MANY of Australia’s most infamous prisoners live in hope they will one day
again walk free.
But for ‘lifers’ refused non-parole periods, a release date won’t ever
Life imprisonment without
parole is the most severe punishment under the nation’s criminal law
since the abolition of the death penalty in 1973.
The judgment is reserved for the worst of the worst criminals who have
committed heinous crimes and remain a serious danger to society.
But news.com.au understands
there are less than 15 of the approximate 1019 prisoners
currently serving life sentences in Australia who have had the
penalty imposed on them.
The ABS and the Australian
Institute of Criminology do not keep records relating to the number
of prisoners currently serving life without the possibility of parole.
In some states and territories, life imprisonment is mandatory for
murder convictions, but the length of time a life sentence constitutes
varies across jurisdictions.
It can come with a non-parole
period of 10 years imprisonment to the remainder of an offender’s life.
Most often a non-parole period
is fixed, with the more severe non-parole periods reaching a minimum 35
years. Those with non-parole periods are eligible to apply for parole
when the periods expires — if they live to see the day.
Among the notorious killers currently serving life sentences with
non-parole periods, is Melbourne ABC worker Jill Meagher’s killer
Bayley was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 35
years over the 2012 murder and rape of Meagher.
He will be eligible for parole in 2058, when he is 86 years of age.
While the possibility of one day again tasting freedom may offer a
glimmer of hope to some of the country's most depraved criminals, the
‘lifers’ without non-parole periods have nothing to look forward to.
Convicted bank robber John
Killick, who has spent time in prison with notorious serial killers and
rapists, said the possibility of release was an important element in
giving the prisoners a reason to behave behind bars.
“You don’t have to let them out
but you have to give them hope,” Mr Killick said.
“It’s those who have got nothing to lose that become the most
PRISONERS SERVING LIFE IMPRISONMENT WITHOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE IN
PETER DUPAS — Serial killer, Victoria
Peter Dupas is serving concurrent life sentences without parole for the
murders of Mersina Halvagis, Nicole Patterson and Margaret
Maher, and is suspected of more killings.
Dupas attacked then killed Ms Halvagis as she prayed at her
grandmother’s grave at Fawkner Cemetery in Victoria on November 1, 1997.
He is also serving two life sentences with no parole for the murders of
Ms Maher in 1997 and Ms Patterson in 1999.
“You seem to be motivated by a deeply entrenched, perverted and sadistic
hatred of women, and a complete contempt for them and their right to
live,” Justice Hollingworth said when sentencing the 57-year-old to his
third life term without parole.
MARK VALERA, ‘The butcher of Wollongong’, New South Wales
Mark Valera — who was known as Mark van Krevel — bashed shopkeeper David
O’Hearn, 59, to death in a random attack at the victim’s Albion Park
home in June 1998. He mutilated and dismembered the body and wrote the
word Satan on a mirror with the victim’s blood. Two weeks later he
bashed and strangled alleged paedophile and former Wollongong mayor
Frank Arkell, 68. He was sentenced to two life sentences without parole
in December 2000, aged 21.
ROGER DEAN — Nursing home murders, New South Wales
Former nurse Roger Dean was convicted of murdering 11 nursing home
residents by lighting a fire at Quakers Hill, in Sydney’s northwest in
2011, and was jailed for life without parole.
Judge Megan Latham of the NSW Supreme Court said Dean’s crimes were in
the worst category.
“The pain and terror suffered by all of the victims must have been
horrific. A worse fate is difficult to imagine,” she said.
Some of his victims died in the fire but others died agonising deaths
over following days in hospital.
When he was interviewed by police, Dean said he loved the residents but
he had been “corrupted with evil thoughts” and claimed “Satan” was
talking to him.
JOHN BUNTING AND ROBERT WAGNER — The ‘bodies in the barrels’ Snowtown
murders, South Australia
Robert Wagner and his accomplice John Bunting are among a small group of
the worst Australian murderers with no chance of parole.
