Episode 3 The Callous Murder of Aaron Pajich-Sweetman

Powered by RedCircle

In a supermarket in a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, employee Matthew was stacking shelves on his first day back at work after a holiday when his supervisor, Jemma Lilley, approached him. ‘I did it,’ she told him. When he inquired what she had done. Jemma Lilley replied, ‘I did it – I killed someone.’

In a supermarket in a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, employee Matthew was stacking shelves on his first day back at work after a holiday when his supervisor, Jemma Lilley, approached him. ‘I did it,’ she told him. When he inquired what she had done. Jemma Lilley replied, ‘I did it – I killed someone.’

Matthew may have thought that Jemma, who was known to have a love of knives and horror, was joking, but she then went on to say how the killing hadn’t gone to plan, and explained, quote, ‘The wire broke. I had to get Trudi to hold him down – there was a lot of blood.’ Later on, Jemma showed Matthew a photograph in a newspaper of a local 18-year-old man who at the time was missing. Jemma commented on how dumb the police were for wanting to find a woman and a man named Daniel, and added that they would never find the woman.

During the same shift, Jemma showed Matthew a tattoo design she said she wanted to get. The tattoo depicted a medieval style jester which was suspended like a puppet but hanging limp on the end of the strings. Jemma told Matthew that she wanted the design to signify what she had done – a symbol to represent the significance of killing someone. 

Matthew told her that she could be in trouble if he went to the police. Jemma Lilley replied quote, ‘I don’t think you will tell anyone but if you did I would have to make that problem go away,’ end quote.

After the shift, Jemma text Matthew. One of her messages read, ‘It’s OK, I’m a good storyteller. I was quite convincing wasn’t I?.’ But the 25-year-old supermarket supervisor’s “story” of killing the missing young man, was what a jury would later conclude to be true.

Welcome to Turned Up Dead, I’m Fiona and the true crime story I’m going to tell you today, is of the callous murder of 18-year-old Aaron Pajich-Sweetman.

Although she hadn’t lived with the young man she had met at church very long, Adrienne Reid found it unusual when Aaeon, her lodger, didn’t return home one evening and that her text messages to him went unanswered and her calls straight to voicemail. Earlier the same day, on the morning of Monday June 13 2016, she had dropped Aaron off at a local shopping center to meet a woman who she believed would take Aaron to meet a friend of his. Aaron had seemed happy and they told each other, ‘God bless you,’ before Aaron, wearing dark grey cargo pants, a light blue long sleeve t-shirt and a beige/grey jacket, went into the Rockingham shopping centre.

The next day, still not having seen or heard from Aaron, or being able to contact him, and having looked for him at the college, the park, his dad’s house and his gaming haunts, she contacted police and reported her new housemate, and friend, who called her Lady A, as missing. 

By Friday June 17, there still hadn’t been any sight or word from Aaron and the police appealed for the public’s help.

By Saturday 18th of June, neither Aaron’s bank account nor travel pass had been used and his phone remained switched off.

Aaron’s mother, Sharon Pajich told Nine News Perth, quote, ‘What goes through your mind is the worst, that something has happened, and I don’t want to lose a child,’ end quote. Sharon pleaded to the public for help, quote, ‘I need help to find where he is, we are worried. His dad is worried out of his mind.’

It was on this day, whilst stacking shelves in a supermarket aisle, that Jemma Lilley told her “story” of killing Aaron to her colleague, Matthew. Either due to disbelief or fear of Lilley making good on her threat, Matthew didn’t inform the police.

The last time Aaron had been seen by anyone who had been in contact with the police, was shortly before 10:00am on June 13th when Lady A dropped him off at the Rockingham center. Aaron’s phone records revealed that the last call to his phone that he had answered had been from Trudi Lennon. 

On Sunday 19th of June, the Major Crime Squad joined the investigation into Aaron’s disappearance. 

