Crimes That Shook Australia
A collection of six documentaries detailing the biggest and most tragic crimes to hit Australia, from the central POV of families, victims and police.
S01:E01 - Derek Ernest Percy
Derek Percy was imprisoned for the murder of 12-year-old Yvonne Elizabeth Tuohy, after abducting her from a Victorian beach in July 1969. He initially tried to abduct Yvonne and her friend, Shane Spiller, but Shane managed to run away and hide. Percy was eventually tracked down at a nearby naval base, and after being interviewed, showed officers where he had dumped Yvonne’s body. Percy was found not guilty through reason of insanity and detained at her Majesty’s pleasure. After spending over 40 years in prison, he died in July 2013 from lung cancer, refusing to answer any questions in relation to the disappearance of many other children in Victoria. Much debate surrounds the disappearance of the Beaumont children, who disappeared while playing on Glenelg beach, Adelaide in 1966. The two sisters and their brother have never been seen since. Percy has often been suspected of their murder. He is also suspected of the brutal murders of Allen Redston, Linda Stilwell, Simon Brook, and the Wanda beach murders where two teenage friends were stabbed to death.
S01:E02 - The Murder of Ebony Simpson
Ebony Jane Simpson was murdered in Bargo, New South Wales on August 19, 1992. She was only nine years old. After an extensive search involving over 300 people, officers arrested a local man, Andrew Garforth and questioned him. It took less than 15 minutes for him to admit to abducting Ebony while she was walking home from school. Garforth even went to the extent of showing officers where he had left the body—throwing Ebony into a dam after sexually assaulting her. Andrew Peter Garforth pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He gave no motive for the senseless crime and has showed no remorse since Ebony’s death. In this exclusive documentary, we hear from Ebony’s mother, Christine. She tells of her panic and heartbreak as locals and officials desperately searched for her daughter. We also hear from one of the main detectives on the case and one of the officers who was tasked with going to the crime scene and recovering Ebony’s body.
S01:E03 - Jason Alexander Downie
Jason Alexander Downie, initially from Kilmarnock, Scotland, immigrated to Australia with his mother in 2006. He pleaded guilty to stabbing 16-year-old Chantelle Rowe and her parents Andrew and Rose in the South Australian town of Kapunda in November 2010. Downie had become obsessed with Chantelle and jealous of his friend who was dating her. On the evening of the 7th November 2010, Downie crept into the home of Andrew, Rose, and Chantelle Rowe in the small town on Kapunda. Confronted by Andrew, Downie stabbed him 29 times. Downie attacked Rose, stabbing her more than 50 times, and eventually found Chantelle hiding under her bed. Chantelle suffered a frenzied attack, was sexually assaulted, and was found with over 30 stab wounds. Downie was eventually linked to the multiple murders through DNA at the scene. He will spend at least 35 years in jail. In this compelling documentary we uncover the chilling attacks from the main police officer on the investigation, a local reporter, and the Mayor of Kapunda.
S01:E04 - Katherine Mary Knight
Katherine Mary Knight was the first ever Australian woman to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in 2001. The gruesome slaying of her de facto husband, John Price, rocked the small town of Aberdeen and the rest of the country. It is still considered one of the worst cases of domestic violence ever seen. Knight attacked Price in his home in February 2000. While asleep in bed, Price was stabbed repeatedly. In trying to flee, Knight ran after him and continued to stab him in the back. He eventually fell to the floor and died. It is the events following Price’s death which went on to stun the world. Knight, an abattoir worker, then skinned her partner before hanging his hide on a meat hook in the lounge. She then proceeded to cut off his head, and cook it in a pan, ready to serve to his children as a meal, on their return home. Thankfully, the police arrived before the children and arrested Knight, who was by then, dozing in bed.
S01:E05 - Peter Norris Dupas
Peter Norris Dupas is one of Australia’s most prolific serial killers. His vicious attacks on women started at the age of 15, and eventually resulted in the brutal murder and mutilation of three innocent women. On March 19, 1999, Nicky Patterson was repeatedly stabbed at her home in Northcote, Melbourne. Dupas was eventually linked to her murder through DNA evidence and given life imprisonment. Officers then reopened a murder case from 1997. The brutal killing of Margaret Maher, dumped on a roadside in Campbellfield, Victoria, initially remained unsolved until police officers investigated the case once more, and spotted a similar mutilation method used on Nicky Patterson—the removal of the breasts. This along with Dupas DNA at the scene saw him handed a second life sentence for her murder. Following on from that trial, Victoria Police reopened another case from 1997. The brutal attack on a young woman visiting her grandmother’s grave. Mersina Halvagis was stabbed multiple times and left to die in Fawkner cemetery. Dupas would eventually be found guilty of this murder through the help of an ex-inmate and former solicitor, Andrew Fraser. His sensational information claiming Dupas had made confessions about murdering Mersina helped the case go to court and a guilty verdict. Fraser is now in line for some of the $1 million reward the Government put forward for information.
S01:E06 - Port Arthur
Martin Bryant was convicted of murdering 35 people and injuring 21 others in the Port Arthur massacre. Bryant’s rampage began at Seascape guest house near Port Arthur, where it is believed he killed the owners. He then drove to the historical tourist site, walked into the café and began shooting. His victims included women and children. His reign of terror didn’t end there. After shooting indiscriminately with his semi-automatic rifle at locals and tourists, he went outside and shot at people in the car park and the nearby jetty, killing and injuring many. His rampage ranks among the deadliest of the 20th century. He is currently serving 35 life sentences plus 1,035 years without parole in the psychiatric wing of Risdon prison in Hobart, Tasmania. Bryant drove 300 meters down the road, to where a woman and her two children were walking. He stopped and fired two shots killing the woman and the child she was carrying. The older child fled, but Bryant followed her and killed her with a single shot. A short distance down the road he stopped beside a couple in a car and, drawing his weapon, ordered the male occupant into the trunk. After shutting the trunk, he fired two shots into the windscreen, killing the female driver. He then returned to the Seascape guest house, set the stolen car alight and took his hostage inside. The police soon arrived and tried to negotiate with Bryant for many hours before the battery in the phone he was using died, ending communication. Bryant's only demand was to be transported in an army helicopter to an airport. Sometime during the negotiations, Bryant killed his hostage. Bryant was captured 18 hours later after he set fire to the guest house and suffered burns. As a result of the tragedy, gun laws within Australia were quickly changed by then Prime Minister, John Howard. Howard, along with other people involved in the crime, discuss their involvement in this moving documentary.
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