25-year-old stabs mother to death following argument, decapitates her and leaves head on neighbor's front yard
Jessica Camilleri was arrested after her 57-year-old mother Rita was found dead at their St. Clair, Sydney residence on Saturday
A daughter who allegedly stabbed her mother to death and decapitated her before dumping her head in a neighbor's yard was reportedly seen laughing with her just a day before the shocking incident.
At about 11.40 pm Saturday, 57-year-old Rita Camilleri was found dead with her body lying on the kitchen floor at their St. Clair, Sydney residence, Daily Mail reports.
Jessica, Rita's 25-year-old daughter, was charged with murder after she allegedly carried her mother's head down the road and left it in front of a neighbor's house.
According to friends, the mother-daughter duo were "very close" and were always spotted together at the home.
"Jessica has major mental health issues but Rita always supported her," Jessica's friend Cathleen Day told Daily Mail 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."
The neighbor was initially confused when he found police placing tarpaulin over evidence in his front yard.
According to him, Rita and Jessica were "always together" and also had a pet parrot at the home.
Meanwhile, Jessica's best friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while Jessica had been in and out of mental hospitals, the mother and daughter shared a close relationship.
"I saw Jess and her mum the night before, they were fine and laughing," she told the Daily Telegraph.
Jessica is scheduled to be held for a mental health assessment after her appearance at the Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday.
"I really need medical attention. I told all the officers and told the police at the station," she told the court. "I cannot move my fingers properly because of the incident. I am not fit to come to jail until I get cleaned up. I could not wash myself properly in the shower to get all the blood off because of my fingers."
The 25-year-old said she suffered from a series of mental health conditions, including autism, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety.
Responding officers described the scene on Sunday as "one of the most horrific" they'd ever witnessed. Some officers needed counseling later.
According to the report, Rita was of Maltese heritage and was divorced from Jessica's father. The erstwhile couple had two daughters together.
Cathleen said her friend's death was devastating. The pair had met two years ago through their mutual love for the Bay City Rollers boy band, she said.
"I had a bad feeling, Rita always texts me," she told Daily Mail 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."
Meanwhile, Jessica's manager at Kmart in Mount Druitt reportedly said she had not turned up for work for about a week.
Neighbors heard a "violent argument" in the kitchen between the two women in the late hours of Saturday when they alerted cops. They ran to help as the argument grew louder, but eventually found the victim's severed head on the lawn.
Officers subsequently arrested the daughter in the front yard of the neighbor's house and took her to St Mary's Police Station.
"This is up there with one of the most significant, most horrific scenes police have had to face," Detective Inspector Brett McFadden told reporters. "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."
Rita was said to have been babysitting a four-year-old boy Saturday night. According to the report, the child sustained a minor head injury and was taken to Westmead Children's Hospital before being 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.
The investigation continues.