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

Episode 2: Bega Schoolgirl Murders – End of Innocence

  You only have to watch Nathan Barry talk for a few minutes to understand the real impact of murder on victim’s families, writes true crime writer Ruth Wykes. The landscape felt familiar to me. When the camera lingered on a campfire in a forest near Bega, journalist Matt Doran took us back to a…Read more

Crimes That Shook Australia Episode 1: Snowtown – A World of Waste

The Snowtown murders were a saga of torture, murder and toxic masculine culture. True crime writer Ruth Wykes recaps Episode 1 and investigates the killer mindset of John Bunting.  It seems odd that despite John Bunting being one of Australia’s most dangerous serial killers his name is rarely spoken in the same breath as Ivan Milat…Read more

Nightmare on Narella Street – The Marian Majka Murders

At around 7.30 am on 18th February 1957 Constable John Strickfuss was preparing to depart for work from his house in Narella Street, Cannon Hill, a suburb of Brisbane.  Suddenly he heard the sound of shots erupt from a house further down Narella Street followed by a plume of smoke emerging from the windows. He ran to…Read more

The Case of the Missing Body – Patricia Byers

In 1990 Queensland police were called in to investigate the whereabouts of a missing man, Carel Gottgens, with foul play suspected. Blood, believed to be that Gottgens, was found in his bedroom but a forensic investigation was inconclusive. Gottgen’s partner of eight years, Patricia Byers, denied all knowledge of his whereabouts and no body was ever…Read more

South Australia’s Most Infamous

Despite having only around 7% of Australia’s population South Australia has been the scene of some of Australia’s most notorious murders. Adelaide, in particular, was dubbed  “the murder capital of the world” by a UK media group in 2002. Crime statistics have revealed that this claim is totally baseless. However several South Australian crimes are…Read more

Death by Hotshot – The Murder of Joe Cinque

On October 26 1997, an ambulance team were called to a Canberra dinner party where a male was believed to be gravely ill. They found him dead from what they thought to be a cardiac arrest. His name was Joe Cinque. A subsequent investigation found high levels of Rohypnol and heroin in his body, and…Read more

Nature or Nurture: The Milat Family

On 20 November 2010, three teenagers lured 17 year-old David Auchterlonie into the Belanglo State Forest of NSW under the pretence of hanging out, and drinking and smoking cannabis. Instead, one of the youths, Matthew Milat, took to David with an axe and killed him with the murder recorded on a mobile phone. During the recording it…Read more

The Eleven Who Went to Heaven

In the 1970’s communities around Galveston Texas were horrified by the murder of eleven teenage girls in the local area. Massive investigations followed, but the police failed to identify the killer, or killers involved, and the murders quietly slipped into the status of cold cases. Then, in a sensational development in 1998, authorities received letters…Read more