Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Lindsay Hoani BECKETT





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Rape
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: October 6, 1997
Date of arrest: October 27, 1997
Date of birth: March 27, 1974
Victim profile: Lauren Margaret Barry, 14, and Nichole Emma Collins, 16
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: New South Wales/Victoria, Australia
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 35 years on August 20, 1998

R v Beckett [1998] VSC 219 (20 August 1998)

Supreme Court of Victoria
Criminal Jurisdiction

No. 1518 of 1998

The Queen
Lindsay Hoani Beckett

His Honour:

  1. Lindsay Hoani Beckett, you have pleaded guilty to the murder at Fiddlers Green Creek in the State of Victoria on or about 6 October 1997 of two young persons named Lauren Margaret Barry and Nichole Emma Collins. Your victims had been abducted not far from their homes in Bega, New South Wales, and over a period of 12 hours were kept hostage at knife point and repeatedly raped and terrorized before they were taken to the remote location at which they were walked into the bush, bound with rope before each of them was by your hand killed with a knife.


  2. Precisely what occurred to these young people and the extent of the horror which they experienced will never be known. At this stage at least, we, the community, have only your version of what happened. True it is that some objectively demonstrable features of your narrative have been verified, but there is much which cannot be. Obviously it would have been better had it been possible to await the completion of proceedings against the person who you assert was the instigator of what took place and under whose control and influence you claim to have acted. However, as it is anticipated that you will be called to give evidence in those proceedings, in accordance with well recognized legal principles, the matter has been brought before the court. Simply expressed, the law regards it as important, for good reasons upon which I need not here dwell, that before the evidence of an alleged co-offender is admitted into the trial of a person charged with a criminal offence, any benefit that the co-offender may derive from such co-operation has been identified and no further benefit is possible. The value of the evidence can then be assessed in the light of the known benefit, if any, received. For sentencing purposes, I must accordingly deal with you on the basis of the information available at this time. It is contained in the documentary material before the court and includes the narratives of events that you gave to investigating police members.


  3. I have been provided with a summary of facts by the prosecutor, which has been read in the court and accepted as accurate by your counsel, and accords with my reading of the material upon which it is based. In the circumstances, I think that I should set out that summary in full. It incorporates the central features of your version and represents the prosecution formulation of the case against you. It also provides the framework within which I must consider the sentence to be imposed upon you.


  4. The summary reads: On Sunday 5 October 1997 two young teenage girls, Lauren Margaret Barry and Nichole Emma Collins, were walking along the Bega Tathra road, Evans Hill, New South Wales.


  5. Lauren Margaret Barry was born on 11 October 1982 in New South Wales and was 14 years of age. It was to be her 15th birthday the following weekend. She was a Year 9 student at Bega High School.


  6. Nichole Emma Collins was born on 14 November 1980 in New South Wales and was 16 years of age. She was a Year 11 student at Bega High School.


  7. Both girls had been living with their families in the Bega area for some years.


  8. The weekend of 4th to 6th October 1997 was a long weekend in New South Wales. On Friday 3 October, Mr Collins, a veterinary surgeon and father of Nichole Collins, set up a temporary camp site at White Rock just off the Tathra Bega Road for the girls. It was designed to be a fun break from school over the long weekend. Similar camps had been set up over the proceeding 18 months. Both girls would be camping with a group of other girls and boys from the Bega area. The camp site was only three kilometres from where Lauren Barry and Nichole Collins lived. Both girls in fact attended at their homes during the day to shower, change clothes and sometimes to get something to eat. Further, the parents of both girls called in regularly to check on how things were going up at the camp site. Mr Collins had called into the camp site on the Sunday afternoon prior to the girls being reported as missing.


  9. I interpolate at this point that the situation was one in which these young girls were only a very short distance from their homes, confident in their social environment, as they had every right to be.


  10. On that same Sunday, 5 October 1997, Lindsay Hoani Beckett, who was 24 years of age, and Leslie Alfred Camilleri who was 28 years of age, were travelling in Camilleri's de facto's car in the Bega area. They were the only two occupants of the car.


  11. Normally both men resided in Yass in New South Wales. They had got to know each other the preceding two to three years and from time to time helped each other steal cars.


  12. Again, I interpolate, it is evident that the association between your companion and yourself was one of a criminal character and extended over a relatively long period of time.

    Previous incident.


  13. On 14 September 1997, only some three weeks prior to the disappearance of both young teenagers, Lindsay Hoani Beckett and Leslie Alfred Camilleri, whilst driving their car, had picked up a young woman in Canberra named Rosamari Gandarias, aged 19. They subsequently held this woman captive for a period of approximately 12 hours.