The next night, Trudi Lenon and Jemma Lilley returned to their home, in the Perth suburb of Orelia to find police waiting for them. One police detective stopped Lilley as she went to get on one of her motorbikes and asked to look around the property. Lilley obliged and showed police into her home. In the living room, which Lilley used as her bedroom, a square of carpet had been cut from the floor. The room was decorated with horror posters and other gory memorabilia. In the kitchen, another Chucky doll stood next to a set of kitchen knives holding its own knife. Lilley showed police outside the house and lifted a tarp to show some red tiles which had been badly laid on what looked like a newly-laid slab of concrete. When police asked Lilley where she’d been on June 13, Lilley said she had gone on a motorbike ride to Mundaring, which is about 50 kilometres from her home and in the opposite direction from the Rockingham Center. She detailed the route she had taken and said that the hot roast she had at a hotel was worth going for. Trudi Lennon also denied meeting anyone at Rockingham Shopping Centre on 13th June 2016.

On Tuesday 21st June, Aaron’s stepmother, Veronica Desmond, appeared on Ten Eyewitness News Perth and said that she was worried that something had happened to Aaron or that someone had harmed him. Aaron hadn’t contacted his father, who he would often call, sometimes even daily, and knowing that Aaron could be easily led, perhaps more so than an average 18-year-old as Aaron was autistic, she worried that they were too late and something worse had happened.

There had been a number of reported sightings of Aaron but despite none of them being confirmed by police, Veronica said she was, quote, ‘Trying to be positive that yes that was him and he’s just for some reason decided to, I don’t know, go off for a while but it is sorta very unlike him,’ end quote. Three of the places where Aaron had reportedly been seen were on Wednesday at the Rockingham Centre ordering a coffee, at a cinema, and at a bank. However Aaron’s bank account and public transport card hadn’t been used since he disappeared more than a week earlier.

Now armed with a warrant, police returned to do a thorough search of Lenon and Lilley’s residence. The recently laid red tiles and layer of cement were removed and underneath a blue tarpaulin, in a shallow grave and wrapped in a white drop sheet, was the body of 18-year-old Aaron. There was a stab wound and bruising to his neck, defensive wounds on his hands, and a further two stab wounds to his chest. 

The women, who were already in police custody for questioning, were charged with murder.

Inside the house, police seized multiple knives including machetes, scalpels, butcher’s knives, and a knife set that included a bone saw. A notebook was also taken. Inside was a handwritten alphabetised list of methods of torture and notes about ‘choking/strangling’ by garrotte

In the garage, police found a cooking pot which contained a large chunk of meat submerged in acid.

Aaron’s family were given the life-shattering news that night.

Having first denied having anything to do with Aaron’s disappearance, but now faced with the evidence police had, in her first police interview after the discovery of Aaron’s body, Trudi Lenon admitted that she had invited Aaron to the house on June 13th – apparently to load some games on her son’s computer as a surprise – and that she and Jemma Lilley had picked him up from the Rockingham centre but alleged she didn’t know that he’d be killed. Lennon claimed that when they got to the house, she had gone to lie down because she felt unwell. She said had fallen asleep and that when she awoke, Aaron wasn’t there. 

She said she had suspected that something might have happened to Aaron, and mentioned there being, quote, ‘some DIY stuff happening out the back,’ end quote, but she said she feared a hitman would be sent after her if she said anything and told police, quote, ‘They might be able to get my kids and my family. If I keep my mouth shut then it should be OK,’ end quote.

The day after Aaron was found, his father, Keith Sweetman, had the heartwrenching task of identifying his 18-year-old son’s body. As forensics continued their search of the crime scene, news broke that Aaron had been found deceased and that two women were in custody, but no details of the manner of his death were revealed. The Facebook page R.I.P. Aaron Pajich-Sweetman was created, and a fundraiser was started to help with funeral costs.

In her second police interview, which also took place the day after Aaron was found, Trudi Lennon continued to point the finger at Jemma Lilley. 

When Detective Sergeant Blaine asked her if Lilley had groomed her into meeting Aaron and taking him to her to, quote, ‘Carry out what she needed to do’ end quote, Lennon answered, ‘Yes’, and then added, ‘But I didn’t think she would do it.’

