A Perth man accused of fatally stabbing his mother, eight-year-old brother and 15-year-old sister claimed to be “greater than Jesus” and that serial killers were pursuing him while detained in hospital days before the slayings.
Teancum Vernon Petersen-Crofts, 21, is facing a judge-alone trial in the WA Supreme Court over the deaths of his mother Michelle Petersen, 48, eight-year-old brother Rua and 15-year-old sister Bella at their Ellenbrook home on July 15, 2018.
He has pleaded not guilty on unsoundness of mind to murdering the trio.
The court on Friday heard harrowing details about the killings and Petersen-Crofts’ increasingly bizarre behaviour in the preceding days.
Prosecutor Paul Usher told the court each of the victims had received between 44 and 54 stab wounds, while neighbours had reported hearing screams and what one person described as sounding like a “growling animal”.
He said Bella was still alive in the backyard when police arrived and that paramedics had reported her softly pleading for help and asking if she was going to die.
She died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.
The court was shown a photo of the alleged murder weapon, a large kitchen knife with a 20cm blade which was covered in blood.
CCTV footage of a shirtless Petersen-Crofts pacing outside a nearby 7-Eleven service station early on July 15 and then speaking to an employee through a service window was also played, as was a recording of a triple-zero call made by the worker.
Mr Usher said Petersen-Crofts, who had blood on his hands, told the employee he had just killed his mother and his siblings.
“If I didn’t kill them, they would have killed me,” he told the worker.
“I killed them because they were hitting me with a club and poking me with a knife. My siblings were laughing at me.”
The court heard Ms Petersen had told friends she feared for herself and her younger children because of Petersen-Crofts’ behaviour.
Mr Usher said Petersen-Crofts, who had a history of mental health issues, had admitted intravenous methamphetamine use in the weeks leading up to the killings.
He turned up at his local police station on July 13, shirtless and sweating profusely and claiming his neighbour was a serial killer.
Petersen-Crofts was detained and transferred to St John of God Hospital in Midland, where doctors said he was likely floridly psychotic.
But the following day he appeared calm and doctors decided to discharge him, despite his mother expressing concerns.
He attended Rua’s baptism that afternoon and was described as talking about gods and goddesses and life after death.
In a recorded police interview the day after the alleged murders, Petersen-Crofts again claimed his neighbour was a serial killer and blamed him for killing his family members.
Later in the interview, he said a deity named “Big Papa” had committed the crimes.
He also claimed he had “saved four billion people last night” and repeatedly stated “put me on death row” before refusing to answer further questions.
Known to police
Petersen-Crofts also spoke to police two weeks before the slayings when he was arrested on suspicion of breaching a protective bail order related to his mother.
“Why is my mum telling lies when I’ve only shown her niceness? Can’t she be arrested for this?” he asked in a recording of the interview.
“I know what she’s doing. She’s getting in my head. She just wants to get payback.”
Petersen-Crofts has been detained in a secure psychiatric facility since his arrest.
The court heard evidence from psychiatrist Daniel de Klerk, who has interviewed Petersen-Crofts twice in recent months.
Dr de Klerk said he believed Petersen-Crofts had treatment-resistant schizophrenia, both at the time of the interviews and the alleged crimes.
He said Petersen-Crofts had exhibited continuing hallucinations and delusions.
The trial continues.