  14. I interpolate, about the same time that these two young girls were held.


  15. During this time, both men raped her. It was Camilleri who started the attack on the woman inside the car by producing a knife and holding it into the ribs of the woman and demanding sex. The young woman was subsequently over a period of time raped orally, vaginally and anally. She was repeatedly hit on the head by Camilleri to make her co-operate. She was threatened with being tied up. At some stage the car in which she was held captive pulled into a rest area off the Hume Highway near Bowral, New South Wales. The young woman said she had to go to the toilet. She got out of the car and then managed to flee through the bush. She was only wearing shoes, socks, and a T-shirt at the time. Both men chased her. However, she managed to escape by hiding in a wombat hole. She then ran through the bush suffering multiple abrasions and lacerations until she came to a farm house where she could get some help.


  16. In his record of interview dated 12 May 1998, Beckett acknowledges that Gandarias' account of events is true. Further, Beckett states in his record of interview dated 22nd day May 1998 that the intention of Camilleri prior to the young woman's escape was that she was to be killed by throwing her off a bridge.


  17. I interpolate, that provides a remarkably similar description to the one which you gave in relation to your involvement in the deaths of these two young girls. It also provides an important feature of the framework within which sentence is to be imposed upon you. You must be taken to have understood at a very early point of time what was likely to happen to these two young girls. What that point of time was, it is difficult to determine, but I will return to that matter later.


  18. On both 14 September 1997, involving Rosamari Gandarias, and 5 October 1997 involving Lauren Barry and Nichole Collins, there is no suggestion that the persons were immediately abducted from the roadway. However, once in the rear of the vehicle, both rear doors of the vehicle would not open from the inside and a person could only alight by climbing out of the rear window or by climbing out over the front seat.

    Events of 5 October 1997.


  19. The account as to what happened to the two young teenage girls on Sunday 5 October 1997 at Bega is largely contained in Beckett's various records of interview and sworn statements.


  20. According to Beckett, the following occurred: Lauren Barry and Nichole Collins were seen by Camilleri walking single file along the Bega-Tathra Road at about 10.00 p.m. whilst he was driving. Beckett was in the front passenger seat. That night Nichole had wanted to go to a party at her friend, Christine James' place. Lauren had gone with her. The car stopped. There was a conversation between Camilleri and the girls. There had been a festival over the long weekend at Bega and Camilleri invited the girls into the car to see if there were any parties taking place down Tathra beach, which was only a short distance away. In order for the girls to get into the back seat of the Camilleri's car, a TV, which had been taken by the men from one Andrew Smart, had to be removed and placed at the side of the roadway. The girls then got into the rear seat of the car. The car was then driven to the Tathra beach area and stayed for a short time.


  21. After leaving the Tathra area, Camilleri drove his car back towards the camp site. Beckett was in the front passenger seat. Lauren and Nichole were seated in the rear. Camilleri turned offer the Tathra Road on to the dirt track leading to the camp site at White Rock. As Camilleri drove along the dirt track, which has a rough and uneven surface, the vehicle bottomed out. At this stage Camilleri became quite agitated and started yelling at the girls.


  22. In a statement dated 10 December 1997 Beckett states as follows:

    Initial attack.


  23. "Whilst Les (Camilleri) was going off, he pulled his knife out of a pocket in the driver's door. This was a black handled pocket knife with a serrated edge. Les turned around to the girls and showed them the knife. He told them to shut up and not to say anything. Les said if they did not do what he said, he would stab them. During this Les told me to get my knife. I got my knife out of the glove box. I have a black handled knife with a jagged edge. I showed the girls I had a knife, too. I said to the girls to do as Les says."


  24. It is clear from Beckett's account that the knives were already in the car and easily available for use.

    First rape incident.


  25. Camilleri then reversed the vehicle back down the dirt track to the Tathra Road, turned left and drove towards Kalaru. At some stage Camilleri was driving the vehicle along the Old Wallagoot Road towards the Sapphire Coast Highway when he turned off this road into a small clearing which had the appearance of an area where locals had dumped rubbish. Camilleri parked the vehicle. There then follows a series of questions and answers:

    "Okay and did Lauren get out of the car by herself?" "Yeah." "You didn't help her get out of the car?" "No." "Or force her to get out of the car?" "No." "Okay. She gets out of the car, what happens?" "And then she started removing her clothes and I started removing mine." "All right, she started removing her clothes?" "M'mm." "Why did she do that?" I dunno. I think I might have told her to take her clothes off."


  26. I interpolate, this represents one of a number of answers given by you at various stages of your questioning by the police which contains a notable vagueness when you are asked to describe what you did as opposed to what Camilleri did.

