A STAR of Courage – one of Australia’s highest bravery honours – has been bestowed on a dedicated mother who lost her life defending her daughter.
Angela Ferullo died after she was stabbed in the Como hair salon she and daughter Selina Bello ran together.
On June 24, 2013, James Bill Payet, Ms Ferullo’s former partner, attacked them both and customer Peggy Alexander-Kew.
Last May he was sentenced to life in prison with a 25-year minimum.
Mrs Alexander-Kew has also been honoured with a Bravery Medal – for acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances – in the first round of the Australian Bravery Decorations for 2015, announced by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove.
Ms Bello, then pregnant with son Emilio Angelo, was stabbed by Payet after she would not say where her mother was.
Hearing her daughter scream, Ms Ferullo ran from the rear of the salon and threw herself over her daughter, suffering fatal knife wounds.
Her posthumous honour was awarded for acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril.
A regular customer at the salon, Mrs Alexander-Kew attempted to rescue mother and daughter as Payet, armed with two hunting knives, attacked.
As Payet dragged Ms Ferullo towards the front door, Mrs Alexander-Kew threw a heavy salon chair at Payet who then punched, stabbed and shoved her. But the grandmother disregarded her own safety and again threw the chair at Payet, who then fled.
She locked the door and called 000.
“Sadly, there are those whose brave acts mean they are no longer with us,” General Cosgrove said. “Today, to their families, I express the nation’s sadness at your loss but pride in your loved one’s actions.
“We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to put themselves in harm’s way to assist others in need, and it is only fitting that they have today been recognised through the Australian Honours system.”