Convicted rapist Michael Cardamone pleads guilty to barbaric murder of Victorian mother Karen Chetcuti

Michael Cardamone

The mother of a Victorian woman tortured and murdered by a rapist on parole has called for the man to be locked up for life, fearing that “no woman or child will be safe” if he’s ever let out.  Michael Cardamone, 50, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Melbourne on Friday to the murder of mother Karen Chetcuti, who disappeared on January 12, 2016.

Police allege Cardamone sedated his 49-year-old neighbour with animal tranquilliser, tied her wrists and ankles with cable ties, duct tape and rope, fractured her skull and ribs, then set her on fire while she was alive.  It was also alleged Cardamone injected Ms Chetcuti with battery acid and drove over her dead body.  Ms Chetcuti’s battered and burnt remains were discovered on January 17, 2016.

Cardamone was out on parole at the time, having been previously convicted for the 2005 rape of a 15-year-old girl,

Outside court, Ms Chetcuti’s mother Clary Verbunt said Cardamone should never be released.  “Now he should be locked up for life, if he comes out no woman or child will be safe in this world,” she told reporters.  Ms Chetcuti’s sister Leny Verbunt said Cardamone’s guilty plea came as a relief.

“I never thought he’d plead guilty,” Ms Verbunt said outside court. “Mum’s 85, and for the children as well, for Karen’s children, this is good that we’re not having this trial.”

Cardamone also pleaded guilty to inciting another to murder.  He will face a formal plea hearing on August 21 and will be sentenced on August 25 in Wangaratta.

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