The detective asked Lenon about a book that Lilley had written when she was about 16. She had named the book Playzone and it told the story of a fictional serial killer and leader of a group of followers whom he trains to torture and kill. The followers are called ‘maggots’. Lilley had named the killer SOS after real life serial killer David Berkowitz, who referred to himself as Son of Sam. Lilley also referred to herself as SOS; she had an SOS tattoo, she rode a Yamaha motorbike which had the personalised plates 1SOS1, and she used the name SOS in messages between her and Lenon.

When Detective Sergeant Blain suggested that Lilley had wanted to make the fictional story a reality, Lenon. Lenon also agreed when asked if Lilley thought she was one of her followers. She told the detective that she believed Lilley, quote, ‘really thinks she’s this SOS character,’ end quote. Lenon then went on to give her version of the events of June 13th.

The West Australian reported that Lenon told police, quote, ‘She came up behind him and tried to put some wire thingy … a garrotte thingy … and it snapped. I walked out … and came back. She was on top of him with a knife, I walked out again,’ end quote. 

Lenon claimed that when she returned again, Lilley was on top of him with a knife, and when she asked Lilley what she’d done, Lilley answered, ‘He’s dead.’ ‘Then,’ Lenon told police, quote ‘She made me help her clean everything up,’ end quote.

But Lenon hadn’t been an bystander of a planned murder of which she knew nothing about, and she started to let that slip as the questioning continued. When Det Sgt Blaine suggested that Lenon had fulfilled her role as Lilley’s follower, her maggot, she replied, ‘Mm-hmm,’ and when he said, ‘You contacted Aaron that morning, knowing what was likely to happen,’ Lenon replied, quote, ‘Possibly, yeah.’

In her interviews with police Jemma Lilley pointed the finger at Lennon and claimed that she had been asleep when Aaron was killed.

Back at the property, police had discovered a concealed room. The door to the room had been fitted back to front and was locked. Police used a sledgehammer to break the lock in order to enter the room. What they found inside was disturbing. The windows were covered with black plastic and the walls were covered in more of the blue tarpaulin. A red tool box was in one corner and a shopping trolley, or cart, stood in the room. It’s sides had been cut away and two wooden planks were attached to the base; a sort of makeshift gurney. The wood had some red stains on it and a clump of dark hair was wrapped around one of the wheels. A single strand was caught in the frame. A cloth found close to a mop had what looked like blood on it. The tiled floor showed no signs of bloodshed.

The following day, Thursday June 23rd, both women appeared separately at Perth Magistrates Court. Neither made an application for bail and they were both remanded in custody. 

The same day, police revealed to the public that Aaron might have known one of his killers as they had studied at the same college in Kwinana.

In the evening, around 300 people gathered at a candlelit vigil in Kwinana to honour Aaron’s life. The community prayed and sang songs, including Hallelujah, and those that knew Aaron, shared memories of him.

Aaron Pajich-Sweetman was born on February 20th 1998 to parents Sharon Pajich and Keith Sweetman. At age 18, Arron had let his dark hair grow long and was about 5 foot 5 inches tall, or 167cm. He had a slim build and an open, friendly face. Aaron was on the autism spectrum, which may have contributed to his trusting nature.

Aaron was a gamer and had a personal YouTube channel where he uploaded some gaming videos. He was also into anime and superheroes. His Facebook memorial page is full of friends and family telling him to ‘fly high,’ and people have posted happy birthday wishes to him each year since his death.

The vigil for him was organised by a man who had never met Aaron. 

In April, Aaron left home to move in with ‘Lady A’ in Waikiki. They would attend church together and she drove him to the local TAFE college while he was studying electronic engineering. She said Aaron was just like one of her own children.

But Aaron would visit his father every other day and sometimes even daily. Aaron’s father last saw his son a couple of days before his life was taken. They talked about Aaron’s future plans. At 18, Aaron had a whole lifetime ahead of him. He told his dad that he wanted to study, save money and go to Japan. His last words to his father were, ‘I love you dad, seeya.’

On October 26th, Lilley and Lenon both entered pleas of not guilty. They were remanded in custody until the following October when their trial would start.

Evidence gathered for the trial told a very real horror story of Aaron’s murder.

