In what can be described as nothing short of a tragic waste of life,
A 14-YEAR-OLD boy charged with killing a mother-of-three after egging her house has been released on bail after a court heard the fatal stabbing was triggered by a “very minor” clash between rival groups of teenaged boys.
Rosa Mercuri, 40, was at home with her family on Sunday night when their Lalor property, in Melbourne‘s northern suburbs, was egged by a group of boys about 8pm.
She and her husband, identified as Pat, went outside to investigate and pursued the boys in their car, taking their 11-year-old daughter with them.
A homicide detective investigating the case yesterday told a children’s court Ms Mercuri died from a single stab wound when she encountered the accused boy, who cannot be identified, a few blocks from her house.
She was still with her daughter, while her husband had left to chase some of the boys on foot.
Ms Mercuri and the accused boy allegedly became involved in a struggle.
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She received a fatal wound to her upper body.
He suffered a wound to the head.
She quickly died, with her daughter left sobbing over the body while her husband tried vainly to resuscitate her.
The detective said the boys had gone to throw eggs at the Mercuri house because of an “ongoing dispute” of “a very minor nature” with another group of boys.
Ms Mercuri had two teenaged sons, one of them telling the Herald-Sun they believed the egg attack was random and a house down the street was also pelted.
“It’s never happened before,” he said.
“We’ve never really had fights with anyone.” Ms Mercuri’s son said his mother would never stand for the prank on an innocent family.
“She always had the guts in the family,” he told the newspaper.
The 14-year old, who lives with his father and brother in nearby Bundoora, has been charged with manslaughter.
Police did not oppose his bail, saying they were satisfied there was little risk of further violence.
Other youths, including the boy’s 20-year old brother, were questioned and released without charge.
The boy, who is of Asian descent, has no previous convictions and has agreed to report to police once a week and surrender his passport before appearing again in October.
He appeared calm and expressionless throughout yesterday’s hour-long hearing, occasionally glancing at his father.
Anne Watson, who lives in the street where Ms Mercuri died, said a loud scream brought her outside to see what was happening.
“There was a body on the ground and this man was saying ‘Wake up, wake up’,” she said. “Then he said: ‘She hasn’t got a heartbeat’ ”
Police found an Asian boy believed to be a friend of the accused hiding in the bushes outside a nearby house.
“He said: ‘I’ve had an asthma attack; I can’t breathe,” Mrs Watson said.
POLICE say an egging incident which resulted in a 14-year-old boy being charged with the manslaughter of a mother of three was sparked by a minor dispute.
The boy has been bailed after appearing in a children’s court today charged with the stabbing death of Rosa Maria Mercuri, 40, who died in a street in Melbourne’s north last night.
Police will examine a head injury sustained by the boy in the alleged attack.
Ms Mercuri was pursuing a group of youths who threw eggs at her home in Tunbridge Crescent in Lalor last night when the incident unfolded.
Detective Senior Constable Matthew Tuininga told the court the egg throwing incident resulted from a “very minor dispute” between two groups of males.
Detective Senior Constable Tuininga said the boy told police he received a head injury after the knife he was holding during the fatal altercation came back at him forcefully and he struck himself in the head.
The magistrate gave police approval to obtain a mouth swab from the boy to match it with DNA found at the crime scene.
They were also given permission to undertake a forensic examination of him to determine the extent of his head wound.
The magistrate bailed the boy, noting his young age, family support and the fact the prosecution did not oppose his release.
The accused is due back in court in October.
Police arrested five people – four teenagers and a 20-year-old – in relation to the incident, which occurred about 8.15pm (AEST).
The 20-year-old, who is the brother of the accused, and three teenagers who were questioned over the stabbing were later released.