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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.

Martin Bryant killer

Martin Bryant

It’s been 24-years since the Port Arthur massacre, the killing spree that ended in the deaths of 35 men, women, and children in Tasmania.

Not only did 28-year-old Martin Bryant go down as one of the most cold-blooded killers in local history when the killings took place in April 1996, Australia became the undisputed global leader on gun control.

Martin Bryant was believed to be mentally disabled given his low IQ, and when the elderly couple who owned a Seascape guesthouse refused to sell it to his father (resulting in his suicide in ‘93), Bryant took matters into his own hands.

The elderly couple were his first stop on his day-long killing spree that eventually saw Bryant visit the Broad Arrow Café at historic Port Arthur, remove a Colt AR-15 rifle from his bag, and begin shooting.

During the massacre he killed four people in a BMW and drove the car to a nearby petrol station, where he continued the spree. He took one man hostage before driving back to the Seascape guesthouse.

During an 18-hour stand-off with police, Bryant set the guesthouse on fire.

The Port Arthur massacre was three years before Columbine, and long before the ongoing threat of American mass shootings. Australia could very well have a similar longlist of massacre tragedies had the John Howard Government not taken action gun control that same year. Howard’s new laws to remove semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns and rifles from civilian possession has seen Australia’s homicide rate decline 22% over the past 25 years.

Murderer Kim Snibson

Kim Leanne Snibson

In 2006, just 28,000 people lived in Nowra. It was known for its farming community, the Hanging Rock Lookout and its award-winning dairy producer Unicorn Cheese. Now, even 14 years later, it’s also known for the double murder of a Nowra Hill couple whose bodies were found in barrels.

On January 29 in 2006, a husband and wife were cycling in the Tomerong State Forest when they came across two smouldering barrels. Inside the 44-gallon drums were the burnt remains of Kathryn McKay and Greg Hosa, who had suffered slow and painful deaths.

Owners of a local horse stud, Kathryn McKay and Greg Hosa’s murderer was well known to them. Kim Leanne Snibson, a wife and mother of two daughters, kept her horses in the stables at the stud, Champagne Shires. When she fell behind on payments the couple were lenient. However Snibson refused to pay on the grounds she had performed work on the stud.

kathryn mckay murdered

Murder victim Kathryn McKay

Things took a turn for the worse when Snibson’s husband left her and took her two daughters with him. Her friend, accomplice Stacey Lea-Caton, moved in to Snibson’s house to help care for the animals.

At 2:30am on January 29, Lea-Caton gave a formal statement to local police where he said he saw a couple tied up and murdered on the property and those responsible were Andrew Flentjar and Kim Leanne Snibson. He denied any involvement and Kim Leanne Snibson was detained for questioning.

A few hours later Andrew Flentjar called police to tell them he’d seen the news of the couple’s bodies being found and that Snibson had left two barrel lids on his property. He denied any involvement, however police found McKay’s handbag in his home.

When the sentences were finally handed down in 2008, the court heard that Snibson had recruited Stacey Lea-Caton and Andrew Flentjar to bind and gag the couple at her home on Calymea St. Snibson had lied to the pair and told them two conflicting stories. She told one the couple had drugged her and made her perform sexual acts on them, and told another that Greg Hosa had interfered with her two daughters.

It was later revealed Snibson had plans to have Kathryn McKay and Greg Hosa sign over their property to her. It was also revealed her current property on Calymea Street had been inherited after her name had been added to the previous owner’s will, leading police to believe she may have been responsible for that person’s death.

greg hosa murdered

Victim Greg Hosa

Stacey Lea-Caton and Andrew Flentjar helped Snibson beat, hogtie and gag McKay and Hosa with socks and masking tape, before Snibson suffocated Kathryn McKay with tape around her head, and choked Greg Hosa with a length of electrical fence wire.

Stacey Lea-Caton and Andrew Flentjar helped Snibson load the bodies into barrels, which were driven out to Tomerong State Forest and set alight.

Stacey Lea-Caton plead guilty to kidnapping and murdering the couple and is serving a 22-year sentence. Andrew Wayne Flentjar is serving a 10-year sentence for assisting in kidnapping the couple. A jury acquitted him of murder in June 2008.

Kim Snibson was sentenced to 32 years imprisonment in 2008 with a non-parole of 24 years.

mr cruel australia

Mr. Cruel

“My liberty, my freedom, is more important than your life”.

Those were the chilling words of a still unidentified serial pedophile rapist who is believed to have been at large since his first attack in 1985.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mr Cruel (as dubbed by media) has clocked up three confirmed attacks and is the prime suspect in the abduction and murder of a fourth girl, 13-year-old Chinese-Australian Karmein Chan. Chan was taken from her home in Templestowe at knifepoint in 1991 and her body was found a year later in a landfill area in Thomastown with three bullet holes in the back of her skull.

Karmein Chan

Karmein Chan

Mr Cruel’s attacks have chilling similarities. He monitored and observed the victim and their family prior to the attack, he covered his face with a balaclava at all times, he was soft-spoken and unhurried, he bound and gagged the parents and siblings of his victims, he demanded and searched for money, he demanded his victims brush their teeth, and used a neck brace to tie his victims to a bed following each abduction.

An 11-year-old girl was attacked in 1987 while her parents were locked in a cupboard. 10-year-old Sharon Wills was abducted from her home in 1988 and released 18 hours later at Bayswater High School. And in 1990, 13-year-old Nicola Lynas was taken and molested for 50 hours before release at a power sub-station in Kew.

Victoria Police have searched 30,000 homes and interviewed 27,000 suspects over the attacks, to no avail. Police believe Mr Cruel’s victim count is “up to a dozen”. Police have spent an estimated $4 million on the investigation and in 2016 a $1 million reward was offered for information that leads to Mr Cruel’s arrest and conviction.

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.