The chilling moment a heroin dealer father admitted to knifing his daughter to death because he believed she was ‘throwing her life away’ partying has been revealed.
Convicted drug trafficker Petrit Lekaj, 49, strangled and stabbed Sabrina Lekaj, 20, eight times in her white Mercedes-Benz on their way to Hungry Jack’s in Adelaide last July.
In a haunting police interview recorded in a mental health facility, Lekaj confessed to murdering his only daughter.
When asked why Sabrina was found with stab wounds all over her torso, the father-of-two whispered: ‘I did them.’
Property developer Petrit Lekaj (left) murdered his 20-year-old daughter Sabrina (right) in Adelaide in July
‘I started to do the first one, I was sitting in the first (driver’s) seat,’ he said in the interview.
‘I just kept stabbing … she was kicking, kicking the door and the window. And then I go to the back of the car … and did the rest.’
When asked how Sabrina got stab wounds all over her torso, the father-of-two whispered: ‘I did them’
When he finally dropped the knife, the father-of-two said he put his hand over her mouth and strangled her.
After Sabrina stopped struggling, he turned the knife on himself.
Lekaj was found next to his daughter with a serious stomach wound 250 metres from the family’s suburban home in Kidman Park.
He was treated at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
‘I wish I wasn’t… I wish I… I wish I wasn’t here,’ he stuttered.
‘It’s unspeakable to think what I did, I did it.’
Lekaj pleaded guilty to murder at the South Australian Supreme Court in August and will be sentenced next week.
At a hearing on Wednesday, his lawyer said the father could not explain his actions, The Advertiser reported.
The court heard Sabrina had been partying the night before with friends at Hindley Street nightclub Dog and Duck where she took cocaine, ecstasy and Xanax.
Lekaj, a well-known member of the city’s Albanian community, was found next to his daughter (pictured) with a serious abdominal injury and was treated in the Royal Adelaide Hospital
She told her parents she had consumed cocaine.
Her mother Romina Lekaj told police Sabrina’s behaviour had changed, she had lost weight, had no money and wouldn’t comply with curfews.
Prosecutors said police had visited the family home earlier that day to investigate driving complaints and found that her car had been damaged.
Sabrina initially denied taking drugs, but police drove her to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for tests after her father insisted she was ‘off’.
Officers told her parents ‘everyone was OK and no one had been seriously hurt’ in the driving offence, before her father took her to get fast food just before 7.30pm.
Ms Lekaj (pictured) was remembered as a good friend and top student. She was accepted into the University of South Australia where she studied both classical piano performance and medical imaging
Lekaj, a well-known member of Adelaide’s Albanian community, took a 15-centimetre knife with him when he drove his daughter to get food, the court heard.
While stationary in her car, which was a birthday present from him, he confronted her about her party lifestyle and recreational drug use.
He claimed she was ‘throwing her life away’ and she replied that she ‘didn’t care’ or ‘give a s**t’, the judge was told.
Lekaj took the knife to ‘scare’ his daughter – but he pulled it from his trousers and stabbed her in the stomach while she was looking out the passenger window, the court was told.
Mrs Lekaj woke up at 10pm and realised they were missing.
After several failed attempts at contacting him, her husband of 24 years answered the phone in distress.
‘Call the police, call the police, I’m sorry,’ he said.
‘I’ve done a terrible thing, I’ve done a terrible thing.’
Pictured: Ms Lekaj (centre) on her 18th birthday with her father (left) and mother Romina (right)
Romina Lekaj is pictured with her husband of 24 years, Petrit Lekaj. Romina didn’t attend court on Wednesday
Prosecutor Melissa Wilkinson told the sentencing submissions hearing: ‘He told police he believed that his daughter was throwing her life away and the accused responded to that by violently taking her life from her.
‘It’s difficult to overstate how deeply troubling it is that a father would arm himself with a knife, even to scare his daughter, and then in such ordinary or commonplace circumstances his conduct escalates … to murder.’
Romina and her 12-year-old brother Pyrrhus did not attend court on Wednesday.
Defence lawyer Ben Sale said the judge should take into account that Lekaj instantly admitted he had killed the ‘apple of his eye’.
In December, an antecedents report detailing Lekaj’s criminal history was tendered by prosecutors and released to The Advertiser by Justice Trish Kelly.
According to the publication, Lekaj’s drug-related offending goes back to August 1996, when he was jailed for his involvement in the sale of a controlled substance.
The previous year he was unanimously found guilty of selling heroin, district court records show.
The 49-year-old spent at least two years in jail, after his minimum non-parole period of two-and-a-half years was cut by six months.
The 20-year-old was found dead in her Mercedes-Benz sedan near the family’s suburban Kidman Park property in Adelaide on July 21. Pictured: Sabrina Lekaj’s funeral
In 2007, Lekaj was convicted and fined $200 for possessing cannabis. He was also hit with a $100 fine for failing to store ammunition in a locked container, according to the antecedents report.
Two years later, the father was fined $900 in September 2009 after he was found to have cultivated more than a prescribed number of cannabis plants, as well as possessing drugs equipment.
Sabrina was remembered as a good friend and top student who had graduated high school with a score of 99.35.
‘I can’t believe I’m writing this. My beautiful Sabrina. Incredibly talented pianist, high achiever and queen of dark humour. I love you. Forever in our hearts,’ one friend wrote after her death.
Sabrina attended Nazareth Catholic College in Adelaide, graduating in 2016 with a leading score in biology and religious studies.
She was accepted into the University of South Australia where she studied both classical piano performance and medical imaging.