Obsessed stalker Louie Sacco, 36, who stabbed co-worker Celeste Manno, 23, at her Melbourne home, has sentence delayed with fresh request for psychiatric assessment
Lue Sacco pleads guilty to killing Celeste Manosaco after failing to plead mental retardation after the 36-year-old allegedly broke into her home and stabbed her Sacco delayed his plea for months
A man who pleaded guilty to murdering Melbourne woman Celeste Manno is having his sentence delayed months after he failed to avoid justice with mental retardation claims.
Lue Nader Sacco, 36, of Roxburgh Park, formally pleaded guilty in March after doctors testified he was mentally fit to stand trial.
Sacco appeared in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Monday with a new barrister, Tim Marsh, who told the court his client needed to see another forensic psychiatrist before his initial sentencing plea hearing.
Celeste Manno, 23, was murdered at her Melbourne home in November 2020.
Lue Sacco, 36, went to a local police station hours after Ms Manno’s death and was taken to hospital under police guard, and has been charged with murder.
Celeste Manno was early in life when she was stabbed to death in her own bed
Sacco was scheduled to have that hearing on Monday, clearing the way for his sentencing before Justice Jane Dixon.
Instead, there will now be a hearing in October to allow another doctor to file a report detailing Sacco’s mental health diagnosis at the time of the alleged murder.
Mental health reports are often used by barristers to help their clients avoid prison sentences.
Sacco allegedly smashed his former colleague’s window at his family home in Meranda, north-east of Melbourne, in November 2020 before stabbing him repeatedly as he lay in bed.
The road to bringing Sacco to justice has been long, with the accused killer repeatedly appearing in court over the years in an attempt to convince forensic doctors he was insane when he killed his victims.
In March last year, the court heard when Dr Andrew Carroll – for Sacco – argued that the killer was too mentally ill to properly instruct his lawyer, Dr Clare McInerney – for the prosecution – to believe that predestination could be cured.
Crown prosecutor Patrick Bourque asked Sacco to be evaluated again – this time by forensic psychologist Professor James Ogoloff.
A plan to put Sacco on trial for his mental retardation was abandoned in February after the court heard that once conflicting doctors concluded that Sacco did in fact know what he was doing at the time of the killing and was well enough to stand trial.
But even then, Sacco wanted to delay his May 16 murder trial long enough to convince doctors he was too ill to stand trial again.
The court heard that Sacco insisted on living away from other prisoners in an isolation unit where he refused at least one specialist medication that would have helped him stand trial for murder.
Ms. Manno was Saco’s team leader at the Serco Call Center before she was dismissed
Sacco was originally represented by high profile criminal barrister Sam Norton of Starry Norton Halfen, until his guilty plea in March.
The court heard Mr Norton was forced to withdraw from representing Sacco pending his appeal hearing.
The delay in Sacco’s hearing is the latest slap in the face for Ms Manno’s family, as she was originally expected to confirm an assessment from a forensic psychiatrist not guilty of the stabbing which supported a claim she was not capable of committing the crime due to her poor mental health.
Sacco has repeatedly threatened to commit suicide if he is removed from his isolation cell, where he spends 23 hours a day on lockdown.
Ms. Manno’s long-suffering friends and family have already endured years of agony waiting for Sacco to stand trial.
Police alleged that Sacco struck late at night, killing Ms Manno before jumping over a blood-stained fence.
Sacco attended a local police station hours later and was taken to hospital under police guard and treated for hand injuries that required surgery.
At Sacco’s first court hearing in 2020, the court heard that Sacco had no mental health problems and was not on any medication when he killed his 23-year-old victim.
Sacco was released to live in the community at the time of the killing after being charged with violating a restraining order.
Ms Manno was Saco’s team leader at a Serco call center in South Morang and comforted him when he left the company a year ago.
Sacco will return to court in October.