Tamworth stabber verdict 'mentally ill'

·3-min read

The man accused of murdering his former 22-year-old neighbour in regional NSW stabbed her to death but was found not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

Jesse Leigh Green, 30, was charged with murdering Teah Luckwell, in the early hours of March 28, 2018.

She was found that evening lying in a pool of blood just inside the front door of her Tamworth unit, with a baby girl close by.

"The little girl had blood on her hands and feet," while her movements spread it about various surfaces, Justice Stephen Campbell said on Monday.

Justice Campbell earlier conducted NSW Supreme Court hearings after Green was found unfit to stand trial.

On Monday Justice Campbell found beyond reasonable doubt that Green had delivered with sufficient force three stab wounds that penetrated the bone at the base of his victim's skull.

Ms Luckwell was said to have lost consciousness after falling backwards and died "within minutes" of her fatal wounds.

Green told a friend he was heading out on "creeps," early that morning, otherwise described as "unobtrusively breaking into houses", Justice Campbell said.

He first attempted to enter another flat by switching off the power and lunged at the resident who was standing behind the door.

Her partner gave evidence he was holding a "truncheon-like weapon" and that he chased him away.

Mark Morgan and Joshua Allen recognised Green and were so spooked by his demeanour they discussed walking "back to back".

Josh told his friend: "If this person runs at us, you grab the knife and I'll bite his face off".

"Green had a hostile state of mind prone to respond violently at least to female occupants of premises he had targeted who had disturbed him," Justice Campbell said.

He said Ms Luckwell likely disturbed Green when she investigated the noise of him entering her home by turning the light on.

She possibly stumbled back onto her kitchen floor, while the lack of defensive wounds meant she may have been holding the child at the time, Justice Campbell said.

A neighbourhood resident who lived two doors down said she heard a "terrifying" scream in the early hours of the morning before seeing a "freaked out" man running past.

Donna Searle said she hopped out of bed to see a young man trying to run away and "obviously affected by something".

He was saying "oh s***, oh f***'", maybe three times, in a pretty distressed and "freaked out" voice.

That evening another nearby resident Emma O'Connor first saw Ms Luckwell's light on and apartment door open, then someone lying on the floor.

Then she saw the little girl, who she collected in distress.

Expert evidence found Green was suffering from a very serious mental health impairment arising from schizophrenia diagnosed at 18, and untreated at the time.

Green was actively psychotic and could not "reason those acts were wrong," and had been exacerbated by drug use, the court was told.

Ms Luckwell's family members listened to the special verdicts that included for a break and enter and assault with a weapon occurring on the same night.

All were proven but dealt with under the Mental Health Act.

Green will remain in detention under supervision and will be reviewed by the Mental Health Tribunal until deemed fit for release.

Other charges for theft said to have occurred on a Sydney train will be mentioned in Tamworth Local Court on December 15.

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