Author: Bill Tuckey
Of all the Australian crimes so widely documented in books and TV programs, few have been as ghastly, as horrible, as cynical as the killing and decapitations of a young couple in the NSW town of Maitland. Yet this shocking crime – which briefly terrorised a large region of the State – has never, until now, been the subject of a book.
Aptly described by one of those involved in the investigation as worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock script, it is a story of amazing coincidences, pioneering forensic work and more than a little luck. In the end, it was the finding of a head in Newcastle Harbour and two bullets in a lonely clothes-line post that put the murderer in gaol for life.
That man served his time and was released. But he may still be alive today. So needlessly rigid are Australia’s privacy laws that governments have refused to reveal whether he is alive or dead, or if dead, when and where he passed away. The same bureaucratic myopia conceals – certainly justifiably - the whereabouts and identity of a woman now 50, who as an eight-months-old baby survived the gruesome drama in the Maitland death house.
Author Bill Tuckey was the first journalist to be allowed into that lonely house, 24 hours after the bodies were discovered. His story of the case, and his recounting of some of the questions that arise (with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight), makes this the true crime book of the decade.