GRAPHIC WARNING: A Sydney woman who chopped her mum's head off with kitchen knives has been sentenced to 21 years jail over the gruesome killing.

Jessica Camilleri, now 27, appeared in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday morning after being found guilty by a jury last December of the manslaughter of her mother Rita in their St Clair home two years ago.

She had pleaded not guilty to the 57-year-old's murder due to mental impairment.

The trial was told the pair were arguing when Camilleri - who had a history of refusing to take her psychiatric medication - set upon her mother with kitchen knives, only stopping the attack when her head fell off and her eyeballs popped out of their sockets.

Rita Camilleri.
Rita Camilleri.

 

Jessica Camilleri will spend at least 16 years and two months behind bars.
Jessica Camilleri will spend at least 16 years and two months behind bars.

Justice Helen Wilson, SC, said the decapitation must be regarded as one of the most serious instances of manslaughter as she detailed Mrs Camilleri's terrifying final moments.

"I'm satisfied the offender knocked her mother to the floor and then dragged her by her hair into the kitchen," the judge said.

"What the offender did was to carry out an extremely violent, sustained knife attack upon her mother, which must have extended over a period of many, many minutes, and which involved the use of seven separate knives, four of which broke due to the force with which they were used.

"The focus of the onslaught was upon her mother's head and face, with over 100 individual blows landed, many on Mrs Camilleri's right cheek.

"Mrs Camilleri was conscious and trying to defend herself for long enough to have sustained over 90 defensive injuries and a knife wound to a vein in her neck.

"She must have been in extreme pain and both shocked and terrified at what was being done to her by her own beloved child."

Kristy Torrisi, (far right) leaves Darlinghurst Supreme Court with family and friends after her sister Jessica Camilleri was sentenced to 21 years and seven months. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker
Kristy Torrisi, (far right) leaves Darlinghurst Supreme Court with family and friends after her sister Jessica Camilleri was sentenced to 21 years and seven months. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker

Camilleri was previously diagnosed with a range of conditions before her mother's death, including an intellectual disability, an autism disorder and ADHD.

However, she didn't like to take her medication and Mrs Camilleri had no recourse when she failed to do so, the trial heard.

Camilleri later told a forensic psychiatrist she bit off her mother's nose and that she got the idea to cut off her head from horror movies.

The crime scene at St Clair. Picture: David Swift.
The crime scene at St Clair. Picture: David Swift.

 

The gruesome details of Rita Camilleri’s death has been heard in court. Picture: David Swift.
The gruesome details of Rita Camilleri’s death has been heard in court. Picture: David Swift.

Justice Wilson said Camilleri fully understood the wrongful nature of her actions and had squeezed one of her mother's eyeballs after the decapitation.

"The removal of Mrs Camilleri's eyes does not appear to have been an act of deep and uncontrolled rage, rather, at this stage, the offender was indulging a sort of macabre curiosity sparked by her obsessive viewing of horror movies," she said.

Justice Wilson said there was a risk someone else could be attacked and sentenced Camilleri to 21 years and seven months jail with a non-parole period of 16 years and two months.

With time already served, she'll be eligible for parole when she's 41 in 2035.

Pictured hugging a family member is Kristy Torrisi, the sister of Jessica Camilleri. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker
Pictured hugging a family member is Kristy Torrisi, the sister of Jessica Camilleri. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker

Justice Wilson also warned that when Camilleri is released she could be subject to NSW's high-risk offenders act, which allows for the extended supervision of the state's most dangerous criminals to protect the public.

"She will not have a calm and safe family home to go to upon release, what stresses she may face can only be imagined - the possibility of a violent outburst against someone in the community looms large," the judge said.

Camilleri's older sister Kristy Torrisi, 33, yelled out "thank you" as the sentence was read out before bursting into tears.


Originally published as Sister shouts 'thanks' as beheader sentenced


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