Gatton Murders, The

Gatton Murders, The[BOOKS] ✮ Gatton Murders, The By Stephanie Bennett – BOXING DAY 1898 Three members of the Murphy family Michael Ellen and Norah — are returning to the family farm after a trip in to Gatton a small town west of Brisbane On a deserted moonlit road a few BOXING DAY Three members of the Murphy family Michael Ellen and Norah — are returning to the family farm after a trip in to Gatton a small town west of Brisbane On a deserted moonlit road a few miles out of town they are ambushed Their horse is killed and the three young people are taken to a remote paddock where the women are brutally raped and bludgeoned to death and Michael is shotBy the time Gatton Murders, PDF or the police arrived the following day locals had swarmed all over the crime scene obliterating the evidence What followed was a hopelessly bungled investigation and the crime remained unsolved Fear and mistrust rocked the farming community and theories about the perpetrator abounded Was this the work of a sex crazed tramp Could a member of the Murphy family have been involved or was revenge the motiveStephanie Bennett's detailed examination of this baffling crime brings a new and disturbing theory to the surface The result is a chilling and challenging whodunitStephanie Bennett has spent many years scouring the available archival material interviewing relatives of suspects and victims and visiting far flung areas of ueensland to give this account of the motives and suspects of this ueensland’s most infamous unsolved murder.


Gatton Murders, The PDF ✓ Gatton Murders,  PDF or
  • Paperback
  • 304 pages
  • Gatton Murders, The
  • Stephanie Bennett
  • English
  • 24 May 2016
  • 9781405035743

10 thoughts on “Gatton Murders, The

  1. says:

    There are some crimes that resonate down the ages; usually particularly brutal and often unsolved Australia is the home of uite a few in this category and the most famous could until recently have been the Gatton murders While Australians of my generation may not have an intimate knowledge of the crime for my parent's generation it was very well knownThe murders of three siblings of the Murphy family Michael Norah and Ellen with the women being raped as well produced a huge outcry and to this day no one has been brought to book for them; a mystery that the book under review despite claims to the contrary gets no closer to solving The Gatton murders is the first book on the subject to be written since all the relevant police files have been made available to the public so Bennett has much previously unused material to hand However the file material does not add much to what was already available from contemporary newspaper reports and from the inuest So we are left with no appreciable addition to the known facts of the case which are as follows The three Murphy siblings rode into Gatton from their farm to attend a dance on the night of Boxing Day 1898 which they discovered when they arrived in the town had been canceled On their way back home they were waylaid on the road by person or persons unknown led into a paddock where their horse was shot as was Michael the two women ravished and all three smashed on the head with a branch They were discovered the next morning by their brother in law who was concerned when he saw they hadn't returned home from their night outBy the time the police had arrived at the crime scene much evidence had been compromised by sightseers and the investigation never recovered The autopsies were bungled and unfortunately the officer running the investigation Frederic Uruhart was a poor manager of men a poor judge of character and a man of fixed ideas He uickly formed the view that the murders were committed by a wandering swaggie and most of his investigations led in that directionBennett is keen to point out the flaws in Uruhart's approach and bemoans the relative lack of information gleaned from local residents The Murphy family themselves seemed strangely disconnected from the investigation to the extent that they had to virtually be dragged to the inuest and many other locals had alibis that seemed to be doubtful There was so much speculation from the press and members of the public that it has become very hard to separate fact from fictionUnfortunately Bennett simply adds to the speculation Her refutation of Uruhart's thesis leads her on to a grand thesis of her own which is in some respects flawed than his She has built a house of cards based on what ifs and just imagines that become several pages later accepted facts The story she builds of a revenge attack on Michael Murphy gone wrong strains credulity too much She doesn't present a convincing case that Murphy had made the enemies he did or that her perpetrators would have joined forces or that they would commit the outrages that took place There is evidence of sloppiness in her writing as well Bennett paints a picture of the race meeting on Boxing Day and writes of totalizer machines and Boy Scouts both of which didn't make their appearance until the next century Not much research would be reuired to avoid a mistake like that which possibly unfairly casts doubt on the rest of the book Her assumptions of human nature also have a very 21st century feel to them and her bald assertions of how people might have felt are sometimes off the mark in my opinionWhile the book does provide a list of files Bennett has accessed there is no index which is an appalling oversight in a book such as this This of course is probably the publisher's doing so shame on you Macmillan This book really needs one as once you are in the grip of Bennett's version of what happened the reader really needs to refer back to the earlier sections of the book that map out the facts without so much interpretation The lack of it does Bennett no favoursThe bibliography is nice to have but has two glaring holes in it for a book claiming to be comprehensive the extraordinary Gatton man by Merv Lilley who claims that his father was the murderer and Captivity Captive the novel by Rodney Hall based on the murders While both books don't get closer to finding out who did the deed although Lilley's father certainly seemed capable of it they are fascinating insights into the psychology of murder and when they come to their theories of who and how they are no fantastic than Bennett'sIf you read this book read Lilley and Hall as well taken together they make for a fascinating look at this tragic episode in Australia's historyCheck out my other reviews at

