Katherine Knight murder of Aberdeen miner John Price still haunts police
What started out as routine wellness quickly turned into a living nightmare, as two WA cops stumbled upon an incredibly gruesome scene. WARNING: GRAPHIC
When Constable Scott Matthews and Sergeant Graham Furlonger attended a welfare check at the home of Aberdeen mining worker John Price on the morning of March 1, 2000, they could never have expected step into one of the most gruesome crime scenes of their careers – or even, the history of the nation ATTENTION: Graphic content.
“As we walked in, I saw straight ahead what I thought was a curtain,” says Furlonger, speaking on an episode of Crimes that shook the nation.
“There was something hanging [that was] blocking my entry into the house, ”Matthews adds,“ I thought it looked like some sort of blanket, or some sort of blanket that had been placed over the arch. “
It wasn’t until he reached out to push the object aside and felt something cold that Constable Matthews realized his arm was covered in blood.
“I realized then,” says Furlonger, “that it was actually human skin. The skin, minus the head. A full skin just hanging from the upper frame of the door.
As hard as it could be to imagine, something even more confronting awaited them in the hallway, in the kitchen of the house. It was the work of now infamous slaughterhouse worker and murderer, Katherine Knight, whose life of extreme violence culminated in an act that would make headlines around the world.
Born in Tenterfield in 1955 as the oldest twin, Katherine was exposed to extreme domestic violence early on, her father Ken, a violent alcoholic, allegedly raped her mother Barbara up to 10 times a day.
Katherine was known at school for being “tough as the guts”, and frequently found herself involved in violent altercations with other children and, on one occasion, a teacher.
After leaving school at age 15, Knight quickly began what she described as the job of her dreams at the local Aberdeen slaughterhouse, where she built a reputation as a “very meat worker. competent ”.
In her personal life, however, Katherine quickly gained notoriety for her violent temper, which could be triggered by the slightest perceived harm on the part of a partner.
The attacks on her first husband, David Kellett, began on their wedding night. After celebrating all day, a drunk Kellett was reportedly too drunk to play to Katherine’s satisfaction, and woke up to find both of his hands around her neck, suffocating her.
It was an act that set the tone for an incredibly abusive relationship, peppered with incidents that alone are deeply disturbing, but which, when viewed together, reveal the patterns of a sadistic, vindictive and ruthless criminal. She was known to attack him, often with a heavy frying pan, to burn his clothes and threaten him with her beloved knives, which she had mounted above her bed.
When Kellett finally left Katherine for another woman and moved to Queensland, she kidnapped an acquaintance with a knife with the intention of going to Coffs Harbor so she could kill Kellett’s mother before continuing north. to kill him too. His plan was thwarted when the woman managed to escape.
Most disturbing of all, Katherine took the two-month-old baby she shared with Kellett to the local railroad, leaving her on the tracks and walking away. Fortunately, the child was saved by a local man who saw her lying there.
This pattern of violence continued throughout several relationships, until she began an affair with popular local miner John Price in 1993. As the romance started well, things started to deteriorate. a few years ago when Price, who had three children from his previous marriage, refused to marry Katherine, citing his desire for his house to go to his children and not a new bride.
As Katherine grew more unstable and aggressive, “Pricey,” as he was known in town, began to lose friends. No one wanted to be next to the violence of Katherine, who reached a crescendo when she stabbed her lover in the chest.
Terrified, Price ultimately kicked Katherine out of her house once and for all, telling his co-workers that he truly feared for her life and the lives of his children.
On February 29, 2000, John Price issued an apprehended violence order against his Katherine. He stayed outside until 11 p.m., drinking with neighbors, before returning home. Some time after Price went to bed, she walked into his house and woke him up. The couple then had sex before, according to Katherine John fell asleep again.
It was the fact that John Price did not show up for work the next day that prompted his boss to sound the alarm. Shortly thereafter, Constables Matthews and Furlonger encountered the gruesome scene in his hallway.
After realizing they were looking at human skin, the police worked hard to avoid panic as they moved around the house.
“There was blood everywhere,” Furlonger remembers, “A line of blood in the hallway and through the kitchen door. And there was a pot on the stove. I think I might have even said to Scotty, “I’ll give you an idea of where the head is.”
Horribly, the sergeant was right. With an array of vegetables, John Price’s chef sat, cooked, on top of his stove. The table had two place settings, each with a plate full of vegetables and cooked human flesh, with a note next to each plate. One note bore the name of John Price’s son, the other his youngest daughter.
When the police reached the bedroom, they discovered a drugged Katherine, otherwise unharmed, asleep on the bed. She had overdosed on pills but was still alive and made a full recovery in hospital, where she was transferred to a psychiatric ward.
It is later discovered that Katherine had stabbed John Price 37 times before beheading and skinning him, removing his genitals. She then drove into town with her wallet and withdrew $ 1,000 from her bank account, money the police still cannot account for.
Katherine’s murder trial judge, the Honorable Barry O’Keefe, has since said he has never before or since “struck something of the gruesome nature of the Katherine Mary Knight case.” He noted her lack of remorse and the continued threat she posed to society, and after pleading guilty, Katherine became the first woman in Australia to receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
These days, Katherine lives her days at the Silverwater Women’s Correctional Center. She is now 66, white hair and glasses, and her nickname – “La Nanna” – belies the horrific nature of her crimes.
According to James Phelps, author of Green is the new black, Katherine spends her time knitting, painting and helping other incarcerated women resolve their differences. She rarely has a phone call or a visit from a loved one, and would have found religion.