Real Life

Crimes that captured the nation

Crimes that captured the nation

Australia has been gripped by the disappearance and murder of Jill Meagher. We look at some other crimes that captivated the nation.

Jill Meagher

The disappearance of ABC employee Jill Meagher has gripped Australia. Jill failed to return to her Brunswick home after work drinks at a nearby pub on Friday, September 21. CCTV showed her talking to a man who was subsequently arrested and charged with her rape and murder. The alleged killer led police to Jill’s body in a shallow grave 40 minutes out of Melbourne.

Anita Cobby

Anita, a nurse and beauty pageant winner, was just 26 years old when she was abducted from Blacktown on February 2, 1986. She was raped and murdered at nearby Prospect in a brutal crime that provoked national outrage. Five men, including three brothers, were convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Daniel Morcombe

Daniel was 13 years old when he was abducted from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003. He had been to buy Christmas presents for his family, but failed to return. His remains were found in August 2011, and Brett Peter Cowan was charged with his murder the same month.

Allison Baden-Clay

The disappearance of beautiful Queensland mother of three Allison Baden-Clay left her community devastated. Her husband Gerard claimed she had failed to return from an evening walk. Ten days later her body was found in a creek. Gerard was charged with her murder and is currently awaiting trial.

Samantha Knight

Samantha was just nine years old when she disappeared from her Bondi home in August, 1986. Her body has never been found but convicted paedophile Michael Guider pleaded guilty to her manslaughter, claiming she accidentally overdosed on the sedatives he gave all his victims. Guider was sentenced to 17 years in prison in August 2002.

The Beaumont Children

Jane, nine, Arnna, seven, and Grant, four, were three siblings who disappeared from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide on Australia Day in 1966. Their case resulted in one of the largest police investigations in Australian history, but it remains unsolved. The children were never seen again.

Ebony Simpson

Ebony was nine years old when she was abducted by Andrew Peter Garforth as she disembarked from her school bus in Bargo in August 1992. Gerforth raped and murdered Ebony before joining hundreds of locals and police in the search for the schoolgirl. He later confessed to the crime and was sentenced to life in prison in 1993.

Janine Balding

Janine Balding was 20 when she was abducted from a Sydney train station by five youths in September 1988. She was raped, murdered and dumped in a dam. The crime was shocking, especially when the ages of the attacker were revealed. Four of the five were under the aged of 16, including a 15-year-old girl.

Peter Falconio

British tourist Peter Falconio made headlines worldwide when he disappeared in the Australian outback in July 2001 while travelling with his girlfriend Joanne Lees. Peter’s body has never been found but Bradley John Murdoch was convicted of his murder and the assault of Lees in 2006.

Graeme Thorne

Graeme was eight years old when he disappeared on his way to school in Bondi in July, 1960. His parents, who had recently won the lottery, received a ransom call 70 minutes after Graeme went missing but never received instructions about how to handover the money. Graeme’s body was found five weeks later. Hungarian immigrant Stephen Bradley was convicted of the crime and died in prison in 1968.

The backpacker murders

The bodies of seven young people were found in the Belanglo Stare Forest, south west of Sydney, in the 1990s. Three victims were German, two British and two Australia and all were believed to be hitchhiking when they were picked up and murdered. Ivan Milat was convicted on the murders in 1996 and is serving seven consecutive life sentences plus 18 years.

Kerry Whelan

Kerry Whelan was a 39-year-old mother of three who disappeared in 1997. She was last seen getting into a car with Bruce Burrell at a Parramatta hotel. Her body has never been found but Burrell was convicted of her murder, as well as the 1995 murder of 74-year-old grandmother Dorothy Davis, and sentenced to 44 years in prison.

Victor Chang

Renowned heart surgeon Victor Chang was shot twice in the head on the streets of Mosman after a failed extortion attempt. Two Malaysian men, Chew Seng Liew and Choon Tee Lim, were convicted his murder and sentenced to prison. Lim was granted parole in 2010 and deported to Malaysia. Liew was granted bail earlier this month, but the ruling is currently being challenged.

Wanda Beach murders

The bodies of 15-year-old teenagers Marianne Schmidt and Christine Sharrock were discovered at Wanda Beach on January 12, 1965. The crime received worldwide publicity, but remains unsolved.

Claremont murders

The wealthy Perth suburb of Claremont was plunged into chaos in 1996 and 1997 when three young women disappeared in similar circumstances after nights out at local bars. The bodies of Jane Rimmer, 23, and Ciara Glennon, 27, were found in bushland but the body of Sarah Spiers has never been found. The crime remains unsolved.

Snowtown murders

Also known as the Bodies in Barrels murders, the Snowtown murders refer to the murders of 11 people in South Australia between August 1992 and May 1999. The remains of eight victims were found in barrels of acid in a disused bank vault in Snowtown in 1999. Two more bodies were found buried in a backyard in another suburb. Three men were convicted of murder, and a fourth of assisting.

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