Woman who decapitated her mother before gouging out her eyeballs and tongue found not guilty of murder

Jessica Camilleri killed Rita Camilleri by stabbing her over 100 times in the neck and head but her crime was convicted of a lesser offense over her mental condition


                            Woman who decapitated her mother before gouging out her eyeballs and tongue found not guilty of murder
(Getty Images)

A woman who brutally killed her mother after taking inspiration from horror movies has been found not guilty of murder. Jessica Camilleri from Australia first stabbed her mother Rita Camilleri over 100 times in the neck and head before gouging out her eyeballs, tongue, and nose. The horrific crime took place at the family’s St Clair home in Sydney on July 20, 2019. However, the jury convicted the 27-year-old killer of the lesser offense of manslaughter, considering her numerous mental health conditions, The Victor Harbor Times reported.

According to two forensic psychiatrists, at the time of the attack, Jessica suffered from a substantial impairment of the mind. Both the psychiatrists also said at the trial that she had an intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder that features a fixation on horror films, but only one expert accredited the loss of control to the mixture of those conditions.

While the other one called it an intermittent explosive disorder that had a significant role to play in the 2019 July incident. Reports stated that after killing the 57-year-old, her daughter took the severed head to a neighbor’s home “for evidence,” but the remains slipped from her hands and she left it on a footpath. First Jessica claimed that she killed Rita in “self-defense”, but later confessed before forensic psychiatrist David Greenberg by saying, “I remember stabbing my mum. I wouldn’t stop. I injured myself. I was getting her everywhere.” She also told Greenberg that she "saw red" when the victim threatened to call emergency services to take her to a mental institution.

Jessica became so furious that she reportedly dragged Rita by her hair down a corridor to the kitchen, where she took out a knife and started attacking her. The court was told that the younger woman’s obsession with the horror movies, like ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Jeepers Creepers’ inspired her to carry out the gruesome dismemberment. Jessica’s sister Kristy Torrisi also testified against her during the seven-day trial during which she said the felon had a habit of pausing and rewinding the scenes of killing or dismemberment in the films. Kristy said her sister usually went into “a frenzy” if she was restricted from watching those movies. Besides, the officers who first responded to the scene from last year’s attack said they found Jessica soaked in blood on the neighbor's front yard. At the time, she asked them if doctors could work "miracles" and "sew her head back on". "No, that's a bit of a stretch," an officer said to her to which she questioned: “So there's nothing that can be done to bring her back?"

Jessica’s defense attorney, Nathan Steel, told the jury that she “lacked a capacity to control herself due to the underlying abnormality of the mind”  and had a “complete and utter loss of control” after being triggered in the attack. Besides, murdering her mother, Jessica also had a history of being violent towards women. But she had a liking for men, especially those whose phone numbers contained her favorite digits. However, when during the phone conversation, if any of those men tried to end it, things turned "ugly". "'I will stab you and cut your head off with a knife'. It always ended like that, it did not matter who she was talking to," a statement provided by one of her victims stated.

The recent verdict has been announced by the jury after deliberating for just over two days. Judge Helen Wilson thanked the members of the jury, calling it a “difficult” trial. “The subject matter you have been asked to consider has been extremely confronting,” Wilson added. Jessica is expected to be sentenced on February 17, 2021.

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