The graphic text messages exchanged between two housemates before they murdered an autistic teen have been revealed.
Something was building inside 24-year old Jemma Lilley.
“I feel as though I cannot rest until the blood or flesh of a screaming victim is gushing out and pooling on the floor” she messaged to her roommate and soon to be accomplice, 42-year-old Trudi Lenon.
Lilley’s homicidal urges had a deadline. She had told a co-worker at Woolworths that she wanted to “tick murder off her bucket list” before she turned 25.
On June 13, 2016, Lilley got her wish.
With the help of Lenon, Lilley lured 18-year-old autistic teen Aaron Pajich to their home in Orelia, Perth. The front gate to the home had a sign reading “Elm Street” – a reference to the 1980s horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Once captive inside, Pajich was garrotted with a wire and stabbed three times with a knife. It’s unclear whether Lenon or Lilley landed the fatal blows.
Prior to the murder, Lilley and Lenon had bought knives, a bone saw and 100 litres of hydrochloric acid in the hopes of dissolving Pajich’s body in a barrel. However, the duo settled for a more straightforward method of disposal.
Pajich’s body was wrapped in a dropsheet, covered in blue tarpaulin and buried in the couple’s backyard.
“I’m seeing things I haven’t seen before and feeling things I haven’t felt before,” Lilley texted Lenon the next day. “You’re welcome” she replied.
Such a brutal murder is not typical of female killers. But Lilley and Lenon were far from typical.
Lilley grew up in Lincolnshire, England in an abusive household. Her mother reportedly abandoned the family when Lilley was still young, in order to “join a cult”.
This experience, along with Lilley being on the autism spectrum, may explain why she retreated into fantasy life at a young age.
Lilley was frequently online and developed an obsession with the macabre including horror films, torture methods and serial killers.
At 15 she wrote a novel entitled Playzone about a serial killer and cult leader called ‘SOS’ whose followers – called “maggots” – would carry out various murders in his name. The name is likely inspired by real-life serial killer David Berkowitz who was also known as “Son of Sam”. She published the book online under the pen name “Syn Demon”.
Lilley would sometimes call herself ‘SOS’ in real life in reference to her darker alter-ego. “When she was angry, she’d warn: ‘SOS is coming out’” Lilley’s father told Channel 7.
In 2010, at 18, Lilley moved to Australia. A few years letter, in order to gain permanent residency Lilley married a gay friend named Gordon Galbraith.
The wedding ceremony was horror-themed, with Lilley dressing up as TV serial killer Dexter, her father the killer Freddy Kruger from A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Galbraith as US serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Lilley’s penchant for the macabre wasn’t restricted to fantasy life. One of her former lovers described her sexual habits as heavily motivated by sadism. She reportedly enjoyed cutting partners with a small knife and choking them during sex.
Galbraith died in a car accident in 2014. Soon after Lilley became friends with the much older Lenon, and they moved in together in early 2016.
Most accounts describe Lenon as “the follower” in the murderous duo.
“Jemma was the dominant partner of the two” noted forensic psychologist Brad Jones to in a story by Seven’s Sunday Night. “She was the leader, or the director, if that makes sense, and Trudi was the submissive who would do what was required of her.”
Lenon was a single mother-of-three, who shared Lilley’s interest in the darker side of life. She was heavily involved in the BDSM scene as a submissive and enjoyed collecting knives.
It was Lenon who selected Pajich as their victim, as he studied at a vocational college with her 14-year-old son. It’s believed Lenon called Pajich on the day of his death asking for help installing new software on her computer and offering to swap some video games for payment.
This call was overheard by Pajich’s landlord, who helped drop him off at a local shopping centre to meet Lilley and Lenon. When Pajich went missing, this information led police directly to Lilley and Lenon’s doorstep.
Once at the address, police viewed CCTV footage of Pajich entering the address, as well as a disturbing footage of Lenon closing and locking the front gate then re-entering the home with a knife in hand.
Lenon and Lilley were soon charged over the murder once Pajich’s body was discovered in the backyard.
Although both women pleaded not guilty, pointing the finger at each other, the evidence against them – including months of Facebook messages and texts describing their plan to kill – was overwhelming.
In late 2017, both Lilley and Lenon were sentenced to life in prison, with a non-parole period of 28 years. In delivering his sentence Justice Stephen Hall noted: “There is nothing to suggest either of you had the slightest regret about what you had done.”
Two months after her sentence Lenon was attacked by a fellow prisoner, Nyiltjiri Naalina Forrest, who doused her in 2 litres of boiling water. Forrest was reportedly disgusted by Lenon’s crime. She suffered burns to 21 per cent of her body but survived the attack.
In late 2018 it was reported that Lilley was in a relationship with fellow inmate and murderer Melony Attwood, a neo-Nazi who brutally killed her former partner for insurance money. The pair were soon separated into separate facilities following complaints.
Pajich’s family continue to suffer the pain of losing their young son.
In late 2020, Pajich’s father Keith Sweetman was awarded $25,000 compensation for the mental and nervous shock he suffered following the murder. In a victim’s impact statement he wrote that he had been “profoundly changed” by his son’s death and had in the past resorted to alcohol to numb the pain.
Charmaine Holyoak-Roberts, the Criminal Injuries Compensation chief assessor, noted the profound disbelief experienced by Sweetman following the murder: “He found it difficult to explain what it felt like knowing his son’s life had been taken and that someone had taken pleasure in doing it”.