Devastated mother of beloved 23-year-old girl allegedly killed by a stalker reveals her heartbreak at not being able to save her daughter’s life – as she campaigns for major law reform
- Celeste Manno was allegedly stabbed to death in her Melbourne home last year
- Former colleague Luay Sako, 35, was charged with murder and is facing courts
- She had reported her alleged stalker to police twice and had a restraining order
- Her mum Aggie Di Mauro is campaigning for changes to Victoria’s stalking laws
- Mrs Di Mauro is devastated she could not save her and ‘will not fail her again’
The heartbroken mother of a woman allegedly killed by a stalker is fighting for a major law reform in honour of her daughter.
Celeste Manno, 23, was allegedly stabbed to death as she slept at her family’s home in Mernda in Melbourne’s north on November 16 last year.
Her former colleague Luay Sako, 35, was charged with her murder hours later and is in prison as his case remains before the courts.
Celeste reported the alleged stalking twice to police, before taking out an intervention order – which was in place at the time of her death, a court previously heard.
Celeste Manno, 23, (pictured) was allegedly murdered by her stalker as she slept in her north Melbourne home last November
Ms Manno’s former colleague Luay Sako, 35, has been charged with her murder. Pictured: Ms Manno’s Mernda home
Now, her devastated mother Aggie Di Mauro is campaigning for the Victorian government to amendment stalking laws.
Mrs Di Mauro said she looks at her daughter’s photo daily and promises her she will keep fighting until changes are made.
‘I’m her mum, it happened in our home, in the middle of the night. I should have been able to do something,’ Mrs Di Mauro told A Current Affair.
‘I say to her, “I already failed you – and I can’t fail her again.
‘The choice was not to get out of bed, or do something for my daughter, I knew it’s something she’d want me to do.’
The Victorian Law Reform Commission has opened a consultation paper, which allows the community to voice concerns about issues with the law to be reviewed.
The commission then makes recommendations and advises the Attorney General on how to improve the state’s laws.
One of the many issues listed within the paper is how police are not equipped with a specific code of practice on how to manage stalking cases.
Ms Manno’s devastated mum Aggie Di Mauro (pictured) is campaigning for changes to Victoria’s stalking laws
Mrs Di Mauro said she will continue to fight for change in the honour of her daughter
‘Police have limited written guidance on how to manage non-family violence stalking offences,’ the paper reads.
‘By contrast, Victoria Police has a Code of Practice to guide decision making in situations of family violence.’
Mrs Di Mauro said she finds it ‘incredible’ that it took her daughter’s death to shine a spotlight on cracks in the system.
Between March 2020 to March this year, there were 14,000 reports of stalking – but around 85 per cent of incidents are not reported to police.
QC Tony North, who is leading the commission, said the current intervention order system deals with both minor issues, such as neighbourhood disputes, and serious offences like stalking, which can lead to murder.
He said the police guidelines in place do little to help officers differentiate the seriousness of cases and how to respond them accordingly.
VICTIMS OF STALKING HELPLINES
NSW Victims Access Line: 1800 633 063, Aboriginal Contact Line : 1800 019 123
QLD Victim Assist 1300 546 587
SA Victims of Crime 08 8204 9635
WA Victim Support Service 1800 818 988
NT Crime Victims Services Unit (financial): 1800 460 363 , Victims of Crime (support) 1800 672 242
ACT Victim Support : 1800 822 272
TAS Victims of Crime Service : 1300 300 238
VIC : Victims of Crime Helpline : Call 1800 819 817 Text 0427 767 891