Jemma Lilley, who is British, had been living in Australia for more than five years when she invited her friend Trudi Lenon and her two sons to move into her house. The women quickly formed a dangerous bond, and inside the house, which they called ‘Elm Street’ they told each other their darkest thoughts. In less than a month, their fantasies of violence and murder would become reality.

On May 31st 2016, in an online conversation, Lilley and Lenon spoke of being ‘ready’ to kill. Lilley wrote, ‘I feel as though I cannot rest until the blood or flesh of a screaming victim is gushing out and pooling on the floor,’ and continued, ‘I cannot shift this belief that the world has become not only ready for me but it needs me to be ready.’ Lenon replied, ‘It is definitely time – I am ready, you are ready.’

Items from a Bunnings shopping receipt dated May 16th showed items used in the murder and attempted cover-up. Bunnings is a hardware store similar to Homebase in the UK and ACE Hardware in the US and Canada. On June 3rd, the pair returned to the store. So far they had purchased a circular saw, bleach, acetone, a large drop sheet, big blue barrel, a container of acid.

On Sunday June 12, the day before they murdered Aaron, they visited two Bunnings stores and bought the same product; 40 litres of hydrochloric acid in one store, and 60 litres of hydrochloric acid in another.

On the morning of Monday the 13th of June 2016, Lennon called Aaron. Lilley had never met Aaron, but Lenon had one lived across the street from Aaron and his family and had known him for about nine years. Under the pretence of installing some games on a computer for one of her sons, who Aaron had often played with, Lenon invited him to the house.

Lennon and Lilley got to the Rockingham center early. Before meeting Aaron, they were seen on security cameras at the Department of Transport and again in an electronics store where they bought a Polaroid camera. They waited for the bank to open and Trudi left the centre to move her car from where she had originally parked it, to an area at the back of the car park furthest away from cameras.

Lady A dropped Aaron off at the Rockingham center at 9:55 a.m. where he was seen walking in the centre alone. He was to meet the women by K-mart. Despite trying to park away from cameras, one recorded Aaron jogging to Lennon’s car and all three were seen in the car as they exited; Lennon driving, Lilley as in the passenger seat, and Aaron sitting in the back.

Lilley had a few motorbikes and had installed four motion-sensor security cameras around her property as protection and it was one of these that caught her, Lenon, and Aaron entering the house via the back entrance at 10:30 that morning. About 30 minutes later the same camera was activated and picked up Lenon exiting and reentering the house carrying what looked like a large knife. After this it’s assumed the cameras were switched off as there is no more footage from that day.

As to what happens next, no one but Lilley and Lenon know and neither of them were telling the whole truth. However, some of Lenon’s claims are matched by the huge amount of evidence left behind.

It’s believed that once in the living room, Lilley approached Aaron from behind and wrapped a garrotte around his neck. Aaron struggled causing the wire of the garrotte to snap. Aaron was then stabbed three times, most likely by Lilley, with Lennon helping to hold him down. Two of the stab wounds were to his chest, puncturing his liver and lungs, and the third was to his neck, which severed a jugular vein.

Aaron’s body was then moved to the plastic covered room and the women started their clean up.

Lenon alleged that Lilley’s first plan was to cut up Aaron’s body. Going by the amount of hydrochloric acid they had bought, and the-meat in-acid experiment in the garage, it is thought that both women had initially planned to dispose of Aaron’s body via dismemberment and acid. However, this plan was abandoned and replaced with the one to bury him.

The day after killing Aaron, Lilley tattooed ‘SOS’ on Lenon’s forearm. 

On either this day or the next, Lilley told her coworker, Ms Davey, that she had broken her garrotte, which she had previously taken to work and shown to Ms Davey. When Lilley was telling her this, her coworker noticed scratch marks on Lilley’s arms and a bite mark on her wrist.

The killers made further trips to Bunnings, and visited a salvage yard where they purchased ten boxes of red floor tiles for AU$50.

They then wrapped Aaron’s body in a white drop sheet and put it in the hole they had dug. They laid some blue tarpaulin on top and mixed the concrete. One of Lenon’s sons, perhaps the one Lenon had used to get Aaron to the house, unknowingly helped his mother and Lilley pour concrete and tile over Aaron’s body.

