No country is left unscathed when it comes to having serial killers and murderers. Every country has it, and Australia is no different.
Serial killers get away from committing many crimes, and it takes law enforcement years to catch them.
The dangerous thing about them is that you don’t know who is their next target, it can be your neighbor, your colleague, you, or a person whom you don’t know!
Let us know the top 10 Australian serial killers that would give you chills.
John and Sarah Makin – Baby Farmers to Baby Murderers
John and Sarah Makin were baby farmers, a late-Victorian era practice of accepting the custody of a baby in exchange for money. They charged ten shillings per week for one baby.
Once the mothers or couple accepted and made a deal, they used to kill the infant. However, they used to receive money every week.
They didn’t come under the radar of police as they kept on moving from one house to the other. In two decades, they changed their house over 15 times!
But their luck ran out in 1892 when James Hanoney, a worker, was cleaning a clogged drain and found remains of two infants.
John, Sarah, and their four daughters were arrested, and John and Sarah were charged.
Police searched houses that John and Sarah occupied and found the remains of 12 infants. Supreme Court of New South Wales sentenced them to death by hanging in Sydney.
John Makin was sentenced to death on 15 August 1893, but Sarah’s punishment was reduced to life imprisonment.
Sarah was released in 1911 after their daughters campaigned for her release. She died in 1918.
Eric Edgar Cooke – From a Petty Thief to Nedlands Monster
Eric had a very rough upbringing. His alcoholic father used to beat him up, and he was bullied at school because of facial deformity (unsuccessful operation of cleft palate and hare lip).
He started breaking into houses and stealing whatever he felt was valuable when he was 16-17 years old.
At 18 years, he served jail for 18 months for burning down a church. At 21 years, he enlisted in the Australian army.
He was discharged from the army because of his records. However, he learned to use firearms during the three-month stint in the army.
He used various methods like strangling, shooting, running the victims down on the road, etc. to kill his victims. It was not easy for the police to catch him.
However, finally, he was caught with the help of his fingerprints. He accepted killing 8 people and was hanged to death in 1964. He was the last to be hanged to death in Western Australia.
Ivan Millat – Inspired the movie, Wolf Creek
In the mid-1990s, hitchhiking (traveling in a stranger’s car for either free or some money) was a rage in Australia. Ivan Millat chose this opportunity to unleash the devil inside him. He killed 7 people from 1989 to 1993.
Five of the seven victims were backpackers who went for hitchhiking. The bodies were discovered in the Belanglo Forest. A victim was lucky enough to get out of it alive, and then police caught him and sentenced him to life in prison.
The actual victim count is expected to be higher than 50– most of them being backpackers who were in their twenties! These murders are called backpack murders. The backpackers have been missing since 1971!
John Wayne Glover – The Granny Killer
He was famously called Monster of Mosman and The Granny Killer because he targeted older women! He killed six women in 1 year, 2 months.
However, the number may increase to 13 (according to some people). He assaulted many more in the time frame, but those women survived.
Some of his victims were Gwendoline Mitchelhill (92 years), Margaret Pahud (85), Lady Winifreda Ashton (84), and Muriel Falconer (92). He used a hammer to make them defenseless and then strangle them to death.
He was intelligent, and he never left any evidence behind at the crime scenes. He followed older women who were returning home from shopping.
When the women reached their home or were in the vicinity, he attacked them with a hammer.
He was caught after he murdered his last victim, Joan Sinclair, in Mosman. After his arrest, he admitted committing the crimes during trial.
The court sentenced him life imprisonment with no parole. He hanged himself to death on 9 September 2005 in jail.
Leonard Fraiser – The Rockhampton Rapist
Leonard Fraiser was a molester turned murderer. He was a severe offender from the beginning. Before getting the sentence of life imprisonment, he served in jail for more than 20 years for assaults and adductions.
He killed Julie Dawn Turner (29), Beverly Leggo (36), and Sylvia Maria Benedetti (19) from 1998 to 1999. The actual victim count is unknown. The number of victims is speculated to increase up to 7.
