Woman on trial over Scientology stabbings

Sunday Times, Australia/February 18, 2008

A Sydney woman will stand trial on charges of murdering her Scientologist father and teenage sister.

The 25-year-old, who cannot be named, is facing two counts of murder and a third of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent to murder, after a frenzied stabbing at her southwestern Sydney home in July last year.

It is alleged that the woman, who has been diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder, fatally stabbed her 53-year-old father and 15-year-old sister in a psychotic rage at the family's Revesby home.

She is also accused of critically wounding her 52-year-old mother during the attack.

A psychiatric report tendered in court said the woman had been diagnosed at Bankstown Hospital as having a mental illness, but her parents denied her the appropriate psychiatric medication because of their Scientology beliefs.

The woman nevertheless consulted a private psychiatrist and a psychologist after her diagnosis and was prescribed anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication that she took until January this year.

After she stopped taking the prescribed medicine, the woman began to feel anxious, paranoid and depressed, and felt unsafe at home. Her parents did allow her to resume treatment three weeks before the alleged murders, the report said.

Burwood Local Court magistrate Jane Mottley yesterday committed the woman to stand trial in the NSW Supreme Court. It is understood she will mount a mental illness defence.

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