Wrongly Released Episode 1

William Watkins

In January 2006, two sisters Colleen and Laura Irwin were raped and murdered in the unit they shared in Altona North.  Initially police were at a loss to identify a suspect, until a local factory owner reported an employee missing – an employee who harboured a sinister past.  William Watkins lived next door to the sisters and had a long rap sheet that included rape and aggravated burglary.  He also disappeared. He was eventually stopped by a WA patrolman, thousands of kilometres away after stealing gas from a service station.  In the ensuing fight, Watkins was shot and killed.

The programme features emotional interviews with the girl’s friends and family who, even today, are still angry with the justice system who failed Colleen and Laura.  It was only in the subsequent inquest that the full horror of Watkins past offending was revealed and how lenient sentencing and legal manouevering had allowed Watkins to live amongst the public.  The programme also features a chilling interview with Shane Gray, the WA police Officer who fought for his life before ultimately killing William Watkins on a lonely stretch of desert highway.