An Iqaluit woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to manslaughter in the death of her husband three years ago.

Eulalie Ussak, 53, was originally charged with second-degree murder, Both Crown and defence lawyers agreed to accept the guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

The body of her husband, 50-year-old Kenneth MacFarlane, was found in 2009 at the scene of a shack fire near the home where the couple lived.

In court, Crown lawyer Leo Lane read from an agreed statement of facts.

On Dec. 12, 2009, MacFarlane was drinking vodka in the shack he used as a hangout. Ussak had just returned from a work trip to Ottawa and wanted him to come inside. The two argued, and Ussak threatened to burn down the shack.

That evening, she called a relative to take her two grandchildren to a house in Iqaluit then asked him to come back for her and her two daughters. He did, and witnessed more arguing before Ussak got into the truck.

As they drove to Iqaluit, the girls saw smoke and flames coming from the shack but Ussak told the driver not to turn back.

It's still not known what sparked the fire: it could have been a lit candle, the wood stove, or MacFarlane's cigarette.

In a statement to police, Ussak said she poured gasoline in the doorway. She said she wanted to get rid of the shack to stop her husband from drinking and beating her up, but that she also told him to get out.  

Witnesses and RCMP said MacFarlane was often verbally and physically abusive towards her.  

An investigation found he was alive at the time of the fire — he died from inhaling smoke and carbon monoxide.  

Ussak is free on bail until her sentencing hearing on Dec. 14.