An image of Annette Kiss
Annette Kiss was stabbed to death at a suburban Sydney share house. Image by Supplied Nsw Police/AAP PHOTOS
  • homicide

Share house stabbing murder ‘very distressing’ scene

Alex Mitchell June 28, 2024

Police are treating a stabbing death in a Sydney share house as a domestic-violence-related murder, as NSW’s premier concedes more needs to be done to protect women.

Benjamin Scott Art, 42, faced Parramatta Local Court on Friday, charged with the murder of housemate Annette Kiss the previous morning.

The 53-year-old was repeatedly stabbed in her upper body with a bladed weapon at the pair’s home at Russell Lea, in the city’s inner west.

Ms Kiss was found dead at the scene despite police arriving within one minute of receiving a triple-zero call about 11am from a neighbour.

Police at the crime scene
 A neighbour called triple zero after a woman was stabbed at the house. Image by Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS 

Three other housemates were also present at the time, police said.

Investigators are treating it as a domestic-violence-related murder, the latest in a series of women’s violent deaths in NSW in recent months.

Premier Chris Minns signalled his government could take further action to prevent domestic violence, describing the Russell Lea scene as “very distressing” for those present.

“It’s a reminder that NSW police do an incredible job, dealing with distressing situations, putting their own lives in danger to keep the public safe wherever they possibly can,” he told reporters.

“Domestic violence is prevalent in our community and we need to do as much as we possibly can either with law changes, or extra resourcing for the prevention of domestic and family violence in our community, and the job is far from being done.”

The state government in May announced an emergency $230 million funding package to combat domestic violence, while also moving to tighten bail laws for alleged offenders.

The crime scene
 NSW’s premier says police were confronted with a distressing scene. Image by Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS 

Art, who was not on bail or subject to any Apprehended Violence Orders, was taken to hospital for treatment after the incident.

He was then taken to Burwood police station and charged with murder.

In court on Friday, Art did not apply for bail and it was formally refused ahead of his next appearance on August 28.

Police do not believe the pair were in an intimate relationship but had been living together as housemates for as little as two weeks before the death.

Superintendent Christine McDonald said witnesses to the stabbing were “obviously upset”.

“Police were on scene one minute after the triple-zero call. Police arrived at a scene that was very clearly a homicide,” she said on Thursday.

“So you can imagine if you’re known to the victim and you’re a housemate of hers, you will be extremely distressed.”

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