    "Okay. And you have the knife in your hand at this stage?" "No, I left that on the floor of the car." "You left it on the floor of the car?" "Yeah." "Okay, did you tell her to take her clothes off?" "I am not sure whether I - I can't quite recall if I did or if I didn't." "Okay." "I - I'd probably say I did but I just can't recall." "All right. Now, I'll just get this in perspective. This is a young girl, she has seen you with a knife and you are telling her to take her clothes off?" "M'mm" "Is that right?" "Yeah, but I never had the knife on me when she hopped out." "No, no, but I am saying you had the knife earlier" "Yeah." "I understand that you've left it in the car?" "Yeah." "Okay. You tell her to take her clothes off?" "M'mm." "What clothes did she take off?" "She took her pants and knickers off." "Okay. What does Lauren have covering the top half of her body?" "I am not quite sure. Not sure. But I know Nichole had a light shirt on and the jacket." "What sort of jacket?" "I think it was a blue school jacket." "Okay. What - what school?" "Bega, Bega High." "A Bega High school jacket?" "Yeah." "Was your penis enlarged?" "Yeah." "Okay, what happens then?" "And then we just started having sex." "And then you started having sex?" "Yeah." "Okay. Now, do you think that she was consenting to have sex with you of her own free will?" "I'd say, I'd say no cause of the knives and the way Les put it across earlier that night." "Okay." "So you understand by that you were raping - - -?" "Yeah." "This girl?" "Yeah." "Okay. How long does the sex go on for with Lauren?" "About half an hour." "About half an hour?" "Yeah." "Okay. Did you ejaculate?" "Yep." "Where do you ejaculate?" "Inside her". "Okay, at any stage prior to or during sex does Lauren tell you that in fact she is menstruating? Do you know what that means?" "No." "She is having her period?" "Oh yeah, she did earlier." "She did earlier?" "Yeah, about, oh just before we were about to have sex."


  27. In his statement dated 10 December 1997 Beckett also states that he was aware that 14 year old Lauren was a virgin.


  28. I interpolate and I will mention this again later, there is a powerful inference in that situation that this girl did all that she could in the circumstances to dissuade you when otherwise she was physically within your power and you knew it.


  29. At this stage, Camilleri had taken Collins on the other side of the car and he is either raping or attempting to rape Nichole Collins.

    Second rape incident.


  30. Lauren Barry and Nichole Collins were then returned to the rear seat of the vehicle. Camilleri and Beckett remained in the same position in the vehicle and Camilleri drove from this location along the Old Wallagoot Road. The vehicle was subsequently driven to Merimbula and then driven along the Princes Highway towards Eden. The girls were still being held captive. When they were approximately five kilometres north of Eden Camilleri turned left off the highway. This was at a road which entered the Ben Boyd National Park. Camilleri stated to Beckett that he wanted to have sex with Lauren.


  31. During the evening Beckett and Camilleri had several times taken speed. At this point of time both Beckett and Camilleri raped both girls again. Camilleri took Lauren from the car, Camilleri was away from the car with Lauren for about 30 minutes. When Camilleri returned, he told Beckett that he had tried to have sex with Lauren but he could not as she was too tight. Whilst this was going on, Beckett orally raped Nichole in the car. In his statement of 10 December 1997, Beckett states:

    "Again, the girls didn't have a choice about having sex. They would have been scared because of the knives and the threats."

    Third rape incident.


  32. Camilleri then drove his car into Eden. After driving around for a short time, Camilleri and Beckett then sought a back way out of Eden. As they were doing this, Camilleri again stopped the car off a road in a spot that let's cars do an U turn. Beckett states:

    "When we stopped the car Les and me got out of the car. I got Nichole out of the car and Les got Lauren out. I sat in the front passenger seat and got Nichole to kneel on the ground in front of me. I then made her suck my dick. Les got Lauren to crouch on the ground while he stood up. Les got her to suck him off. That is what it looked like to me. I got Nichole to suck me off for five to ten minutes but I couldn't get it up. While I was getting Nichole to suck me off I heard Les tell her to suck his dick properly. Les said 'don't let your teeth touch my dick.' When Les did this he would hit Lauren. I could hear the thumps as Les hit her in the head. About the time I stopped having Nichole suck me off, Les basically finished too. The girls would have been scared still and would have had no choice."


  33. Beckett then describes placing the girls back in the car.

    Fourth rape incident.


  34. Subsequently, the car was driven along the Princes Highway towards Victoria. A further act of oral rape takes place as described by Beckett:

    "As I drove along the Princes Highway towards Orbost Les was getting Lauren to suck him off. By this I mean he was getting Lauren to give him oral sex."

    Fifth rape incident.


  35. Beckett then drove the Telstar along the Princes Highway from New South Wales into the Victoria. Some time after crossing the border Camilleri told Beckett to find a spot off the main road. Beckett states:

    "He said he wanted to have another go at Lauren. By this I took it he wanted to try and have sex with Lauren. I saw a dirt track off to the left. At the start of the track was a green steel V shaped gate. The gate was open. I drove down the dirt road for 10 or 15 minutes. Where I stopped was a big log. It was a fallen tree. Les ripped the top off a Victoria Bitter slab box before he got out of the car and put the lid ... the slab box somewhere so I could know where to come back to. Les got Lauren out of the car and shut the door. I saw him leading her into the bush before I drove off. I drove further off the road."

