Peter Caruso gets 18 years for killing wife of 50 years, Rosa Caruso

Why an old 76 year old man would kill his wife of over 50 years is anyone’s guess? I mean after 50 years one would think he would be used to her nagging if that was the case. But this is a sad state of affairs seeing the old bloke struggle in court earlier this year. But get that thought out of your mind, this small retired fruiterer smashed his wife to death 36 times with a hatchet then ridiculously tried to make it look like a robbery gone wrong while he was up the shops. A bit of overkill for a common burglary. As is nearly always the case, the overkill in the ferociousness of the crime leads to a crime of passion, perpetrated by someone very close to the victim…He will now die in jail pretty quickly I would imagine

Peter Caruso leaves the Victorian Supreme Court two weeks after being arrested and charged with the murder of his wife Rosa. Picture Michael Potter

A RETIRED fruiterer who killed is wife of nearly 50 years with a hatchet was today jailed for 13 years by a judge who described the crime as ‘brutal and horrific’.

Justice Betty King told Peter Caruso, 76, that she recognised that he may well die in jail, but the sentence had to reflect the seriousness of his crime.

The judge said there was no explanation for the killing of Rosa Caruso and there never would be one.

“You have been a decent hard-working man throughout your life,” she told Caruso during sentencing this afternoon.

Justice King said the crime was not only out of character for the killer, but also for the couple’s relationship which had been apparently trouble free.

She set a maximum term of 18 years.

Caruso maintained he and his wife had a good relationship and were looking forward to celebrating their 50-year wedding anniversary later that year.

In May this year a Supreme Court jury found Caruso, 76, guilty of the murder of his 72-year-old wife in their Templestowe home in July, 2008.

The jury had heard that Caruso hit his wife in the head with a hatchet 36 times, then ransacked their home without breaking anything, to make it look like a robbery gone wrong.

He claimed he was out of the shops when the attack happened.

But there was no sign of forced entry or foreign DNA or fingerprints at the house.

Prosecutor Christopher Beale told the court that while drawers and cupboards had been opened and bedding and clothing strewn about the house, the scene “didn’t look to the investigators like the work of a genuine burglar”.

Peter Caruso being arrested at his home

Here is what his son, Santo Caruso had to say after the guilty verdict outside court

”It’s a bit of a shock, I didn’t expect this verdict,” he said. ”Not much good can come out of this. My mother is not going to suddenly re-emerge from around the corner. She is still dead.

”Now my dad is in jail and unless they appeal he could spend the rest of his life in jail.”

Asked if he believed his father had murdered his mother, Mr Caruso said: ”The evidence seems overwhelming. My mother was hit 36 times to the back of the head. A normal burglar wouldn’t do that.”

”There is only one person that can convince me 100 per cent. I would have to hear it from my father. They [the jury] have made a decision, but I want to hear it from my father’s lips as a final answer. I asked him every day for two years – he always maintained his innocence.”

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3 thoughts on “Peter Caruso gets 18 years for killing wife of 50 years, Rosa Caruso

  1. Two shearers were stabbed by a man called Peter Caruso in May, 1954 in Werribee. He slashed ones throat (Toohey) and stabbed the other in the head (Smith) outside the picture theatre. He went to court – but I cannot find those records, but think he did not go to jail, and then we think he moved to Doncaster.It would be intersting to see if this was the same Peter Caruso. He would be about the right age. I ran into one of the men attacked that day recently and he mentioned it.


  2. In his sentencing the judge said “You have no prior convictions and you have never been in trouble with the law.”

    Could be him though. He moved to Australia in 1952 or 1953.


  3. Does anyone know how to contact either of those men i.e. Toohey or Smith? I know a journalist who would like to speak to them


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