Melbourne, Australia – Celeste Manno, a young woman from Melbourne, was brutally stabbed to death in her own bed by her stalker, hours after she made her new relationship official on Instagram. The tragic incident occurred on November 14, 2020, just a few days before Celeste’s 24th birthday. Luay Nader Sako, the 37-year-old perpetrator, appeared in the Supreme Court of Victoria, representing himself in a pre-sentence hearing after pleading guilty to the murder in April.
According to court proceedings, Sako had bombarded Ms. Manno with endless messages, expressing his love for her, in the year leading up to her murder. The two had briefly worked together at a call center in South Morang where Celeste was a team leader, but Sako was eventually fired. Despite her attempts to show kindness and distance herself from Sako, he continued to pursue her relentlessly.
Sako’s obsessions escalated to a point where he murdered Celeste inside her family home in the early hours of the morning, inflicting 23 stab wounds to her body. His violent act was captured on CCTV as he fled the scene and later turned himself in to the authorities, admitting to the heinous crime.
The court also heard that Sako had previously been charged for stalking and harassing Ms. Manno and was even subject to an intervention order at the time of her murder. Despite her desperate pleas for him to leave her alone, the torment continued, culminating in the tragic and senseless loss of her life.
The heartbreaking case has prolonged as Sako repeatedly attempted to contest the charges and delay his trial, claiming mental impairment as a defense. Throughout the trial, Sako has continuously tried to minimize his responsibility in the brutal murder, causing further pain and anguish to Celeste’s family and loved ones.
This devastating tragedy serves as a grim reminder of the dangers of obsession, stalking, and the urgent need for effective intervention and protection for those subjected to such threats. Celeste’s untimely death has left a deep scar on her community, and as the court proceedings continue, justice for her and her loved ones remains at the forefront of the legal battle.