A woman who “twisted her mother’s head off” and carried it onto the streets outside her Sydney home will be released from prison years sooner after successfully appealing her sentence. An autopsy revealed Jessica Camilleri, 25, inflicted “at least 100 stab wounds” on Rita Camilleri, 57, and used seven different knives during the gruesome attack in Sydney, Australia.
In 2021, she was found not guilty of murder and was instead sentenced to a lesser charge of manslaughter owing to “substantial mental health issues”, including ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder, reported news.com.au.
At the time of arrest, Camilleri told the police that she had acted in self-defense and her mother had tried to kill her.
However, later she admitted to a forensic psychologist that she was “hacking like a butcher” and twisted her mother’s head off.
Camilleri was sentenced to 21 years behind bars by a Sydney court in March 2021, with a non-parole period of 16 years.
In Sydney Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Peter Hamill dismissed claims that Camilleri’s sentence was “manifestly excessive” and the sentencing judge had been incorrect in their assessment of the “gravity” of the crime.
Justice Hamill with support from two other justices Christine Adamson and Richard Cavanagh ruled that Camilleri should be resentenced.
Justice Hammil said: “Objectively, the facts were gruesome and brutal and involved a frenzied attack on an innocent victim in her own home.
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“On the other hand, the offense was spontaneous and the result of Camilleri losing control of herself because of her complex psychiatric illness.
“Her behavior of walking into the street with her mother’s head and dropping it, as well as asking emergency services personnel whether they could reattach it, demonstrated the extent to which the applicant’s conduct was divorced from the real world.”
Based on the evidence provided by a number of psychiatrists and a psychologist, Justice Hammil noted Camilleri had only a “simple understanding” of moral wrongfulness due to her intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder.
He ordered that she be resentenced to a prison term of 16 years, with a non-parole period of 12 years.
The court was told the horrifying attack started as Camilleri was unhappy with a young relative being at the home where she lived there with her mother, for whom she was the sole carer, on July 20, 2021.
The facts shared by the police stated that a neighbor reportedly saw Camilleri “yelling and throwing her arms about, and swearing and screaming at her mother” for “always embarrassing her.”
The mother-daughter clashed further after a home doctor told Camilleri that she was suffering stomach problems, with Rita insisting on her daughter being taken to hospital.
Camilleri ripped the phone from her mother when she tried to call an ambulance.
Police said: “Camilleri followed her mother and a struggle ensued in the bedroom. Camilleri knocked her mother to the ground, dragged her by her hair into the kitchen and restrained her.
“She then used a number of kitchen knives to inflict ‘an indeterminate but very high number of knife blows at her mother’s head and neck, ultimately decapitating Mrs Camilleri at the C2 vertebra’.”
A relative attempted to stop the attack and jumped on Camilleri and struck out at her with the cardboard lid of a toy box.
Police continued: “When the applicant went to push the (relative) off her, she caused a deep wound in his cheek and lacerated his head and hands. The (relative) vomited at some point during the incident.”
The sentencing judge ruled in 2021 that “the attack upon Rita Camilleri was entirely unprovoked”.
They said: “(The attack) represented nothing more than an expression of the offender’s rage at her mother for her attempt to call an ambulance.”
Camilleri will be eligible for parole from July 20, 2031.