    Question: "Now, again, at this stage these girls have been threatened?" "M'mm." "How do you think they felt at this time?" "Shocked." "Frightened?" "Yeah." "Okay. So Les takes Lauren out of the car?" "M'mm." "Where does he go?" "He goes into the bush, he rips off a piece of cardboard off the slab - off the top of the slab and sticks it down somewhere where I could see it so I knew where to stop when I came back." "Okay. So you drive away?" "Yep."


  36. Subsequently Beckett returns to pick up Camilleri and Lauren from the spot where the lid from the beer carton had been placed. Beckett states:

    "I stopped the car at the log with a bit of stubbie box on it. Les brought Lauren over to the car. Les put Lauren in the car through the back passenger door and then he got in. I noticed that Lauren had pants on like tights and she had Les' T-shirt on. It was a light grey colour with either green or blue writing. When Les came back to the car he didn't have his T-shirt on, he had nothing on his chest, he still had his Adidas pants on."


  37. At this stage it was dawn and the girls had been held captive for over eight hours and had been driven several hundred kilometres away from their home in New South Wales. Nearly every time the car had stopped on the way one or both of the girl had been taken from the car and raped. The police found items of the girls' or occupants' of the car at nearly every place Beckett described.


  38. Beckett was asked by the police as to the type of treatment that had been metered out to the two young girls whilst they had been held captive.

    Treatment of girls.


  39. "Have the girls been assaulted in any way at this stage by either yourself or Les?" "When you look at it in law terms, yeah." "What had been done to them?" "Sexually assaulted." "Okay. What about physically? I am talking about hitting or striking them?" "He'd hit them if they wouldn't give him a head job properly. He kept saying 'If you teeth - if your teeth touch - touch my penis' - he said, 'I'll, he said, punch ya.'" "If you teeth touch my penis I'll punch you?" "Yeah, 'If your teeth touch me penis.' He said he'll hit 'em." "Okay." "And he just kept saying, 'Do it properly, do it properly." "When was this taking place?" "It was in the car and while - while we were driving." "Okay. Who was he talking to?" "It was Nichole." "It was Nichole?" "Yeah." "Okay. So were they in the back seat together?" "Nah, that's while he was driving." "While he was driving?" "Yeah." "So this is earlier?" "Yeah. I can't recall where but I know it was when we were driving." "Okay. How did he hit her?" "In the head." "What did he hit her with?" "His fist." "What happened to her when he hit her?" "She was just going 'M'mm' or saying 'Ouch' or something like that." "How hard was he hitting her?" "It was hard enough." "Did she bleed?" "Nuh." "Did she have any bruises?" "I don't know." "Did you see any marks on her from him?" "Nuh." "Okay. So how much times do you think he had punched Nichole as you said?" "Every time - every time she wouldn't do it properly." "And how many times was that?" "About 30 times, a rough estimate." "About 30 times?" "Yeah." "And you are saying these hits are fairly solid?" "Yeah, they are. I know what they are like." "Did it make a noise when they - - -?" "Yeah." "What sort of noise did they make?" "Like when you hit someone in the head." "Okay." "On the - on the - like on the top of the head or something." "Yeah. Did he hit Lauren at all?" "Yeah." "When did he hit Lauren?" "When - when he was - he hit 'em both. That's when they wouldn't - when they w -, when they wouldn't - when they wouldn't give him a head job properly and when their teeth was touching his penis." "Okay. Did you hit either of the girls?" "No, because I had no reason to."


  40. My interpolation is that that appears to be the only reason you advanced for not engaging in the assault. Not because there was any offensive character about such an attack; nor because you considered that it was in any way wrong or objected to what was occurring but simply because you had no reason to hit them.


  41. After the last rape incident Beckett then drove the car back on to the Princes Highway and continued along it towards Orbost. Camilleri fell asleep for a short period of time but then woke up and complained that they were too deep into Victoria. Beckett states:

    "I drove down the highway and just before Cann River Les woke up. He wanted to know where we were. I told him we were in Victoria heading to Orbost. Les cracked the shits and was abusing me. He was saying he wanted to go to Sydney. He kept saying 'the bridge'. I took this to mean he wanted to throw the girls off the bridge because he had spoken about this before. (reference to Rosamari Gandarias) There are some bridges on the way to Sydney on the Hume Highway which have great drops."


  42. Interpolation: An interesting expression "great drop" when it is employed in relation to the killing of a young person.


  43. Beckett found a place to turn off. He states:

    Murder scene.


