The devastated boyfriend of murdered Melbourne woman Celeste Manno has described her as a “kind, caring and selfless soul” who was “one of a kind” in a tragic Facebook post.
The 23-year-old’s body was found at her home at around 4.10am on Monday, and it is alleged an intruder smashed through her bedroom window before stabbing her to death.
Her family have claimed a former co-worker at the call centre where she worked had been stalking her and sending her “disgusting messages” in the lead-up to her death, and a 35-year-old man has since been arrested.
The crime has sent shockwaves across the nation, with heartbroken family and friends paying tribute to the popular university graduate, who was about to celebrate her 24th birthday.
Now, her partner Chris Ridsdale has also released a public statement honouring his “dearest Celeste”.
Posting on Facebook alongside a string of pictures of the young couple, Mr Ridsdale explained he “can’t seem to find the words to express how I’m feeling at this time”, and instead opted to paint a picture of the woman Ms Manno had been during her short life.
“Celeste was the kind of person who lit up a room as soon as she walked in. Heads would turn. People would whisper and comment. People took notice,” Mr Ridsdale wrote.
“To say she was beautiful would be an understatement. It was so much more than the way she looked. Celeste was graceful, elegant, charismatic, passionate and old-fashioned – a one of a kind.”
He painted a picture of a young woman who adored her family, especially her mother and baby brother, and was a “kind, caring and selfless soul who had an impact on everyone she came into contact with”.
Mr Ridsdale said she was known as a “gorgeous girl who was kind to those who were bullied”, who befriended those who “struggled to find their place” and an “amazing woman who was a devout and selfless friend”.
“To my dearest Celeste, I love you. I miss you. Rest in peace, my beautiful girl.”
Mr Ridsdale’s message comes as Ms Manno’s grieving friends also shared a moving video of the young woman on social media.
Titled “Forever miss you, Rest In Peace my angel”, the TikTok footage included clips of Ms Manno singing karaoke, donning fancy dress, hugging friends and laughing on the dance floor.
The video attracted an outpouring of sympathy and grief from friends and strangers alike, with one person commenting: “I got goosebumps watching this. She looked like the most sweetest and kindest person. She didn’t deserve for her life to end. RIP Celeste.”
Another said her murder was a “senseless tragedy” and posted that “Melbourne grieves with you”.
On Tuesday, father Tony Manno slammed Victoria’s justice system, claiming the state had failed his daughter and many other victims.
“(The system’s) gotta be changed; it won’t bring her back, but it’s gotta be changed,” he said.
“What’s it going to take for the Government to listen. It could be yours (daughter).
“It’s not right. It’s got to stop.”