27 May 2018

Unsolved: the Rack Man - 85UMNSW

(Note: this is the fourth in a series published each Sunday until July, focusing on unsolved NSW murders. If you have any information regarding this or any other case, please call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000).

Today we're going back nearly a quarter century to a case that has stuck with me for all that time - the "Man on the Rack", an unidentified man whose body was found lashed to a metal frame in the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney in 1994. And whilst it certainly has its creepy and macabre elements, sadly we know little more about this man, and how he died, now than we did back then. But it's not too late. He was someone, and he deserves a name.

23 May 2018

Unsolved: the Brooks family murders, Deniliquin

Note: this is the third in a series published each Sunday until July, focusing on unsolved NSW murders. If you have any information regarding this or any other case, please call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000).

Australia is a very safe country. Australia has fewer murders per year than Baltimore. Not per capita, just fewer. Violent crime is thankfully rare, and when the worst does happen, there's normally intense media attention. So you'd expect the the execution style murder of a family to make headlines. Not in this case though. Maybe everyone was just hyped for the Sydney Olympics instead and that's why the horrible murders of the Brooks/Willoughby family in 2000 slipped under the radar. Today we're taking a look at the Deniliquin family murders, one of the worst Australian crimes you've never heard of.

20 May 2018

Unsolved: the murder of Frank Newbery

(Note: this is the second in a series published each Sunday until July, focusing on unsolved NSW murders. If you have any information regarding this or any other case, please call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000).

On the evening of March 12, 2007, some friends and I were heading to a quiet farewell dinner in Newcastle before I moved to Sydney. When we drove past Frank's Ham and Beef, a small grocery store on Union Street, there was a completely unexpected scene - several squad cars and paddy wagons parked outside, the area sealed off with crime scene tape, a couple of reporters. We speculated on what may have happened - surely a simple robbery wouldn't merit all that fuss? But why would anyone attempt an armed hold up of that small "corner" store? We didn't know, and confess didn't think any more of it, until the next day when we heard the news.


15 May 2018

Unsolved: Michelle Pogmore

(Note: this is the first in what I plan to be a series published Sundays until July, focusing on unsolved NSW  murders. If you have any information regarding this or any other case, please call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000).

Security cameras capture haunting images of a small girl walking, fragile and alone, through the streets of Mount Druitt. It's 3am, the normally bustling mall in the heart of this multicultural suburb in western Sydney is deserted, and a 13 year old girl shouldn't be walking the streets alone at this hour, you feel; something terrible could happen to her. Those fears were realised; two days later, on February 22, 2004 the little girl in the mall, Michelle Pogmore, is found dead in bush land near Mount Druitt Town Reserve, less than a kilometre from where she was last seen. Fourteen years later, Michelle's murder remains unsolved; her grieving family without answers, and a child murdered without justice.


13 May 2018

Lost in the Outback: Where is Paddy Moriarty?

If you’re like me and spend time on local history groups on Facebook – I do have a life outside of death, you know – you’ll see endless laments from Baby Boomers that life in Australia was better, kinder, more peaceful back in the day when the population was largely Anglo-Celtic and people respected their elders. So what happens if you put a group of older Anglo-Celtic Australians in a small town to themselves? They fight bloody murder. Possibly literally. Welcome to Larrimah, Northern Territory where Paddy Moriarty has gone missing.

Paddy Moriarty. Photo: Kylie Stevenson via ABC

9 May 2018

How can researching your family tree catch a serial killer?

With the recent apprehension of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker aka Golden State Killer through the use of DNA and family geneology matching, the issues of commercial DNA testing, online ancestry tracing and the ethics and implications of it all, have been much in the news. The ethical implications of making this kind of information publicly available and what it can be used for are a bit beyond this barely begun humble true crime blog. What's kind of fascinating, to me anyway, is the mechanics of how it all comes together. How can researching your family tree catch a serial killer?


6 May 2018

Murder at Sea - Death on the Sage Sagittarius

The mysterious death of one sailor on a bulk carrier may be regarded as unfortunate; the death of three sailors in the space of five weeks - the last of whom was onboard to ensure crew safety following the first two deaths - points to something much more sinister. Was there a serial killer on the MV Sage Sagittarius, taking advantage of the legal cover provided by the confusion of jurisdictions and international waters to get away with murder?

"Death ship" the MV Sage Sagittarius