  44. "As we drove up the track, Lauren asked me if we were going to kill them. Les said 'No, we are just going to tie you up so we can get away.' Then we stopped the car. I think it was Lauren again who asked if we were going to kill them. Les said 'No, we are just going to tie you up so that we can get a head start.' While Les was saying to me in the car, 'Can't go back' the two girls would have heard this. I knew when Les was telling Lauren we were only going to tie them up he was lying. I know Les wanted them dead so we couldn't get caught for raping the girls."


  45. Interpolation: There is a curious omission in that passage of any expression by you of your intentions at that time.


  46. Beckett gives the following account in his record of interview:

    "Okay. What do you and Les talk about at the time?" "He just - as we were going up the track, he just kept saying to me, 'They can't go back.'" "Pardon?" "He just kept saying to me, 'They can't go back.'" "They can't go back?" "Yeah." "And what did you take that he meant by that?" "I knew what he was - what he was saying." "What was he saying?" "That they - they couldn't go back because we'd get caught." "So what did you - what did you think you had to do?" "Well, I didn't think that I had to do anything." "What did you think was going to happen?" "That they were gonna be killed."


  47. Beckett's narrative then continues after the car has stopped. The girls have been held captive for approximately 12 hours and it is approximately 8 a.m. on Monday 6 October.

    "Yep. What do you do when you get out of the car?" "I got out of the car an Les hopped out of the car and - and - and then he told me to get the keys." "The keys to?" "To the boot." "Yes." "So I got the keys to the boot." "Okay. What happened then?" "And I opened it and he grand the rope and - and then he cut bits of - he cut about - he cut a length of rope about - about it was about that long." "About that long, so - - -?" "He cut a length of rope about that long." "Three foot long?" "Yeah. And - and then he tied Lauren's hand up." "He tied Lauren's hands up?" "Yep." "While she was in the car or while she - - -?" "No she was standing outside the car, I think." "Okay." "She was either sitting down on the back seat or - or she was standing outside the car." "Okay. How does he tie her hands up?" "They were bound like that. Like together like that." "So her hands were cupped together and they were bound?" "Yeah." "Did he tell her to cup her hands together?" "Yeah." "What were you doing while he was doing this?" "I was tying - - -." "You're pointing at Nichole?" "Nichole, yeah. I was tying Nichole's hands up." "How did you tie her hands up?" "Well, initially, they were already tied up." "Pardon?" "Initially they were already tied up because I tied 'em up. As we got there I tied 'em up."


  48. Interpolation: There is absolutely no suggestion in any of the material that that was done at the instigation of Camilleri.


    "What did you tie - - -?" "But it wasn't with the rope." "What did you tie them with?" "It was a bit of cloth or something. I can't recall what it was but it was a bit of cloth or something like that." "Okay. And where was the cloth from?" "Out of the car."

    Beckett's account continues:

    "Okay. All right. So the girls' hands are tied?" "Yep." "You tied one of the girls, you tied Nichole's." "I tied Nichole's, yeah." "And Les ties Lauren's." "Yep." "What happens from there, what do you do?" "We just started going into the bush, taking them down to the river." "Well, does anyone have hold of the girls?" "Yeah." "Who?" "Had hold of the ropes." "Who did?" "Well, I had hold of that, I tied Nichole up with and - - -" "Okay." "And Les had hold of Lauren."

    At some stage Beckett and Camilleri came to a small river or creek.

    "Well, did you have to force them through the water or what was the situation?" "Nuh. We just walked through." "Just walked through?" "Yeah cause we walked there." "Okay. And what happened?" "And then we just kept walking up the - up the river." "How far did you walk up the river?" "A couple of hundred metres or something." "A couple of hundred metres or something?" "Yeah, something like that."

    After taking the girls through the creek, Beckett says,

    "Les said to me, 'Untie them so they can wash themselves out.' I untied Nichole. Lauren went in. She took her shoes and socks and pants and knickers off. Lauren walked into the creek but she didn't look like she wanted to. Les said 'Get yourself in there and wash yourself out.' Lauren kept saying this it was cold and she bad-mouthed Les. He got angry and said 'Get the fuck in there." Lauren was splashing some water on her fanny and Les said to her 'Get right in and make sure it is all out.' Lauren got right into the water. She was there for a couple of minutes and then she got out. One of Lauren's hands was still tied and Les was holding on to the rope. Lauren put her clothes back on. Nichole had been untied by me first and told to wash herself out. Nichole went straight into the water and she was told to kneel down in the water. Nichole was in the water for a couple of minutes and then she got out and got dressed. She had taken off her shoes and socks, pants and knickers. I thought they had put all their clothes back on. I tied Nichole's wrists up again, first with a cloth rag and then the rope. Les re-tied Lauren's wrists."

    The girls were then led away by both men and placed face down on their stomachs. The girls were then further tied.

