A jury has been shown a confronting crime scene video of a Sydney woman who had allegedly murdered her mother asking police “do I get the death penalty?”
WARNING: This story contains graphic content that some readers may find upsetting.
Jessica Camilleri stood on the front lawn of a neighbour’s St Clair home in July last year, covered in blood, speaking with officers.
The 27-year-old has pleaded not guilty to murdering Rita Camilleri by decapitation, and her lawyers are arguing mental health grounds as a partial defence.
During the police body-worn camera footage played in the NSW Supreme Court, Ms Camilleri insists it was self-defence.
She points officers to her mother’s head lying on the concrete.
“Can I ask, is my mum dead?” she asks.
“Don’t think I’m insane, but you can’t bring her back to life?”
Ms Camilleri says she knows “doctors can do miracles”.
“That’s a bit of a stretch,” an officer replies.
With a spotlight shone on her floral dress, Ms Camilleri repeatedly claims her mother was abusive and that she was provoked.
The video captured a strange series of questions to police by the defendant, ranging from heaven and “the other side”, to whether they had ever seen a crime this bad, and potential penalties.
“Is anything going to happen to me … do I get the death penalty?” Ms Camilleri asks at one stage.
“We don’t do the death penalty in Australia,” an officer says.
“OK, so I’ve got nothing to worry about.”
Ms Camilleri requested her family attend because “they’re the only ones who can explain it properly”.
“I’ve got a mental illness,” she says.
The court was also played a triple-0 call Ms Camilleri made from her mother’s phone, in which she admits to killing her mother.
“I had my mum’s head in my hand, I know this sounds insane, I was taking it to show my neighbour,” she says.
Ms Camilleri’s sister gasped and left the courtroom in tears during the phone call.
The court has heard Ms Camilleri experienced a range of social, behavioural and learning difficulties from a young age.
A neighbour told the court Rita Camilleri, who was a sole carer, felt “let down” by psychiatrists and all support services.
The jury was told Ms Camilleri was meant to be on medication but would deliberately vomit it back up.
The trial, before Justice Helen Wilson, continues.
Family and domestic violence support services:
- 1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732
- Women’s Crisis Line: 1800 811 811
- Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491
- Lifeline (24 hour crisis line): 131 114
- Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277