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January 28, 2021
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Woman found not guilty of murder after decapitating her mother in Sydney

SYDNEY, Australia: A woman on trial for decapitating her mother was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, a less serious offence than murder, although the result is the same, in Sydney in July last year.

Jessica Camilleri had argued she was mentally impaired at the time.

Her defence lawyers say that psychiatric illness caused a substantial mental impairment at the time.

Rita had been so desperate to help her daughter that she paid a medium $2,500 (£1,000) to “get the demon out” of her, the court heard.

She took her to a female “spirit communicator” as “she was desperate for anything to help”, a friend of Rita and her other daughter, Kristy Torrisi, said.

The trial has heard that she enjoyed horror movies including the Jeepers Creepers film franchise.

Rita’s decapitated head was found on the footpath near her home, in front of a neighbour’s house.

The remainder of the grandmother’s body was found in parts on the kitchen floor, including the tip of her nose, eyeballs and tongue, Crown Prosecutor Tony McCarthy told the jury.

Police arrived at the St Clair home about 11:40 pm after reports of an argument between two women to find the body of her mother of in the kitchen.

Her head had been dumped down the street in a neighbour’s front yard.

Camilleri will face a sentence hearing in February next year.

She had asked police at the scene if doctors could work “miracles” and “sew her head back on”, an NSW court has heard.

“No, that’s a bit of a stretch,” an officer told Jessica Camilleri on her neighbour’s front yard soon after the July 2019 homicide.

Footage of the conversation was played on Wednesday to the NSW Supreme Court, where Camilleri has pleaded not guilty to murder.

The jury is set to decide if the charge could be reduced to manslaughter due to the partial defence of being unable to control her actions due to a substantial impairment of the mind.

Camilleri, then 25, stabbed Rita Camilleri more than 100 times in the St Clair home they shared before taking her mother’s head to the footpath and knocking on her neighbour’s door, the trial has heard.

She was stopped by police on her neighbour’s front yard, wearing nothing but a dress and with hands coated in blood, the footage showed.

“I’m sorry but my mum’s had enough of me,” the daughter, then 25, told Senior Constable Anthony D’Agostino.

She continuously asked for confirmation that there was nothing that could be done to bring her mother back.

“I’m certain that once you lose your head, that’s it,” the officer replied.

Camilleri said the attack occurred as she was heading for a shower.

“This was self-defence – my mum picked up the knife first,” she said.

“This is all self-defence but no one’s going to believe me.

“I’ve been in and out of a mental health unit. I’ve got a mental illness … I’ve got a lot of things. I can’t really explain it to you much.”

At one point, she told police she’d never murdered anyone in her life – “this is a first” – and questioned whether in a decade “this” will pass.