A man who stalked and savagely murdered a young woman in her own bed should not be jailed for life because there’s a chance he will be rehabilitated, a lawyer says.
Luay Sako’s risk of reoffending was found to be high, with a forensic psychiatrist determining it’s likely he will stalk and harm another person once released from custody.
But Sako’s barrister Tim Marsh argued his client’s risk could be reduced through mental health treatment and a life term in prison was not needed to protect the community.
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“A sentence measured in decades is already a stern sentence,” Marsh submitted.
“If an appropriate fixed-term head sentence was imposed, he would be in significantly advanced age before he’s even eligible for parole.”
Sako, 39, has pleaded guilty to murdering Celeste Manno at her home in Melbourne’s northeast in the early hours of November 16, 2020.
She had been asleep when he smashed through her bedroom window and repeatedly stabbed her to death.
Sako and Manno were briefly co-workers, but Sako began harassing and stalking the 23-year-old after she turned him down romantically, sending her more than 140 messages.
Luay Sako will likely stalk and harm another woman if released from prison, a psychiatrist said. Credit: AAP
Manno went to police and obtained an intervention order against Sako, but the contact only ceased after he was charged with breaching the order.
The day after he was arrested, Sako bought the knife he would use to kill Manno three months later, prosecutor Patrick Bourke said.
Sako used Instagram and Google Earth to locate Manno’s home, and he drove past the property at least three times.
He also searched online for the house’s floor plan so he could determine where Manno’s bedroom was.
It was only after she posted a photo of her boyfriend for the first time on Instagram that Sako broke into her home and killed her.
“It was the sight of Ms Manno with another man that triggered those motivations of anger, jealousy and rage,” Bourke submitted.
The prosecutor said Sako intentionally chose to attack Manno in her own bed in the early hours of the morning when she was most vulnerable.
On the night before her death, Celeste Manno posted a photo of her boyfriend Christopher Ridsdale for the first time. Credit: 7NEWS
“He doesn’t rock up to her workplace in the middle of the day,” Bourke said.
“He finds her house, he finds her bedroom and goes there in the middle of the night.”
The murder was an unprovoked, savage and cowardly attack, Bourke said.
Sako’s barrister did not dispute that assertion but noted Sako’s severe personality disorder altered his reasoning and perception of those around him.
“It’s not inaccurate to say he was motivated by jealousy and anger, but it doesn’t capture the full nuisance,” Marsh said.
The defence barrister submitted Sako’s moral culpability was significantly reduced because of his mental illness.
But Bourke argued there was a high level of moral culpability and Justice Jane Dixon should have a “realistic consideration of the evidence.”
Sako’s prospects of rehabilitation were poor because his personality disorder was so entrenched, and he was not willing to engage in meaningful treatment, Bourke said.
The prosecutor submitted a sentence of life in prison was reserved for the most serious cases.
“Our submission is this is the most serious of examples for all sorts of reasons,” he told the court.
Justice Dixon reserved sentencing for a later date