‚ÄčKirsten Lamb took the stand in her own defence Wednesday and admitted she smashed her mother's head several times with a hammer, then slit her throat.

Under cross-examination, Lamb insisted that fear, not anger, motivated the gruesome attack.

At one point, Crown Prosecutor Danielle Green asked Lamb why she kept attacking an unarmed woman.

"Would you agree you did that because you were angry with her?" Green asked.

"No, I was frightened," Lamb testified. "I couldn't risk being hit in the head again. She had her fists. She was still armed. And very dangerous."

blood on stairs

This police photograph of blood on the stairway was entered as an exhibit at the trial. (CBC)

Lamb, 32, is charged with second-degree murder. On the stand Wednesday, she described a lifetime dysfunctional relationship with her mother.

But she testified she didn't hate her mother, but rather was "scared of her."

Lamb told court her mother, Sandra, was a terrible parent and refused to call her by anything but her first name.

Lamb said she was abandoned by her mother when she was four.

She testified her mother attacked her with a hammer when she was 16, and "caved in" her skull.

Sixteen years later, she told court about another hammer, this time in her own hands.

Late on a Saturday night in November 2010, Kirsten Lamb showed up at the back door of her mother's Capilano-area bungalow. It was dark outside, and Lamb knocked. When her mother opened the door, she stepped inside the back hallway.

The two women argued. Lamb said her mother punched her in the face, then stepped into the kitchen.  

The Crown prosecutor asked Lamb why she didn't just leave.  

"I froze," she testified. "I didn't have time to leave."

'Dazed and confused'

Lamb claimed her mother came back to the hallway with a hammer. They wrestled for control of the weapon. More punches were thrown and Lamb said her mother lost her balance and they both "plummeted" down the stairs.

"I was dazed and confused", she said. "Disoriented."  

Lamb testified her mother stood up and walked down the short basement hallway to turn on the laundry room light. Her mother had the hammer. The two struggled and the daughter took it away.

Lamb admitted she bashed her mother on the head with the hammer more than five times before the older woman collapsed to the floor.

"As she fell, I was hitting her," Lamb testified.

She continued to strike her mother while she was on the floor.  

She then cut her mother's throat with a knife because, she testified, because she didn't think her mother "was injured badly enough."

"At some point before you left the basement, did you look to see what you had done?" Green asked.

"I tried to check her once," Lamb replied. "All I could see was blood."

After the killing, the accused said she left her mother's house and made the 90-minute trip back to her home in the village of Rosalind. She admitted she was "covered in blood" and said she "couldn't think straight."

"I felt I had to get to somewhere safe before I collapsed."

Once inside her house, Lamb got rid of the hammer and knife, then peeled off her blood-soaked clothes and threw them in the garbage.

Her ex-husband brought her three young daughters back to her that night. Lamb didn't tell him or anyone else what she had done.  

The accused returned to her normal life. She said she "just took each moment as it came," continued to care for her daughters, cleaned the blood stains in her car and went to her mother's funeral.

Lamb had Christmas at a friend's house. On Boxing Day, the police knocked on her door to arrest her.  

She said she wasn't surprised.  

"By that time, I knew that I had killed her," she testified.  

The Crown suggested Lamb hated her mother. That she wanted her dead and out of her life. That the attack was motivated by anger.  

Lamb denied those suggestions.  

"I can live with myself just fine," she said. "My children are alive, safe and sound".  

Lamb is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.

The jury has been told the defence may argue she should be found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

janice.johnston@cbc.ca    

@cbcjanjohnston