  2. says:

    Listed as one of Australia’s oldest unsolved crimes committed Boxing day 1898 also known as the ‘Gatton Tragedy’ ‘The Murphy murders’Michael Murphy 29 and sisters Nora 27 Ellen 18 were all bludgeoned to death while returning home from a dance that had been cancelled All three had been sexually assaulted was this a crime of revenge passion or a sex crazed trampThere is no doubt Stephanie Bennett has spent years of research going over court transcripts newspaper clippings and delving into the history of the Murphy’s and all the towns people to come up with a plausible answer to this unsolved crimeJust over 116 years ago there was no such thing as forensics or profilers so solving a crime of this magnitude would have been difficult at best but the odds were against solving this mystery from the start as a single lone Sergeant Arrell is faced with trying to protect a crime scene that has been committed 8 miles 13klms from town while enlisting the aid of outside help which was 61 miles 98klms away By the time he returns to the crime scene after sending off a telegram for help he discovers the town ghouls have obliterated all evidenceFinally Arrell receives assistance but it is in the form of the arrogant Inspector Uruhart who holds nothing but distain for Arrell and refuses to listen to any of his surmising Despite the fact many of the town's people believe they no what happened rumour mongering is rife about family grievances and the hearts of love interests being trampled some boldly come forward offering information while others write letters anonymously but Inspector Uruhart is certain it is the work of one man and this man is not a local and sets his sights on a vagrant who happened to pass through town Can one man really overpower three people one known for his strength individually tie them up and have them at his mercy This is truly a whodunit you may agree with what Stephanie Bennett believes happened but she lays out all the facts so you can make your own conclusion If you are interested in the history of Australia or even like to try your hand at solving an unsolved crime then I highly recommend this book

  3. says:

    This book has left me reeling If the author's hypothesis is correct and she certainly convinced me then what happened on Boxing Day night in 1898 to three people was absolutely shocking The police investigation was totally inept and the end result was that the murderers were never caught If you live in the GattonIpswichToowoomba district you would probably know of the case even though it is that 100 years old Highly recommended

  4. says:

    Pretty good I had to make diagrams of family trees and names since there were many characters involved

  5. says:

    This is a very comprehensive and detailed account of the mystery surrounding these murders The author has clearly done a lot of research and she provides a very viable opinion on the reasons and actions behind the murders However it is disappointing that the author has chosen to portray and speculate that Michael Murphy one of the victims was an 'unprincipled seducer of young women' and an 'experienced predator' despite there being no actual evidence of this Sadly this ruined the whole tone of the book as it changed it from a factual account of the mystery to an opinion piece on the victims Despite this it is still the most comprehensive account of the mystery I've read and it's well worth reading if you can put that aspect of the book to the side

  6. says:

    Very GoodWonderful research Could have used a cast of characters list grouped by family

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