Episode 9: The Walsh Street Massacre – Deadly Revenge

It is discomforting to watch events unfold, to see the terrible vulnerability in the very people who are sworn to protect us, writes  Ruth Wykes.   In the early hours of Wednesday 12 October 1988 two young Victorian police constables, Steven Tynan and Damian Eyre, were ambushed and shot dead in Walsh Street, South Yarra. It was a…Read more

Episode 8: Patricia Byers – Black Widow

  Cold-blooded, calculated murder comes from a very dark heart, writes Ruth Wykes, you may think you know your partner but maybe you never did at all.   When the Queensland Coastguard received a distress call from a yacht in Queensland’s Moreton Bay their reaction was swift. Pirates, it was reported, boarded the yacht and…Read more

The Bystander Effect

In the early morning of 3 March 1964 residents of apartments located around Kew Gardens, a neighbourhood in New York City, were startled to hear a woman’s screams – “Oh my God, he stabbed me”. Several witnesses were believed to have heard or seen the attack but no one directly intervened. A man was seen to run…Read more

Little Boy Lost – The Disappearance of William Tyrell

Amongst the most tragic of all crimes are those involving the unexplained disappearance of children. In Australia there have been several such cases, with perhaps the most infamous involving the Beaumont children, three siblings aged 9, 7 and 4 who disappeared from South Australia’s Glenelg Beach on Australia Day 1966. However in recent times the disappearance of…Read more

Episode 7: Raymond Edmunds – “Mr Stinky”

It was a crime that rippled across the community and damaged everyone involved, writes true crime writer Ruth Wykes,   On 10 February 1966 two vastly different matters dominated the news: Australia was four days away from converting to decimal currency and in Adelaide, three children – the Beaumonts – had been missing for fifteen days. Little attention…Read more

Father, Fiend, Brute and Pervert – The Josef Fritzl Story

On 26th April 2008 police in the Austrian town of Amstetten, acting on a lead, interviewed a mature aged woman regarding the disappearance of a local girl Elisabeth Fritzl some 24 years before. What they learned from the interview led to the discovery of one of the most infamous cases of domestic abuse ever known, a crime…Read more

Cyberspace Jungle – the Dolly Everett Story

Cyber bullying – where an individual is publicly tormented over social media – is a modern phenomenon that has become increasingly recognised as dangerous and nasty. However Australia was shocked to learn that it can also be lethal, when in January 2018 14-year-old Amy “Dolly” Everett suicided after being targeted by cyber bullies.  Her parents…Read more

Prophet of Doom – The David Koresh story

David Koresh was born Vernon Wayne Howell in 1959, to a 14-year-old mother Bonny Clark and 20-year-old father Robert Wayne Howell, who promptly abandoned his family. Much of Vernon Howell’s life as a boy was fractured and dysfunctional but he gained some sense of solace and direction through religion, joining the Seventh-day Adventist Church in…Read more

Episode 6: Jill Meagher – It could have been anyone

It was supposed to be a normal Friday night, writes true crime writer Ruth Wykes, but it was a case that showed the gaping flaws in our justice system. When Tom Meagher reported his wife, Jill, missing at 6am on Saturday 22 September 2012 police knew immediately something was terribly wrong. Jill was last seen less than…Read more

Episode 5: Anu Singh – Knowing right from wrong

  On October 26, 1997, Anu Singh invited friends over for a dinner party, and then drugged her boyfriend Joe Cinque to kill him. True crime writer Ruth Wykes sifts through the lies and deceit of Anu Singh.   This week’s episode of Crimes That Shook Australia offers a glimpse into a crime that has…Read more

Tragedy at Dunblane

Thomas Hamilton, drove to the Dunblane Primary School near Stirling, in Scotland.   Armed with four handguns he entered the school gymnasium and opened fire on a class of twenty-eight year one students, mostly between 5 and 6 years of age. In the next 4 minutes he murdered 16 children and one teacher before killing himself with a gunshot to…Read more

Kitty Genovese Murdered, Neighbours "Do Nothing"

On this day in 1964, Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was stabbed to death in front of her Queens, New York, apartment, as apartment residents reportedly did nothing. The tragic story sparked research into the social psychological phenomenon known as Genovese Syndrome, or bystander effect. Genovese was the eldest of five children in a lower-middle class Italian-American…Read more

Episode 4: Matthew Milat – A Family’s Legacy

  What on earth would possess a 17-year-old boy to lure his friends into the Belanglo State Forest, armed with a hidden double-edged axe and fueled by the desire to kill one of his mates? Ruth Wykes tries to understand the horrifying legacy of the Milat family. Matthew was only two years old when Ivan…Read more

Episode 3: The Queen Street Massacre – Not an Ordinary Day

It was an ordinary Tuesday when the unimaginable happened, it was only 17 minutes.  True crime writer Ruth Wykes relives the Queen St Massacre on Crimes That Shook Australia.  Imagine this: it’s an ordinary Tuesday in December 1987 and you’re in your office on the 11th floor of a high rise building in Melbourne’s CBD. You’re looking forward to…Read more

Secret, Silent and Violent – The American Mafia

The Sicilian and Italian American Mafia are well known examples of organised crime syndicates that have operated in the USA since at least the 1920’s. Often known locally as the Cosa Nostra these organisations have had a major influence on the structure of American crime, notably during the period of Prohibition in America that extended…Read more

Evil Killers

Murders, together with the individuals who commit them are a regular feature of the daily news and to a certain extend the general public has been desensitised to them. However there are isolated cases where the violence, depravity and utter perversion of the murderers is so extreme that they become personifications of evil and their…Read more

Bad Parenting or Bad Person? The Ed Gein Story

On 16 November 1957 police were notified that a local hardware store owner, Bernice Worden, of Plainfield, Wisconsin, had disappeared, and investigations revealed that the cash register in the store had been opened and bloodstains were discovered on the floor. A local man, farmer Ed Gein, had been seen in the store the evening before, so he…Read more

The Most Notorious – Headline Killers

In the long list of murders that take place around the world each year, certain types of killings attract the most public attention – and the headlines. Those of serial killers, individuals who murder three or more people, always generate massive public interest. “Son of Sam”, whose real name was David Berkowitz shot and killed…Read more

Murder or Justifiable Homicide? – The Menendez Brothers

One of the more contentious issues in criminal law is that of justifiable homicide – a defence sometimes used to explain the killing of an individual and thereby reduce the degree of guilt for the perpetrator. The most obvious example is that of self-defence when the victim has posed a direct physical threat to the…Read more

The Incomprehensible – Children who Kill

Murder is a crime that deeply shocks the general community, but when the perpetrator is a child this sense of shock and outrage is magnified enormously. The incidents where children who kill are tremendously difficult to understand, not only for the community, but also lawmakers, psychologists and the legal system that has to grapple with…Read more