    "So you are in control of what she does?" "Well, yeah. She couldn't run away." "Yep, okay." "Mm." "And what was the situation with Lauren?" "She was tied up with the six - six foot bit of rope or five - five foot bit of rope." "Tethered again?" "Yeah." "Do you know what I mean by tethered?" "No." "Like a horse and you lead a horse along by its lead?" "Yeah." "Yeah. Okay. Who was - who was leading or holding that rope - that piece of rope?" "Les was." "Les was?" "Yeah." "Okay. What happened then?" "Then we went down the river and tied them up then they were on their stomachs." "How did you tie them up. We will start with the one that you tied up. Who did you tie up, Nichole you said?" "Yep." "How did you do that?" "I just had her hands like that, combined together." "Yes." "And then when her hands were tied together she - like, she was still layin' down and I was just watching Les tie Lauren up." "Okay. So Les tied Lauren up. How did he do that?" "With the rest of the rope that was in the car." "How much rope was that?" "About 12 foot." "Okay. Did he - how was he carrying the rope?" "I don't know, I think he just had it in his hands." "What were you saying to the girls at this time?" "I didn't say anything to them." "What was Les saying?" "He just kept saying, 'We're just gonna to tie you up down here - - -." "What were the girls saying?" "Until, until we get away. She - she, I don't know which one, I think it might have been Nichole was saying 'You're not going to kill us, are ya?' And Les was - just kept saying 'No, we're just going to tie you up so we can get away.'" "Okay. Now, you've said he ties her up with the extra bit of rope?" "M'mm." "Can you describe to me exactly how he ties her up. How he re strains her?" "He ties her - ties her hands behind her back." "M'mm." "And - and he doubles it around the legs and they were scrunched right up and then from there it went to her head and he wrapped it around twice round her neck and then she was scrunched right up." "Have you heard of - ever heard anyone say hog tied. Have you heard of the description of people being tied before?" "I have heard of a hog tie." "And was it sort of like that?" "I don't know what it looks like." "Okay." "I have just heard of the name." "Okay. Could she - she move?" "Nuh."


  49. After this, Camilleri directed the girls to be taken to different spots to be tied.

    "Do you know why did he choose two different spots to tie them both up?" "So - so 'cause he said to me - he said, 'When' - he said to me, 'When one's done the other won't hear the other one or see it.'" .


  50. The men had a conversation as to how they would kill the girls.

    "Okay. What happens then? You have a conversation with Les I take it?" "Les said - Les said to me - he said - he said - he said 'Drown Lauren and - and then go - and drag Nichole' - or 'Kill Nichole. Go up and kill her and then drag her down into the water." "What did you do when he said that to you?" "I said to him, 'I don't wanna to do it' and then I said, 'Why don't you do one?' And he said, 'Just do it, otherwise I'll fuckin' kill you' and I freaked out." "Okay." "And I knew, sort of, when Les was saying, 'They can't - they can't go back because we' - because he was saying', 'We'll get caught.'" "Was that on your mind too?" "Yeah." "What were you thinking?" "I don't know." "Were you concerned about being caught for raping the girls?" "Yeah."


  51. Then there is further talk about killing the girls.

    "Okay. All right. He tells you - to kill the girls. You were saying that he's - he's threatened you?" "Yep." "What happens then?" "And then I tied Nichole up and went down and - - -." "Were you speaking in front of the girls when you were talking about killing them?" "No, we were whispering." "Okay. What does Les do?" "He - when I went up the bank to check Nichole he came up the bank and told me - told me a second time what to do." "Okay. Now how far do you think Nichole was tied to the tree from where Lauren was lying on the bank?" "I don't know. About - probably 30 feet away." "Okay. Could they see each other?" "Nuh."

    The girls were also gagged.


  52. The killings then took place. Beckett in his record of interview describes the killing of the girls as follows:

    "And what did you decide to do?" "Because I didn't know if Les was watching. I didn't know where he was. So then I ended up putting Lauren's head in the water." "Okay. How did you do that?" "Just dragged her over to the water."


  53. Beckett in his statement states as follows:

    "I went over to Lauren and dragged her down to the water. I held her head under the water. She was struggling and she knocked me into the water. One of my knees, I think the left went into the water. This pissed me off a little bit and I opened my knife, it was in my left hand and I stabbed Lauren in the left side of the neck. I said in my interview that it was the right side of the neck with my right hand but I am been thinking since. It wasn't my right thumb which was cut but my left. After a couple of seconds after I stabbed her she stopped moving."

    Killing of Nichole.


