True Crime

//True Crime
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  • Australia has had its fair share of murders - the grisly, the macabre, the humdrum, the unsolved and the controversial. Men have been hanged who perhaps should never have been convicted; men have gone free who perhaps should have been found guilty.  Just the chapter headings alone are enough to entice the reader: The Crimson Feather; Roadside Nightmare - the murder of a courting couple by William Moxley; The Pyjama Girl case, still unsolved to this day; The Walking Corpse ( dubbed the 'Mutilator Murders') and more.
  • The author took a job in an Australian prison because - well, he needed a job, and any job would do.  What had been a stop gap became and all-absorbing preoccupation with the problem of men in prison. One day, he was asked if he remembered the Greek bloke who had killed his wife with half a house brick.  He couldn't remember the particular Greek - and he realised that over the seven years of his employment there, that the stone and steel had crept into his heart to the extent that a man who had killed his wife with half a house brick had left no impression on him.  In search of what beliefs and values he had left to him after prolonged exposure to the brutality, cynicism and despair of a big maximum-security prison, the author examines his experiences, not as a psychologist, but as a man whose profession is psychology. In the process, comes to several important conclusions.
  • Armed robbery, murder, lies, treachery, 'confession' and legal tangle that ended in a sensational trial, followed by three executions - all the ingredients of a callous crime committed on the New Zealand goldfields in 1866. A gang of brutal Londoners - Richard Burgess, Tom Noon (Noonan), Joseph Sullivan and Phil Levy waylaid five gold-laden prospectors on a lonely track on Maungatapu ('Sacred Mountain'), killed them and hid the bodies before going on a spree. The prospectors were missed, and suspicion fell on the four. Hoping for a free pardon, Sullivan 'dobbed' on his mates and Burgess wrote a confession but implicated Sullivan. Clune traces the lives of the four and shows the influences played such an important role in shaping their twisted lives - the overcrowded Thames-side slums created by the Industrial Revolution, the laws that punished rather than reformed, the rotting prison hulks, the transportation system and the mental cruelty in the prisons of the day.
  • The face of crime in Australia has changed considerably over the last several decades and the man to chart those changes is Alan Dower, one of the legendary crime reporters in this country. The baccarat wars raged in Sydney from the 1930s to the 1960s - far longer than the Chicago underworld wars - and no-one knows how many may have been murdered over that time. As the 60s unfolded, the police had to combat new types of crime    -  the Graeme Thorn kidnapping, the disappearance of the Beaumont children and the mysterious Bogle-Chandler deaths. These and more are covered,  as well as insights into the minds of such men as Squizzy Taylor and Frederick Harrison. Illustrated with black and white photographs.
  • Eric Clegg, formerly  His Honour Eric Clegg Q.C. is more than qualified to examine these famous trials and his expert viewpoint reveals many important and often controversial points which arose during the hearings. Cases contained in this volume include: The Kalgoorlie murders of two policemen in 1926, found down a disused mine-shaft; the Passionate Parson, acquitted on a charge of murdering his wife; the Lavers msyery and the Sundown murders; the Pyjama Girl murder; and the fantastic case of T. J. Ley, former Minister for Justice in New South Wales who was eventually convicted for the chalkpit murders. Illustrated with black and white photographs.