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Australian Psycho: The 7 Scariest Killers Down Under

From a serial pedophile rapist who is still at large, to the woman who skinned her lover and served him for dinner, these cases Down Under aren’t for the faint of heart.

australia's scariest killers


Murderers walk among us. Some may be serving life sentences or have died behind bars, but others are roaming this great sunburnt country without remorse for their meticulously planned murders.

Here are the seven scariest Australian killers, of which, some are still at large.

katherine knight australia

Katherine Knight

To describe Katherine Knight’s upbringing as ‘unfortunate’ would be putting it lightly. She was sexually assaulted by various members of her family until the age of 11, her father was a violent alcoholic who would rape her mother Barbara “up to ten times a day”, and she was known as the school bully.

To describe Katherine Knight’s killing of her partner John Price as ‘horrifying’ would also be putting it lightly.

In 2001, the abattoir worker – who hung knives over her bed so they “would always be handy” – stabbed Price 37 times in bed, dragged his body downstairs, skinned him, put his skin on a meat hook, then chopped up and cooked his head and parts of his body. Her end goal? To feed Price to two of his three children.

Crimes of passion are typically run of the mill for killers, but this one takes the cake. While she maintained her innocence and claimed to have no memory of the murder after police found her passed out next to Price’s remains, it’s believed she murdered him after he refused to marry her.

Knight has a long history of stabbing her ex partners with scissors and knives. She even stabbed Price in the chest a few months prior to the murder resulting in a superficial chest wound. He kicked her out of his home and took out a restraining order on her.

Price didn’t hide his fears of Knight killing him. He told his coworkers that if there came a day when he didn’t turn up for work, it would be because she had murdered him.

Incredibly, the most disturbing part of the gruesome affair isn’t the fact she had sex with him first and waited until he fell asleep, or the fact she cooked his decapitated head in a dish with potato, pumpkin, and zucchini; or even the fact she served herself a dish and ate some of him. Hell, it’s not even the fact police found flesh cut from his buttocks in the backyard. It’s what police found at the dinner table: two full plates of meat and veggies, each labelled a name: “Beaky” and “Jonathon” AKA Price’s two children.

Katherine Knight is the first Australian woman to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. She is currently imprisoned at the Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre in New South Wales.

ivan milat

Ivan Milat

The Australian serial killer who needs no introduction, Ivan Milat’s seven backpacker murders in the early ‘90s still send chills up any Australian’s spine at even a mere mention.

Dubbed the “beast of the bush” by media after seven victims’ bodies were found in poorly dug graves in 1992 and 1993 in Belanglo state forest in New South Wales, Ivan Milat was global news.

Milat died of cancer at Long Bay jail in Sydney last October; and while the public rejoiced, it meant we may never truly know how many women he killed. Police believe Milat could be “responsible for the disappearance of 20 people in the area over 20 years.”

It was more than the consistency of the killings which still haunt us, but also they way in which the women suffered.

One victim had been stabbed 35 times in the back and chest, her spine severed. Another had been shot 10 times in the head at her burial site and stabbed in the chest. Many victims showed signs of sexual assault and one had been decapitated with her skull never found.

Australia isn’t rid of the brutal killer’s legacy however. Matthew Milat, Milat’s great-nephew, was sentenced to at least 30 years in 2012 for the axe murder of a friend in the same Belanglo state forest. In court he said:  “That’s what the Milats do.”

Matthew De Gruchy killer

Matthew De Gruchy

18-years-old, known as polite and mild-mannered to those close to him, yet he is the sole killer of three of his family members.

In March 1996, Matthew De Gruchy ran outside his home screaming for help, he was inconsolable.

When police arrived at his Albion Park Rail home on the New South Wales South Coast, he failed to tell them he had bludgeoned to death his mother, sister and brother.

His mother’s injuries were the worst. Jennifer De Gruchy was found in her bedroom, her injuries were so damaging her brain was almost forced out of her head. Police believed a sledge hammer may have been used while a pillow was held over her face. Blood-match samples were used to actually identify her.

De Gruchy’s 13-year-old sister Sarah was found in her bed with significant head and facial injuries. Again, a pillow had been held over her head during the murder. A Walkman was found lying next to her bed, with police stating they believe she didn’t hear what was happening in the mother’s room.

His brother Adrian, 15, was found outside in a shed where he had been doing woodwork. There was blood on the ceiling and some of his teeth on the floor, indicating the gruesome nature of his murder as he was hit 21 times. Adrian’s body had been doused in petrol.

Following the discovery, one police officer never went back to work. A pathologist later said the victims looked like plane crash victims. For former homicide investigator Belinda Neil, it was the worst murder in her four-year career and she had got the call on her first day on the job. The murders contributed to her early retirement.

A murder weapon, believed to be a car jack or a sledgehammer, was never found, but De Gruchy left incriminating evidence in the form of a sports bag, along with his own small blood stains. The bag had items from the house inside it, as well as carpet with evidence cut from his mother’s room, and a handwritten note that included to-do items like “knife 1”, “have shower”, “hit arm with pole” and “hit leg with pole”.

Matthew De Gruchy list

The note found in Matthew De Gruchy’s sports bag

From his “discovery” of the bodies in March ‘96, to his arrest three months later, to his release from Sydney’s Long Bay Jail on August 15 last year (yes, you read that correctly) Matthew De Gruchy has always denied the killings.

His father Wayne, away for work in Sydney at the time of the murders (and later revealed to be with his mistress), has maintained his son’s innocence.

De Gruchy insisted he was at the home of his girlfriend and found the bodies when he returned home. However, investigators believe the murder spree was sparked by an argument with his mother about taking the car to go to his girlfriend’s house.

De Gruchy had served 23 years behind bars when he was released last year. Now 41, it’s understood he is living with his father Wayne who lives in Tasmania.