accepted he would serve a lengthy prison sentence for the murder.

The hearing before Judge Mark Champion continues.

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Adam Brown (pictured) previously taught digital media, gender studies, and women's history at Deakin University

Adam Brown (pictured) previously taught digital media, gender studies, and women’s history at Deakin University


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