A romantic photo of a loved-up couple allegedly triggered a jealous rage leading to the death of a young Melbourne woman.
Celeste Manno, 23, was found dead in the family home in Mernda, in Melbourne’s northeast, on Sunday about 4.10am (AEDT).
Her family told the Herald Sun the grisly discovery came just hours after she posted the photo of her and her boyfriend on social media.
The photo shows Ms Manno sitting outside next to boyfriend Chris Ridsdale, with her arm intertwining his while he rests a hand on her knee.
Both their smiles indicate they seemed a happy couple, with Mr Ridsdale’s sister Sarah posting on Facebook the pair were due to celebrate Ms Manno’s birthday this week.
A 35-year-old Roxburgh Park man has been arrested over Ms Manno’s death, but no charges have yet been laid.
Her grief-stricken family claim she was allegedly killed at the hands of an infatuated former co-worker after she showed him kindness by walking him to the door the day he was fired.
The family told the Herald Sun they believed it was the photo with her boyfriend posted on Saturday night, hours before her body was found, that triggered her death.
It is believed to be the first she had posted with a man since her former co-worker allegedly started to stalk her.
“It was like if he couldn’t have her, no one could,” her brother, Alessandro Manno, told the Herald Sun.
He added the co-worker became infatuated with Ms Manno after she was kind to him the day he lost his job.
“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,” Alessandro told the Herald Sun.
“At first she’d be nice and say she was not interested, but he kept getting obsessive and so she blocked him.”
‘She wasn’t even safe in her own bed’
The sister of Ms Manno’s boyfriend Chris, Sarah Ridsdale, shared the loved-up photo of the couple following news of her death.
She described it as a “tragic day” and said she sat watching her younger brother “shake with tears”.
“I can’t do anything,” she said.
Ms Ridsdale added Ms Manno was supposed to celebrate Christmas with her boyfriend’s family as well as her own, but instead they would mourn her during the holidays.
“Her mother and brothers are beside themselves with grief. Christopher will undoubtedly be questioning himself and this situation for years to come,” she said.
“What could we have done?
“Why? Just why?”
Ms Ridsdale added Ms Manno “wasn’t even safe in her own bed”.
The system ‘failed to protect’ slain woman
Alessandro, who was spending his first night away from the home in years, said they had even resorted to filing restraining orders as the online harassment mounted.
Her father, Tony, added he felt the system let his daughter down.
“It’s got to be changed,” he said.
“It doesn’t bring her back but it’s got to be changed.
“What’s it going to take for the government to listen. It could be yours (daughter). It’s not right. It’s got to stop.”
As Ms Manno’s tearful boyfriend was consoled by fellow mourners in the street, her brother, Jayden, described the university graduate as the “most intelligent one of all of us”.
“She was loved by everybody,” he said.
“There wasn’t a soul on this earth who could ever say a bad thing. She touched everyone.”
Alessandro was still expecting his sister to drive around the corner after knocking off for the day.
“I’ve never been more than about two days without her,” he said.
“I feel like she’s going to come home from work any minute.”
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