On June 18th, in the aisle of the supermarket, Lilley told Matthew she had killed Aaron.

On Sunday June 19th, Lilley messaged a tattoo artist and said she wanted to change the gun the jester in her planned tattoo was holding, to a knife. She had already made an appointment to get the tattoo.

On Monday 20th, the women returned home and denied knowledge of Aaron’s whereabouts to the police, who Lilley had joked about being dumb just two days earlier. 

Aaron’s funeral was on the afternoon of July 12th. It was a bright sunny day for what was described as a ‘touching & beautiful send off.’ Family and friends gathered to celebrate Aaron’s life and at his stepmother’s request, some of his friends and family dressed up as superheroes and in place of flowers, people brought & released helium balloons.

During the service, photographs of Aaron throughout his life were projected on a screen.

One of Aaron’s former teachers, Ms Megan Wiassa, spoke about knowing Aaron she described a young man with a big heart and a loving, trusting nature with a lot of love to give. She said he was quote, ‘He was joyful, helpful [and] always had a smile on his face.’ She told of an occasion when Aaron had been a student of hers and had invited her to his birthday party. When she explained how, as his teacher, she couldn’t go, Aaron replied, quote, ‘But Ms Wiassa, you’re not my teacher, you’re my friend,’ end quote. So, she took her son, and they went to Aaron’s party and had a fantastic time. Ms Wiassa said, quote, ‘I remember that day like yesterday,’ end quote.

Aaron’s parents described the day as the most difficult in their life. On their behalf, the pastor delivered a eulogy: ‘Aaron drew out kindness,’ he said, ‘and pulled generosity out from everyone he touched, he was everyone’s best friend.’

On behalf of Aaron’s mother, he read, quote, ‘To my son, I bid you farewell,’ and, ‘you taught me more about life than anything I’ve ever experienced,’ end quote.

A private cremation took place after the ceremony.

Lilley and Lenon were tried together and their trial began at Western Australia’s Supreme Court on October 2nd 2017. Both defendants were pleading not-guilty to murder.

The prosecution argued that both women were guilty of murder and the evidence showed them to have worked together in killing Aaron; Lilley had choked him with her garrotte until it broke and then she had stabbed him while Lenon held him down. The murder had been a fulfilment of their shared violent fantasies with Lilley’s motivation being to indulge her homicidal tendencies and, as the prosecutor told the jury, quote, ‘for the euphoria and exhilaration of it.’ Lenon’s motivation, they said, was to serve Lilley.

Sticking to the versions of events surrounding Aaron’s death, which they had first told police, the defendants deployed what’s called a cut-throat defence where each woman blamed the other in an attempt to exonerate herself.

Supermarket employees Matthew and Ms Davey testified that after June 13 2016, Lilley had told Matthew that she had killed someone and Ms Davey that she had broken her garrotte.

Matthew testified that Lilley had described the killing to him. She told how it hadn’t gone to plan because the wire of the garrotte had broken. The following description is graphic and caused Aaron’s stepmother who left the court in tears. He said that Lilley told him that when she stabbed Aaron in the chest, the knife made a cracking sound and that she had to push the knife in a long way, which was hard.

Another coworker of Lilley’s told the court that in April or May of 2016, Lilley had told him that quote, ‘SOS was going to come out soon,’ end quote. 

Ms Davey testified that Lilley had told her something similar around the same time and that the garrotte Lilley had shown her was very similar to the garrotte found by police at Lilley’s property.

The jury heard from a video store employee who said that in late 2013 or early 2014, Lilley told her that she wanted to kill someone by age 25.

A man testified that in April 2016, with his consent, Lilley had cut him with a knife. Before this, they had spent hours talking about knives and cutting; Lilley had confessed to him that she had wanted to cut herself and she had cut someone else in the past. She had made two 3-4cm cuts on his right leg with what she told him was her favourite knife. The cuts weren’t deep but bleed a little. The man had then cut Lilley’s leg. 

The jury saw video & photographs of the crime scene. Some of these showed Aaron’s body still wrapped and in the uncovered grave in womens’ yard. Diagrams of Aaron’s injuries were shown and Dr Jodi White’s gave testimony of their extent and nature and stated that the use of a garrotte could have caused the bruising to Aaron’s neck.

