#AceNewsReport – Feb.13: A Perth mother repeatedly tried to get help from police, doctors and mental health services right up until the hours before her son stabbed her, his 15-year-old sister and eight-year-old brother to death in their Ellenbrook home, the West Australian Supreme Court has been told:
Warning: This story contains distressing content: Ellenbrook Murders: ‘Teancum Petersen-Crofts, now 21, is on trial accused of murdering his 48-year-old mother, Michelle Petersen, his sister Bella and half-brother Rua, who were attacked with a knife in the early hours of the morning on July 15, 2018: The trial will resume on Monday’
ABC Australia News: Updated 4h ago
Ms Petersen suffered 54 wounds, while both Bella and Rua were stabbed more than 40 times.
Ms Petersen and her son were found in the main bedroom and the door appeared to have been forced open.
Bella was found still breathing in the backyard but she died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.
Mr Petersen-Crofts admits he inflicted the fatal wounds but maintains he should not be held criminally responsible because he was not of sound mind at the time.
The court has heard Mr Petersen-Crofts had a history of mental illness dating back to when he was 16, including episodes of drug-induced psychosis.
Court hears mother ‘kept asking for help’
State Prosecutor Paul Usher said in the weeks before the alleged murders, Ms Petersen repeatedly sought help for her son whom she told friends and a social worker she was “frightened of” and did not want at home because she had “a 15-year-old and an 8-year-old to think of”.
At the time, Mr Petersen-Crofts was homeless but Ms Petersen allowed him back into her house, telling friends that while she was scared of him, she was “a softie” and he was picked on living on the streets.
In the days before the killings, she again repeatedly contacted police and mental health services, and Mr Petersen-Crofts was admitted to hospital on July 13.
However, Mr Petersen-Crofts was discharged after doctors ruled he did not meet the criteria for an involuntary admission to a psychiatric hospital and they considered he was not at risk of harming himself or others.
Mr Usher said Ms Petersen was unhappy with the decision to discharge her son and tried without success to convince doctors and a social worker his condition may not be drug related and that he could have an underlying mental health problem.
Friends visited Ms Petersen in the hours before her death and stated that Mr Petersen-Crofts was looking at his mother with an “evil stare”, mouthing to them “she’s evil, she’s the enemy” and leaning forward while staring at her.
Mr Usher said Mr Petersen-Crofts was talking about gods and goddesses but he would also “flip” and say things in a normal manner.
Later that day, the family attended a baptism ceremony for Rua, and Mr Petersen-Crofts told people “someone was trying to murder” him.
Witnesses said he also seemed weird and was mumbling, agitated and making hand gestures throughout the ceremony.
The family was driven home by friends, who heard Mr Petersen-Crofts say to his mother “you had me arrested, don’t cry or I will punch you in the face”.
Hours later neighbours reported hearing screams, a man making angry growling noises and a person yelling “somebody help me” before hearing police sirens.
Petersen-Crofts claimed family ‘would have killed him’
Mr Usher said Mr Petersen-Crofts had left the house and went to a nearby service station where he said “I killed my mum and siblings. If I didn’t kill them, they would have killed me”.
He also claimed he had been raped, and that he had been hit with a club and poked with a knife while his siblings laughed at him.
Tests after Mr Petersen-Crofts arrest found no traces of any illicit drugs in his system.
Mr Petersen-Crofts is present in court for the hearing.
He has been allowed to be accompanied in the dock by a social worker and at times, he has covered his eyes and put his head in his hands.
Members of Ms Petersen’s family, including her mother, attended court and sat in the public gallery listening to the evidence.
The trial, which is being heard by the Chief Justice Peter Quinlan, will only hear evidence from psychiatrists about Mr Petersen-Croft’s mental state.
Later, the court heard from a psychiatrist who interviewed Mr Petersen-Crofts in the secure psychiatric facility where he is being held.
Doctor Daniel De Klerk said the 21-year-old presented in “a bizarre fashion” and was having hallucinations and delusions.
He said it was his opinion that Mr Petersen-Crofts was suffering from treatment-resistant schizophrenia.
The trial will resume on Monday.
#AceNewsDesk report …………Published: Feb.13: 2021:
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