He died in jail after having a heart attack in 2007 at the age of 55.
Arnold Sodeman – The School-Girl Strangler
At 18 years of age, Arnold Sodeman was sent to reformatory prison for robbery. After release, he started working as a labor in multiple places.
He started a family and had a daughter. Everyone claimed that he was hard working and mild man. His marriage life was also going fine.
No one knows what happened, but he started abducting school-going girls from 1930. He gagged and strangulated them to death.
His victims were Mena Griffiths (12), Hazel Wilson (16), Ethel Belshaw (12), and June Rushmer (6).
Some witnesses saw a man taking her (June) on a bicycle before her disappearance. When he was working, one of his crew members jokingly said that it was Sodeman who killed the little girl (June).
He got outraged and replied that it was not him. The crew members found this behavior suspicious and informed police.
After the questioning of the police, he quickly admitted to the murder. He most probably had some mental disorder. Irrespective of whether he suffered from some mental illness or not, he was executed in 1936 in Victoria’s Pentridge Prison.
David and Catherine Birnie – Responsible for Moorhouse Murders
Of all the Australian serial killers, this couple surely would give you chills (at least they gave me chills). David Birnie was a rapist and molester from his adolescent days.
Catherine met David (15) when she was 12 and started a relationship with him. Later, when David was in jail most of the time, a parole officer changed her mind and she started working as a housekeeper.
When she was 21 years old, she married a man and had 7 children. David also married in his early 20’s and had a daughter.
Out of the blue, she left her husband and started to live with David. She didn’t marry David but changed her surname to Birnie.
They started luring women of 15-31 age in the guise of giving a lift in their car. They took them to their home and raped and murdered them.
The four victims were Mary Neilson, Susannah Candy, Noelene Patterson, and Denise Brown. The fifth one, Kate Moir, survived. There are speculations that David killed more than these four girls.
They were sentenced to life imprisonment. He died on 7 October 2005. Catherine is still serving her sentence. Even after multiple and repeated requests to release her, Attorney-General determined that she would stay in jail for her whole life.
Robert Francis Burns – An Irish Serial Killer in Australia
One of the dangerous Australian serial killers, Robert Francis Burns was an Irish man. He came to Australia in 1862 and started working as a farm laborer. He convinced his colleagues to withdraw their life savings and then killed them.
He used liquor or poison to make his work easy. Hitting the victims head with some hard object was his favorite way to kill people. The victims were found naked without a head.
He was charged with the murder of Michael Quinlivan. He confessed that he killed 8 people this way! Some of his victims were Francis Heenan, Charles Forbes, Michael Quinlivan, and John Scott. He was sentenced to death on 23 July 1883.
Kathleen Folbigg – Murderer of Her Children
Kathleen Folbigg was convicted of killing her three children. The children were Patrick Allen (11 months), Sarah Kathleen (10 months), and Laura Elizabeth (19 months). She was also convicted of manslaughtering Caleb Gibson (19 days) her first child.
The murders came into light when her husband, Craig Gibson, read her diary. She gave gory details of how she murdered her children. He informed the police, and she was arrested.
She was sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment with 30 years of non-parole. It was reduced to 30 years of imprisonment with a non-parole of 25 years after appeals. Ironically, she still claims that those deaths were natural, and she pleads innocence.
Peter Dupas – Sexual Offender Turned Serial Killer
Peter Dupas started his heinous crime of attacking women from the age of 15! He raped a married woman in her home, threatening to harm her baby if she resisted. He was jailed for 9 years. His sexual and violent offenses continued.
He used to target women by approaching their homes and asking for a knife or a screwdriver for some task. When the women gave him the knife/screwdriver, he forcibly entered the house and stabbed them to death. His signature style of killing women was to remove their breasts.
His victim count ranges from 3 to 6 (convicted in three, and suspected in 3). He is now serving a life sentence in Laverton’s Port Philip Correctional Center. Without a doubt, Peter is one of the vicious Australian serial killers.
If you want to read more about Australian serial killers then comment us below and we will add them soon!