A man has gone on trial in the ACT Supreme Court charged with helping his partner to end her life.

On New Year's Day in 2011, a 25-year-old Canberra woman died from an overdose of prescription drugs and heroin.

She left behind a suicide note titled 'My Suicide with John' and a hand-written will leaving the care of her 3-year-old daughter to her mother.

The note thanked her family for everything they had done, asked them to promise to look after her daughter and apologised for not being able to keep on going.

It is alleged her partner John Christopher Walmsley, 34, entered into a suicide pact with her, but he survived and has been charged with aiding her death.

On Monday, the 12 person jury was warned the evidence would be distressing but was asked to leave their emotions at the door.

The woman's mother was first to give evidence and told the court that her daughter had suffered from bipolar disorder from an early age and had often self harmed.

But she explained that she did not fully appreciate the consequences of her daughter's behaviour at the time.

"Looking back now, I understand she was just screaming for help," she said.

In the days leading up to her death, the woman had been living in a Canberra detox facility while she waited for entry into a drug rehabilitation program.

The woman checked out of the facility on the day she died, explaining to her support worker that she could not quit and so was returned a $500 cash bond she had paid on entry.

Just hours later most of that money was in the hands of a drug dealer and the woman and her partner were supplied a large quantity of heroin.

The jury heard Walmsley and his partner then spent the evening of New Years Day in their apartment injecting the heroin.

Walmsley told police that he kept waking up during the night and preparing more heroin for the two of them.

"I didn't think she'd had enough to overdose," he said.

He said he again woke up around 3:00am the next day and she felt cold.

"She wasn't moving, she wasn't doing anything," he said.

"I couldn't help her."

Despite the note found beside her body, Walmsley denies it was suicide pact.

He said he knew she had been unhappy, but he did not know why she wanted to die and he did not wish to either.

He told police he did everything he could to save her.

Members of her family sobbed as the jury was played the triple-0 call made by Walmsley, in which he can be heard crying and performing CPR on her for almost 10 minutes before paramedics arrived at the Campbell flat.

He has been charged with supplying the heroin and helping her to end her life.

Prosecutor Jon White explained that while suicide is not a crime, helping someone else to commit it was.

"Whichever way you cut it, this is a sad story," he said.

 

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