On the morning of March 1 2000 the police attended a house at Aberdeen in the Hunter Valley of NSW. This was in response to a report of blood on the front doorstep of the dwelling that was owned by local man John price, who was reported missing from work.
After forcing entry the police were confronted with a terrible sight. It was a veritable house of horrors that virtually defied description in terms of dreadful carnage and chilling detail.
Following a blood trail through the house they found Price dead, covered in blood with multiple stab wounds. He had been stabbed multiple times, and then unbelievably, skinned and decapitated. His skin was found hanging on a meat-hook near the lounge room and his head was located in a pot surrounded by vegetables doing a slow cook.
His partner Katherine Knight was unconscious, seemingly from some sort of drug overdose. From the evidence lying about the police immediately believed that she was the perpetrator of the gruesome crime – including the planned cannibalism of Price’s body parts.
Katherine Knight had come from a violent and alcoholic family environment and taken the resultant damage through into her adult life. She was known for increasingly violent rages, often directed at her partner at the time – of which there were at least four between 1973 and 1995 – when she gave birth to four children. She had become a boner at the local abattoir, and was given her own set of butchers knives that that she learned to use expertly.
She had a long history of committing actual physical attacks during this period, and was at one stage admitted to the Morisset Psychiatric Hospital.
Charged with Price’s murder she went on trial in 2001, and was surprisingly declared sane although suffering from a borderline personality disorder. She was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment – with the judge ordering that she was never to be released – the first time in Australian history that this order has been imposed on a woman.
In 2006 Knight appealed the severity of the sentence but this was dismissed, with part of the written judgement noting “This was an appalling crime, almost beyond contemplation in a civilized society”.