  54. Beckett then describes the killing of Nichole Collins.

    "After I stabbed Lauren, I ran up the bank to where I tied Nichole up. She must have heard what I had done to Lauren because when I got to her she said, 'you're going to kill me, aren't you.' I said 'shut up' and walked around to her left side and I cut her throat two or three times. This was across her throat. The knife was in my left hand. Nichole was sitting down when I cut her throat. After this she was thrashing around on the ground. She was trying to scream but nothing was coming out. I think I kicked her because she wouldn't keep still. And then I put my foot on to her to keep her still. This didn't work so I stabbed her in the throat. I aimed and stabbed at the hard thing in her neck. I pushed the knife all the way in but she still wouldn't keep still so I worked out where her heart would be and I stabbed her on the left side of the chest. She still didn't stop moving so I stabbed her in the front of the chest. I was aiming for her heart. I needed two hands to get the knife through her chest. She kept moving so I kicked her in the head a couple of times. She still kept moving but she was slowing down. I waited until she stopped moving which didn't take long."


  55. Beckett then describes the untying of the ropes and gags from around the girls and picking up the ropes and running back to the car where Camilleri was sitting. He states:"Les asked me if I'd done it and I told him I had. Les didn't believe me and he wanted to go back down there. I said, 'Well go down they're just lying down there.' Les kept saying to me, 'Did you see the demon' once he thought I'd killed the girls."


  56. Beckett then describes the various actions that he and Camilleri then took over the next few days. Included within those actions were the burning of clothes and rope, throwing of knives into the Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra - one in fact was recovered - and the thorough cleaning out of the car in which the girls had been raped and assaulted.


  57. Beckett and Camilleri eventually returned to Yass and then subsequently drove to Sydney.


  58. On Sunday 5 October the girls were reported missing. A massive man hunt in the Bega area by family, friends, locals and police failed to locate the girls.


  59. On 27 October 1997 Beckett was apprehended by members of the Australian Federal Police for unrelated matters, theft, and subsequently remanded in custody.


  60. In Beckett's stolen the car the Australian Federal Police found a map of the Bega area. The task force into the girls' disappearance was notified.


  61. Beckett was then interviewed on 5 November 1997 at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Canberra. Beckett denied any involvement.


  62. On 12 November 1997, Beckett was again interviewed and on this occasion gave a detailed account of events and made admissions. Beckett subsequently took investigators to various crime scenes within New South Wales and Victoria and to the actual murder scene, Fiddlers Green Creek in Victoria where the bodies (remains) of the two dead girls were found.


  63. On 15 November 1997, Beckett was extradited to Victoria. On 15 November of 1997 a further record of interview was conducted with members of the Victoria Homicide Squad and admissions were made.


  64. On 28 October 1997, Camilleri was arrested for unrelated matters and also for breaching his bail.


  65. On 25 November 1997, Camilleri was extradited to Victoria and made no admissions during any interview process as to either raping or murdering the two young teenagers. On his initial interview, he stated that he knew nothing about the disappearance of the girls. On his second interview, he admitted that the girls were in the car but that he was doped out on heroin and knows nothing of the rape or killing of the two girls.


  66. On 26 June 1998, Beckett pleaded guilty at arraignment before His Honour the Chief Justice on two counts of murder.


  67. Although, as the summary which I have just read indicates, you provided a substantial amount of detail to the police, I am by no means confident that you accurately portrayed the respective roles and levels of responsibility of your companion and yourself. In overall terms, you presented your companion as the primary decision maker who instigated most of the activities upon which the pair of you embarked during the relevant period. You indicated that you acted under his influence or control at all stages and specifically in relation to the acts of killing.


  68. However, there are a number of features, to some of which I have already adverted, which cast serious doubt upon this express and implied assertion. For example, you attribute to him virtually every single decision which led to the first occasion of rape upon Lauren Barry except the actual decision to rape itself. Significantly, there is nothing to indicate that there was any prior discussion between you concerning it or that the commission of this serious crime was the product of his influence or your involvement the consequence of some threat made by him. Nor do you suggest that you experienced any sense of guilt or discomfort by reason of your engagement in an act of violence which continued for between 20 and 30 minutes and was committed against a young girl who, physically within your power, appears to have attempted to discourage you by the only means available to her, that is letting you know that she was a virgin and menstruating at the time. This would be a little surprising, if you had been pressured in some fashion to participate although unwilling to do so, but quite consistent with an unexpressed understanding as to what was to be done in a situation where you had engaged in similar behaviour with the same companion approximately three weeks earlier.


  69. At the time of the next episode, according to you, your companion left the vehicle with Lauren Barry in order to rape her, leaving you with Nichole Collins. In relation to this period, you told the police: "I was with Nichole but I don't remember what I did. It is possible I had sex or tried to have sex with Nichole at this stage."


  70. You clearly did not regard yourself as being under any pressure to offend against this young woman or suggest to the police that your companion expected or invited you to do the same. I note that on more than one occasion, as I have earlier remarked, when your own conduct was in question, you expressed some difficulty in recollecting what occurred. There is, of course, a notable exception to this vagueness in your description of the detail of the killing of the two girls.


