Woman allegedly stabbed to death by former coworker
A jealous stalker allegedly killed his former boss hours after she posted the first picture of herself and her boyfriend on social media.
Celeste Manno, 23, was sleeping in her bedroom in Mernda when her "obsessed" stalker smashed through her window and stabbed her to death about 4.10am Monday.
Her family believe he was triggered by a photo she posted of herself and boyfriend Chris Risdale on Saturday night. It was not captioned but showed the couple arm in arm and was the first she had posted with a man since the stalking ordeal began.
Her younger brother, Alessandro Manno, 19, said: "It was like if he couldn't have her, no one could."
Late Tuesday her suspected killer, a 35-year-old Roxburgh Park man, remained in hospital under police guard and without charge.
CCTV from the street showed a car casing Ms Manno's home on Umbria Rd minutes before the fatal attack. It's believed her attacker climbed a side fence before smashing his way through her bedroom window.
Ms Manno was a team leader at Serco call centre in Mill Park and the suspect had briefly worked in her team.
But she was forced to take out an intervention order against him shortly after he was fired from his job.
Alessandro said the co-worker latched onto Ms Manno after she showed him kindness the day he was fired.
"She barely knew him but wanted to give him support so walked him out of the door and ever since that day he has been obsessed with her … harassing her on social media for months and months with vulgar and disgusting messages," he said. "At first she'd be nice and say she was not interested, but he kept getting obsessive and so she blocked him."
He alleged the man created numerous fake social media accounts to keep tabs on her. These were given as evidence to police and an intervention order was made.
He appeared to leave her alone for a few months but her family fear he took her life after seeing her with another man.
Father Tony Manno said his daughter was failed by the justice system. "It let her down. It let my daughter down. It has to be changed. It won't bring her back but it needs to be changed. Too many scenarios have already happened," he said.
Her older brother Jayden Manno, 33, described his sister's death as a "senseless and unfathomable evil".
"This should never happen … not to our family, not to anyone's family," he said.
"Everyone should have the right to live their lives in their homes, in their bedroom, on the street. No one should be scared … man, woman child - this evil should not exist and things need to change. It cannot be allowed to continue."
Ms Manno's mother Aggi was home when her daughter's killer smashed into the house. She was unable to get to her in time and held her as she died.
On Tuesday afternoon Aggi and her family returned to the home to lay flowers and speak to loved ones, including colleagues, mourning at the scene.
Jayden said the family's universe had been shattered.
"Celeste was the most bright, lively … the most intelligent of us all and the best of us all," he said.
"She was loved by everyone. There wasn't a soul on this earth who could ever say a bad thing about her. She was an amazing person."
Ms Manno's colleagues said she was a positive person and believe she made an effort to be strong and hide her fears.
"She was a strong girl. She was all about positive energy. I don't think it's (the stalking) something she would ever want people to know," one said.
Another said he was aware a former worker was "inappropriately infatuated" with Ms Manno but never believed it could escalate to murder.
Ms Manno attended Lalor Secondary College and studied criminology and psychology at RMIT University.
She had also spent the past five years working as a "volunteer listener" at 7 Cups of Tea, an organisation for people who are mentally struggling and want to speak to someone.
The investigation continues. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Originally published as Loved-up photo triggered jealous co-worker's fatal stabbing frenzy