Slain Celeste Manno remembered at vigil

Celeste Manno's family didn't want mourners to bring big bouquets of flowers to a memorial for their beloved daughter and girlfriend – they wanted people to mark their grief, and her life, with a single flower or candle.

Celeste Manno with her boyfriend Chris Ridsdale.Credit:Facebook

Ms Manno's family and friends are gathering at a vigil for her on Wednesday night in Mernda. The young woman was found dead in her bedroom in the Mernda home she shared with her mother and brother in the early hours of November 16.

A former colleague, Luay Sako, has been charged with her murder after he allegedly broke in through a window and stabbed her. He had allegedly been stalking Ms Manno in the year before her death.

Ms Manno's mother Aggie Di Mauro said Celeste had gone to police twice about her concerns. The first time she was told nothing could be done.

The alleged harassment continued and she went to police for a second time.

Ms Di Mauro said it was taken more seriously due to "appalling, disgusting" messages on social media and an interim intervention order was put in place.

There was an alleged breach of the order several months later and Mr Sako was arrested, charged and released on summons, Ms Di Mauro said, but the family was advised to keep the intervention order in place.

Aggie Di Mauro at the funeral for her daughter Celeste last week. Credit:Jason South

A petition to strengthen laws around stalking sparked by Celeste's death was tabled by Justice Party MP Tania Maxwell in State Parliament earlier this month after it gathered more than 8000 signatures.

Ms Maxwell said the enforcement around stalking and intervention orders were "an absolute disgrace".

With Simone Fox Koob

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