Bunting and Wagner were charged with 12 murders between 1992 and 1999 —
with Wagner eventually convicted of 10 and Bunting 11 murders following
South Australia’s longest criminal trial.
The vile serial killing spree culminated in Wagner and Bunting cooking
and eating the flesh of their final victim, David Johnson, who was
murdered inside the Snowtown bank vault where police discovered the
remains of eight victims inside six barrels in May 1999.
SEF GONZALES — ‘Family killer’, New South Wales
Sef Gonzales was just 20-years-old when he wiped out his family in their
North Ryde home in July, 2001.
The Sydney student brutally stabbed, bashed and strangled his father
Teddy Gonzales, 46, mother Mary-Loiva Josephine, 43, and sister Clodine,
18. He spray painted the words “F--- off Asians KKK” on a wall in the
house in a failed attempt to make it appear to be a racially motivated
Ten days before he had attempted to murder his mother by poisoning, the Sydney
Morning Herald reported.
Gonzales was found guilty of the three murders in May 2004 and is now
serving three concurrent life sentences without parole. In November 2007
his appeal against conviction and sentence was dismissed. Gonzales
maintains his innocence.
KATHERINE KNIGHT — Sadistic husband killer and cannibal, New South Wales
One of the few women prisoners to ever be classified “never to be
released”, Katherine Knight is serving a life sentence without the
possibility of parole for the brutal and sadistic murder of her husband,
in Aberdeen NSW.
Knight had sex with John Price then stabbed and skinned him before
cooking his flesh in February 2000.
Knight was dubbed Australia’s “Hannibal Lecter” after she hung his
skinned remains from a meat hook in the living room.
She also cut off his head, boiled it in a pot and baked pieces of his
buttocks to serve with vegetables and gravy to his adult children.
She is serving her time at Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre.
MARTIN BRYANT — Port Arthur gunman, Tasmania
Martin Bryant was sentenced to prison for the term of his natural life,
serving 35 life sentences with no possibility of parole for killing
35 people, including children, and injuring 23 others in the
Port Arthur massacre in 1996.
Bryant has spent time in solitary confinement and been housed in various
secure wings of prison with select other prisoners for almost 19 years.
For the main part he is shunned by his fellow inmates, but he has also
been known to pay other men with family blocks of chocolate in order to
let him perform sexual services for them, according to the Daily
ANDREW PETER GARFORTH, New South Wales
Andrew Garforth was convicted of the abduction, sexual assault and
murder of Ebony Simpson, 9, at Bargo in August 1992. The court deemed
the crime to fall into the worst category of murder and sentenced
Garforth to life imprisonment without parole aged 29 in July 1993. He
unsuccessfully appealed his sentence to the High Court in 1994. His
prisoner status was downgraded from A2 to B last July, a decision
immediately reversed by Corrective Services Minister, David Elliott.
CRESPIN ADANGUIDI, New South Wales
Crespin Adanguidi, 27, murdered the wife and children of his Chinese gay
lover Raymond Shen at Rockdale, on February 1, 2003. He pleaded not
guilty on the grounds of mental illness, according to the Sydney
Morning Herald. But a jury convicted him of bludgeoning Shiquin Zhu,
55, and shooting Pin Shen, 27, and Christy Bo Shen, 23. The previous
night he attacked Shen, tied him up and held him hostage at his Maroubra
unit, demanding $200,000, the Sydney
Morning Herald reported. In 2005 aged 27 he was sentenced to three
life sentences without the possibility of parole. An appeal in 2006 was
IVAN MILAT — Backpacker serial killer, New South Wales
Ivan Milat was convicted over the murders of seven young backpackers in
the Belanglo State Forrest in the 1990s.
Milat was given a life sentence on each count, with all sentences
running consecutively and without the possibility of parole.
He was also convicted of the attempted murder, false imprisonment and
robbery of Paul Onions and was sentenced to an additional six years’
jail for each.