Facebook messages between Lilley and Lenon from April and May 2016 were shown as evidence of Lenon’s desire to follow and serve Lilley. In these messages, Lenon used the name Corvina, which was a name she had used when she was involved in Perth’s BDSM scene. These messages between the defendants showed the development of a friendship in which Lilley, going by the name SOS, was dominant. The first of these messages was from Lenon and said, quote, ‘I will fear you but respect you … I would not challenge you. I would naturally submit to you. My fear would be because I am in awe of you, and because I respect what you are and I see you as my dominant,’ end quote.

A message sent from Lilley days before the murder read, quote, ‘I feel as though I cannot rest until the blood of a fresh, screaming, pleading victim is gushing out and pooling on the floor, until all the roads and streets are stained red and abandoned and the fear in the back of everyone’s mind and on the tongue of every human left standing, is SOS. I cannot shift this belief that the world has become not only ready, but it needs me to be ready,’ end quote. Lenon responded, ‘It’s definitely time. I am ready, you are ready.’

Lilley took the stand. Over five days she admitted that she had first lied and that Aaron had been at her house and that she and Lenon were the only others there with him. She also said that she had been involved in purchasing items used in the murder, and laying the tiles over his body. She even admitted that the garrotte used in the murder was identical to hers. However, she alleged that once they got to the house after being at the Rockingham centre, she went into a bedroom and fell asleep. The last time she had seen Aaron, he was alive and sitting on the sofa. Lilley claimed she had lied about this because Lenon asked her to, because Lenon didn’t want anyone to know that she had been the last person to see Aaron. She claimed that when she woke up Aaron was gone. She said Lenon had cleaned the house and buried Aaron alone – she didn’t know he was below the tiles when she laid them. According to her, when she asked about the missing square of carpet and sofa, Lenon told her the cats had urinated on them.

Lilley said the messages in which she used the name SOS were all part of a fictional role-play for an upcoming book. SOS and Corvina were to be characters in the book and the messages she and Lenon had sent each other were in the context of those characters meeting.

Lennon didn’t take the stand but the jury did get to see and hear her speak. Three recordings of interviews she had had with police were played to the court. In these interviews Lenon told her version of events in which she was innocent of murder and that she didn’t know of Lilley’s plan to murder Aaron.

In her defence, a still image from .gif found on Lilley’s phone was shown. It depicted a woman cutting a man’s throat on the left. In their closing address, Lenon’s defence said the image showed, quote, ‘the stabbing to the left side of the neck, which is where in fact Mr Pajich was stabbed.’ I suppose they were trying to make the jury doubt Lenon’s guilt of murder by showing that Lilley had caused this wound, which was fatal. There was the chance that some jurors might not find Lenon guilty by reasoning that she hadn’t caused his fatal injuries.

On November 1 2017, the jury deliberated for just two and a half hours before coming to the decision that both defendants were guilty of murder.

When the verdict was delivered, there was no visible reaction from Lilley nor Lenon.

Whilst Aaron’s parents were ‘emotionally devastated’ from hearing some of the worst things imaginable that had been done to their child, they were happy that justice had been done and hopeful for life sentences.

The trial had lasted five weeks and due to the nature of the crime and evidence seen and heard, counselling was made available for the jurors. 

After the trial, Sharon Pajich said, quote, ‘You just can’t get it out of your head, it’s going to be a lifetime for me.’ Aaron’s father felt the same and called his son a hero for the fight he put up. 

On February 28th 2018, Aaron’s killers were both sentenced to life with minimum of 28 years. The Supreme Court judge described what they had done as ‘morally repugnant.’

After the sentencing, Aaron’s stepmother had a message for the killers. Through the media she told them, quote, ‘I hope you live to regret what you’ve done,’ end quote.

This was a difficult episode to research and write and the first to bring me to tears. OK, I’m going to share some thoughts and updates. My thoughts are just my personal thoughts based on what I was able to read and watch about this case. I have no background in law, law enforcement, or psychology.

