Escape from a killer
Murdered: Angela Ferullo. Picture: Supplied

The housemate of a woman fatally stabbed at her Como hair salon was held captive by the woman's killer for almost two hours before he escaped over their back fence and ran for his life.

The West Australian can reveal the extraordinary details of the hours leading up to Angela Ferullo's death after her former husband James Payet yesterday pleaded guilty to her murder and other charges stemming from the brutal attack.

Ms Ferullo's housemate had tried to warn her she was in danger by phoning police after he escaped from his captor at the southern suburbs home they shared.

But he was seconds too late.

Police were on the phone to Ms Ferullo when her knife-wielding former husband stormed into the South Terrace salon and stabbed her and Selina Bello, her pregnant daughter.

Angie Ferullo, Letticia Bello and Selina Bello. Picture: Facebook

The housemate's terrifying ordeal began when Payet crept into Ms Ferullo's Success home on the morning of June 24 last year.

The 48-year-old had been issued a police order to stay away from her after days of escalating threats and a confrontation that marred her granddaughter's christening a day earlier.

Ms Ferullo, 43, had spent the night elsewhere and planned to visit her daughter at their hair salon that morning.

She was then to head to court to apply for a restraining order against Payet.

But after hiding in the roof space while waiting for her to return home, Payet confronted her flatmate and threatened him with the knife.

He demanded the housemate, who moved in with Ms Ferullo after they became friends at the Pilbara mine where they were fly-in, fly-out workers, call Ms Ferullo to tell her to come home without revealing he was waiting for her.

Angela Ferullo was working in her Como hairdressing salon when she was stabbed. Photo: ABC.

The man told police he had feared a volatile Payet would hurt him if he tried to leave the house.

Growing increasingly worried as Payet paced around the living area and stabbed at Ms Ferullo's belongings with the knife, her housemate eventually saw an opportunity to flee.

He asked if he could go outside to have a cup of tea and as Payet turned his back, jumped over the back fence of the two-storey home into vacant land, prompting an enraged Payet to chase him.

The housemate raced towards a sporting oval and nearby primary school but Payet ran him down and slashed at him with the knife, cutting his shoulder and arm before ordering him on to his knees.

The man told police that in a last desperate attempt to flee, he surrendered his mobile phone that had Ms Ferullo's number in it. He threw it at Payet and ran towards Success Primary School.

Payet then flagged down a passing driver, convincing him the housemate had broken into his home.

He was allowed into the car and he and the driver made an unsuccessful attempt to cut the housemate off before he could reach the school.

Having failed to stop the housemate reaching safety, Payet convinced the unsuspecting driver to drop him at the nearby property of an associate, where he borrowed a car and raced up Kwinana Freeway to his unsuspecting former wife.

The housemate asked the school to raise the alarm with police but Payet got to Ms Ferullo first.

As police spoke on the phone to the mother of four, who was in the salon's back room, Payet stormed in, giving her no chance to flee or lock the door.

He confronted Ms Bello first and demanded to speak to her mother before stabbing the 22-year-old under the arm and on the ankle in front of horrified clients.

When Ms Ferullo rushed from the back room to protect her daughter, Payet turned on her, stabbing her several times.

Salon client Peggy Kew, 67, was also wounded when she tried to intervene.

The injured women were rushed to hospital but Ms Ferullo could not be saved.

Forensic Police outside the Plush Hair hairdressing shop. Photo: Ian Munro/The West Australian.

Payet fled but the manhunt ended about 4pm when he sought treatment at Murdoch Hospital for self-inflicted wounds.

Ms Bello and her unborn son survived the frenzied attack and she gave birth to a healthy boy in November.

Payet faces a life jail term when he is sentenced in May after he admitted murdering Ms Ferullo, causing aggravated grievous bodily harm to Ms Bello and causing the aggravated unlawful wounding of Mrs Kew.

He also pleaded guilty to deprivation of liberty and with intent did an act causing bodily harm over the attack on his former wife's housemate.

Outside court yesterday, Ms Ferullo's grieving family said his admissions had finally given them some justice.

Ms Bello wept and said she was relieved that Payet pleaded guilty.

"My family and I can finally put this behind us," she said.

Moments after the court hearing, Ms Bello posted a message on social media expressing her love for her mother and hopes that her family could finally move forward after months of "hell".

"Today we finally received some justice when guilty pleas were entered," she wrote.

"Now we can finally move forward from the hell we have end-ured for the past seven months.

"Thank you to everyone who has supported myself and my family during this time.

"Mum, not a day goes by that we don't think about you and the great loss we have experienced.

"Hopefully now you can rest easy knowing that justice has and will be served.

"Love you always x."

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