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November 25, 2020
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Man charged with murder of call centre colleague  

MELBOURNE, Australia: A man has been charged over the death of 23-year-old Celeste Manno, who was found dead at her Mernda home on Monday.

Roxburgh Park man Luay Nader Sakwas, 35, was charged on Thursday afternoon with murder and will face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court via an online hearing on Thursday evening.

Sakwas has been under police guard in hospital since the 23-year-old call centre worker found stabbed to death at the Mernda home in the early hours of Monday morning.

The 35-year-old is the main suspect in the homicide investigation.

The suspect had been under police guard in hospital since being arrested on Monday, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

He was then transferred to a Melbourne police station on Thursday and charged.

He turned away from cameras as he was driven to police headquarters by detectives.

Sakwas was a colleague of Manno before he was fired from the South Morang call centre they both worked at.

Manno’s brother Alessandro claimed the “obsessed” ex-colleague had been sending the 23-year-old “disgusting messages” before her death. She had supported the former colleague before he allegedly became inappropriate.

Meanwhile, the family of the suspect said they had no knowledge of their son’s alleged infatuation with his former colleague and said their son was a “loner and an introvert”, who would spend most of his time in his bedroom barely speaking to anyone. The suspect’s mother said: “I wish I was killed instead. Not a young woman on the cusp of her life.”

Read more: Girl killed by ‘obsessed’ former co-worker at her Sydney house

Manno’s grieving family claimed the young call centre worker had been failed by a system that should have protected her against her suspected killer.

The “selfless” volunteer’s father Tony has demanded more protection for women like his daughter.

“The system let her down. They let my daughter down. It’s got to be changed,” he said.

There has been an outpouring of grief following the death of the university graduate and volunteer.

Manno’s brother Alessandro, 19, said his sister was his best friend and they had been joined at the hip since they were children.

“No one else in this world knows me as she did I’ve never had a bond like that and I never will again,” he said.

“I’ve never been more than two days without her … I feel like she’s going to come home from work any minute.”

Manno’s boyfriend Chris Ridsdale posted a loving tribute to his partner on social media.