I’m glad that both Lilley and Lenon were found guilty of murder and I think their sentences were deserved. About the verdict, I wrote, ‘the jury deliberated for just two and a half hours before coming to the decision that both defendants were guilty of murder,’ but what I was thinking was, ‘the jury took just two and a half hours to see through Lilley’s and Lenon’s bullshit.’

Jemma Liley had the audacity to try to appeal her conviction. She thought it unfair that the jury was shown a number of pieces of evidence. These were mostly her own comments about SOS to other people and the book she had written as a teenager. I think if Lilley hadn’t referred to herself as SOS, had the tattoo and numberplate and so on, she might have a point. But she did refer to herself as SOS, have the tattoo and numberplate and so on and I think that’s exactly why the book was allowed as evidence; whereas others who write about serial killers create fictional characters and write fiction, Lilley created a character that represented her homicidal fantasies which she then tried to make a reality. Thankfully, Lilley’s appeal was denied.

I have no idea why Lilley became the person she did – was it due to nature or nurture? Or both? Her obsession with killing was said to have started at an early age. Her parents separated because of the physical and psychological abuse her mother inflicted on children. But lots of people experience that and don’t become killers. 

Lilley herself said that she feels no emotion for other people, and a woman who had been her stepmother described Lilley as a psychopath who was deranged.

Perhaps she is a psychopath? 

Whatever she is, she is nowhere near as clever as she seems to think and I’ve no idea how she thought anyone would find her not guilty.

I doubt Lilley will ever feel guilt for what she did, not only to Aaron but to his family, friends, and even their community. I expect Lilley will pose the same threat after the minimum term of 28 years, when she’ll be about 53.

Less is known about Lenon’s background but I’d still say she probably wouldn’t have taken part in a murder if it weren’t for Lilley, although don’t get me wrong – she did take part in a murder and that was her choice, so I believe she is rightfully being held accountable for a reasonable length of time. Would Lenon be a threat to society if she were released in the future? Without Lilley’s influence, perhaps not. If she were to be released after the minimum term, she would be 70 at the very least, and therefore even less likely to be a risk. That’s if she even lives long enough. But saying she does, Lennon has three children, who might have children of their own by then. Should they be denied the chance to be their mother and grandmother if she has served her time?

I don’t know.

Lenon took advantage of a man she had known since he was a child; a young man who was barely out of childhood who had played with her own sons. I don’t know if Lenon was aware that Aaron was autistic, but she definitely knew that he would trust her. I think it’s fair to say that if Lenon hadn’t invited Aaron to the house, he would still be alive. And that’s not even considering Lenon’s actions during the killing.

Lenon also involved her own child in the attempted cover up, so maybe her children and any grandchildren are better off without her. How traumatising must it have been for her son when he discovered that he had helped his mother conceal Aaron’s body, who he considered his friend?

After the verdict of guilty was given, Aaron’s father said, quote, ‘I’m devastated, I’m lost. I don’t know how to continue from here on but I have to. We’re never going to recover from this,’ end quote.

In May 2020 Aaron’s father was financially compensated for the enduring mental suffering he now lives with that was caused by Aaron’s murder. After Aaron was killed, he felt guilty that he might have made his son more vulnerable by being overly protective of him. This led to drinking, comfort eating, and suicidal thoughts. I did read that he sought psychological treatment and I hope that this money will allow him to continue getting the support he needs. It breaks my heart to hear that he felt guilty. From what I can see he was doing his best for his son, who was tricked by an old neighbour and the mother of his friend. There’s no way to prepare for that.

At his funeral, Aaron’s former teacher shared a message which I would like to end this episode with. She said, ‘There are a lot of vulnerable members of our community – the elderly, young children, people with disabilities – when you come across someone who is vulnerable, think of Azza.

Don’t laugh at them, don’t ridicule them, don’t isolate them – wrap your arms around them and make them feel loved.

And if you can’t embrace them, that’s ok, but please don’t hurt them, just let them be.’

Thank you for listening to this episode of Turned Up Dead. 

Remember, if you listen carefully, even the words of liars will tell you the truth.

Court Documents

Online articles

News programmes