A daughter was laughing together with her mother just a day before she allegedly stabbed her to death and threw her head in a neighbour’s yard.
Rita Camilleri, 57, was found dead with her body lying in the kitchen of their house in St Clair, western Sydney, about 11.40pm on Saturday.
Her daughter Jessica, 25, allegedly carried her head down the road before leaving it in a neighbour’s front yard. She has been charged with murder.
Friends said the pair were ‘very close’ and were always seen together at the home, with no apparent conflict until the late-night screaming match.
Rita Camilleri, 57, was found dead with her body lying inside her house and her severed head in a neighbour’s front yard down the street
Her daughter Jessica, 25, allegedly carried her head down the road before leaving it in a neighbour’s front yard. She has been charged with murder
‘Jessica has major mental health issues but Rita always supported her,’ Ms Camilleri’s friend Cathleen Day told Angle News Australia.
‘They were very close and there were no signs at all that they weren’t getting on. It’s so sad, I’m devastated.’
A confused neighbour, who was startled to find police putting a tarpaulin over evidence in his front yard, said they were ‘always together’ and had a pet parrot they loved.
Jessica’s best friend said the young woman has been in and out of mental hospitals but the mother and daughter seemed fine.
‘I saw Jess and her mum the night before, they were fine and laughing,’ she told the Daily Telegraph.
Police on Sunday described the scene as ‘one of the most horrific’ they ever had to face, with officers needing counselling after seeing it.
A 25-year-old daughter has been arrested over the suspected murder of her 57-year-old mother
Ms Day, who met Ms Camilleri two years ago through their mutual love of the Bay City Rollers boy band, said her death was devastating.
‘I had a bad feeling, Rita always texts me,’ Cathleen Day told Angle News Australia.
‘To add to the sadness, Rita was looking after her bedridden frail mother too… this is just horrific.
‘She was fun, irreverent and vibrant. She loved music and was very community minded. She connected with everyone because she was lovely.’
Officers arrived at Ms Camilleri’s home after neighbours heard a ‘violent argument’ in the kitchen between the two women.
Neighbours ran to help as the sounds of the argument grew more violent, before encountering the severed head on the lawn.
The daughter was arrested in the front yard of a neighbour’s house and taken to St Mary’s Police Station, and was later charged with murder.
‘This is up there with one of the most significant, most horrific scenes police have had to face,’ Detective Inspector Brett McFadden told reporters.
Ms Camilleri is believed to have been babysitting a four-year-old relative on Saturday night. He is not the accused woman’s son
Officers arrived at a St Clair Avenue home in Sydney’s west at about 11.40pm on Saturday after an argument broke out between two women
‘There is no stepping away from the fact that this was horrific and a significant attack, and the injuries that the victim suffered were extensive.
‘It is a very difficult, challenging, confronting investigation.
‘We are working with the information available to us and working with the family to establish exactly what has happened, but this is not anything that was foreseeable.’
Multiple knives were seized at the scene and are being forensically examined.
Ms Camilleri is believed to have been babysitting a four-year-old grandson on Saturday night. He is not the accused woman’s son.
The little boy sustained a minor head injury and was taken to Westmead Children’s Hospital but has since been released.
‘He is being cared for by his family and getting medical support during the course of the day. The family is distraught as to what has taken place,’ Inspector McFadden said.
Officers have been interviewing neighbours and investigating the circumstances of the overnight incident.
The daughter was arrested in the front yard and taken to St Mary’s Police Station, where she remains and is still being questioned