The wife of a top Sydney neurosurgeon has broken down in court after saying she installed a camera in their eastern suburbs home for protection.
Emma Steel organised the surveillance inside their Bellevue Hill house after discovering her clothes and shoes had been chopped up.
"I put a camera in our house to protect us," Ms Steel said on Tuesday before breaking down in tears.
Timothy Steel, 56, is facing charges in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court of common assault, destroying or damaging property and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Ms Steel says she was kicked and punched during a scuffle over her mobile phone in their home in December 2019.
The St Vincent's Hospital senior spine surgeon allegedly assaulted her four times, pinned her down and ripped her hair extensions out before destroying her iPhone in the backyard pool.
But defence lawyer Paul McGirr alleged Ms Steel lashed out at her husband after he spent the night in a hotel room with his receptionist.
About 4am on the morning in question, Ms Steel messaged the receptionist after Steel returned home without his wallet or phone.
Ms Steel says she already knew he was having an affair with the woman and was therefore not angered by the event.
Steel has also been accused of financial abuse by withholding the full amount of his wife's monthly allowance, which was about $10,000 for personal use and another $10,000 for household expenses.
Mr McGirr told magistrate Vivien Swain that Ms Steel was given nearly $176,000 by her husband between June 1 and December 31, 2019.
He also queried the $1.3 million Steel deposited into her superannuation account, questioning whether this could constitute financial abuse.
"You're upset because you think your husband earns between $4 million and $6 million and you should be getting more," Mr McGirr said.
But Ms Steel said Steel over several years changed the amount he deposited, depending on her behaviour.
"Then I would cry to him and say 'Tim, I have children to feed and I need to live my life'," Ms Steel told the court.
"I was bribed, I was a puppet."
Photographs were shown in court detailing red nail marks on the accused's skin which Ms Steel says were done in self-defence.
The hearing continues.
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Australian Associated Press