At school, the boy was unwilling to speak to anyone. At home, he preferred the solace of his bedroom over time with his family.
But a note he wrote on his computer gave an insight into his inner torment, as he detailed hating life and himself.
“If I ran away, I ran away for my own family’s safety. I ran away because I wanted to kill them,” the note began.
“I used the remains of my self-control to not kill my family. I [had] hatred towards my family for a very long time. I’ve had persistent thoughts of killing my family and really wanted to do it, but in the end I ran away.”
The 15-year-old did not run away, and by the time police discovered the note it was too late.
The day after writing the note last year, the boy stabbed and killed his mother and attacked his sister and his grandmother in their suburban Melbourne home. He had untreated mental health problems at the time, the Supreme Court of Victoria heard on Tuesday.
About lunchtime, when his mother entered the upstairs bedroom, the boy repeatedly stabbed her with a knife. Downstairs, the grandmother heard her daughter say: “Darling, why did you do that?”
Although bleeding from several wounds, including to her neck, the mother ran downstairs and called triple zero, prosecutor John Dickie said. As she did, the boy stabbed his sister and grandmother, and then fled to his bedroom and locked the door.
Police treated the three injured people and two officers kicked in the bedroom door. They saw the boy typing on his computer, with an empty champagne bottle nearby. The teen began stabbing himself until the officers restrained him and treated his injuries, Mr Dickie said. It was not known what he typed.
Now 16, the boy – who cannot be identified – has pleaded guilty to murder and two counts of attempted murder.
His mother died in hospital from her injuries. His sister and grandmother recovered, although the latter said she felt heartbroken at her daughter’s death and losing contact with her grandchildren.
The 16-year-old is in youth detention and his two siblings – one was at school on the day of the attack – now live with their father.
The grandmother wrote in a victim impact statement that she felt sad for her grandson’s difficult life and, despite what he did, wanted to be part of his future. “I worry about what will happen to him now. I would like to protect him now,” she said. “I love him and miss him in my life. He is very special to me.”
The grandmother believed her grandson was angry that his mother and her partner – the boy’s stepfather – were back together. The boy had only three years earlier been told the man was not his biological father.
Defence counsel David Gibson said the boy was diagnosed with a depressive disorder and autism after the attack, and although neither condition caused someone to commit a crime, the teen went about three years with significant, untreated mental health problems.
It was a “tragic irony”, Mr Gibson said, that the boy didn’t speak to anyone at school about his problems because he was considered quiet, obedient, respectful and shy.
At home, the boy stopped using his family’s native language at age 13, stopped participating in family events and preferred computer games over his family’s company.
He now knew that had he spoken to someone earlier, the tragedy might not have happened, his lawyer said.
A psychiatrist told the court the boy’s depressive disorder coloured his judgment, but he conceded the teen’s actions were disproportionate to the problems. The boy afterwards admitted he “lost control”, the court heard.
The psychiatrist said the boy was undergoing treatment and would get better support in youth detention than when he eventually entered adult prison. He had also reconnected with his biological father.
Justice Christopher Beale will sentence the teen on a later date.
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