Crimes That Shook Australia
The crime committed by Robert Farquharson has been etched on the minds of Australians since 2005. Farquharson drove his car into a dam off the Princes Highway near Winchelsea on Father’s day, drowning his three sons; Jai, 10; Tyler, 7; and Bailey, 2. After two trials, Farquharson was found guilty of murder with the prosecution confirming he killed his children to get revenge on his wife from whom he had recently divorced. Featuring interviews with Cindy Gambino, the children’s mother, plus detectives from the team charged with bringing Farquharson to justice, the episode reveals the true horror of this shocking crime.
On July 14, 2001, British couple Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees stopped on the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory after a man flagged down their car. This man, later identified as Bradley Murdoch, shot Falconio before tying Lees up. She managed to escape while Murdoch was distracted, hiding in nearby bushes for five hours until she was able to run out into the road and flag down a truck driver who took her to safety. Falconio’s body has never been found. The subsequent trial and media furor would stun the nation as well as raising questions about the strength of the allegations against Murdoch.
The Strathfield massacre in Sydney on August 17, 1991, will be forever remembered as one of Australia’s most shocking gun crimes. A lone gunman, Wade Frankum, entered a shopping mall one afternoon, had a cup of coffee and observed shoppers going about their business. Moments later, he stabbed a teenage girl next to him before opening fire on unsuspecting shoppers for ten minutes. The devastation left eight dead and six wounded. Before police arrived, he took his own life. Officers later found a collection of violent literature and films at his home – the only clue into why this killer took all those innocent lives. The crime provoked fierce debate on the country’s gun laws.
Four-year-old Darcey Freeman suffered a horrific death at the hands of her father on January 29, 2009. Driving her to her first day at school, he stopped the family car on the Westgate Bridge and callously threw her off the side, in full view of her two older brothers. He then returned to his car and drove to the law courts in central Melbourne where he handed himself in, pleading with officials to take his boys off him. In a trial that gripped the nation, the jury had to decide if Freeman was ‘mad or bad’.
On Easter Thursday in 1986, a car bomb exploded outside the Russell Street Police HQ in central Melbourne. Constable Angela Taylor was caught by the full force of the blast and succumbed to her wounds 21 days later in hospital. She was the first serving female Australian Police officer to be killed in the line of duty. The subsequent investigation into the bombing would change the face of forensic inquiries and lead to the apprehension of a gang or armed robbers with a vendetta against the Police. The episode includes interviews with Angela’s parents, officers who carried out the investigation and survivors of the attack, many of whom haven’t spoken of their experiences before. The episode also features previously unseen footage of the scene in the aftermath of the explosion.
Raechel Betts was a young woman from the Melbourne suburbs whose life spiralled out of control after she began selling drugs on behalf of a male acquaintance. Tragically this man, unbeknownst to Raechel, was a double murderer who had slipped through the parole system and was free to kill again. In August 2009, her remains washed up on a Phillip Island beach. Her body had been dismembered. Featuring interviews with Raechel’s friends and family as well as the detective who led the investigation, we tell the tragic tale of Raechel’s life and death plus examine the failings in the system that allowed a killer to murder an innocent woman.
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