  71. Your description of the oral rape of Nichole Collins is contained in three short sentences. Again, there is no indication that you were not acting independently or for your own purposes.


  72. Finally, in this context, whilst I am unable to identify the point at which you decided that the two young girl would be killed, I have little doubt that you realized and accepted if not decided that that would happen well before your companion may have expressed the thought "Can't go back." Even if you had not personally determined that they were to die before that statement, or before a reference was made by your companion to the Hume Highway bridges - you had been involved in the previous incident where it was, according to your admission, decided to throw a rape victim from one of those bridges - you must have appreciated that this was likely to happen. I suspect that you had a very good idea of what was likely to occur from the moment that knives were first produced or the first acts of rape perpetrated.


  73. In this context, it may be significant that your statements contain no explanation of your personal decision as the driver of the vehicle in which you were travelling to proceed into Victoria; nor is there any indication of what fate you anticipated awaited your young victims when you arrived there.


  74. When, according to your version, it became clear that your companion intended to kill, you appear to have viewed the prospect with equanimity. You neither voiced nor, it would seem, experienced any concern about what was contemplated. Indeed, the evidence indicates that the only point at which you reacted against the plan was when you realized that you were expected to kill both girls and not one. You may well have felt that this was unreasonable and that Camilleri should have shared the killing. He may well have uttered a threat against you when you complained and you may well have experienced a moment of fear but I do not accept that you then acted out of that fear or that you did anything that you were not willing to do in any event.


  75. Your description of the killing acts is informative as to your state of mind at the time. I note that you stated to the police that you took out your knife and stabbed Lauren Barry because, to use our words, you were "pissed off" when your knee became wet as you attempted to drown her. Your description of the death of Nichole Collins was, as I indicated in the course of the plea, one of the most chilling I have encountered over many years in that it was totally devoid of any recognition that you were speaking about the killing of an innocent young girl. Rather than evidencing some sense of her humanity or indeed your own, at one point in your attack upon her as she lay defenceless, you expressed irritation, punching her in the head because she would not die quickly enough. A similar irritation to that expressed in relation to Lauren Barry with whom you were pissed off for the pathetic reason that as she struggled for life she caused your knee to become wet. These do not appear to me to be the emotional responses of a person who was acting out of fear.


  76. I should add that this absence of any sense of the profound appreciation of human life and the personal dignity or feelings of your young victims is apparent at every point of your narrative.


  77. Now and again in your statements to the police you have acknowledged that your victims "had no choice" were "shocked" and "frightened" but otherwise there is silence concerning what they may have said or done or how they felt. That terrible silence is filled in the minds of their parents, family members and friends as well as thousands of members of the wider community with nightmarish imagines of terror, tears and death. For most in that wider community, in time what you have done will become a distant event. You will represent simply the dark in which our women and children fearfully walk. But for some, and I refer particularly to their parents, families and friends, the images will endure and the anguish remain.


  78. At this point I should add that I carefully read the various victim impact statements produced to the court and I was deeply moved by them.


  79. With respect to those statements, I repeat the comments that I made some time ago in the Queen v. Lascano, unreported, 7 December 1994. The introduction of such statements was not, as I see it, intended to effect any change in the sentencing principles which govern the exercise of discretion by a sentencing judge. What such statements do is introduce in a more specific way factors which a court would ordinarily have considered in a broader context. They constitute a reminder of what might be described as the human impact of crime. They draw to the attention of the judge who would of necessity have to consider the possible and probable consequences of criminal behaviour, not only its significance to society in general but the actual effect of a specific crime upon those who have been intimately affected by it. The statements provide an opportunity for those whose lives are often tragically altered by criminal behaviour to draw to the court's attention the damage and sense of anguish which has been created and which can often be of a very long duration. To that extent, they relate to an aspect of the criminal law to which reference is not often made. They play their part in achieving what might be termed social and individual rehabilitation. Rehabilitation, in this sense, is not perceived from the perspective of the offender, but from that of those persons who have sustained loss and damage by reason of the commission of an offence. To that extent, statements of this kind place the crime in a wider and yet paradoxically more specific context to be considered by a judge when imposing sentence.


  80. This notion of social rehabilitation to which I have referred is one that I do not believe has been accorded anything approaching significant recognition as an identifiable underlying object of the criminal justice system. It seems to me that the process of social and personal recovery which we attempt to achieve in order to ameliorate the consequences of a crime can be impeded or facilitated by the response of the courts. The imposition of a sentence often constitutes both a practical and ritual completion of a protracted painful period. If the balancing of values represented by the sentence is perceived as just, the process of recovery will be assisted. If not, there will be created within the minds of those directly affected by the crime and the wider community generally a sense of injustice and hurt and of the failure of the system that may never be removed.


  81. The lives of Lauren Barry and Nichole Collins clearly possessed no significance to you. But they are regarded as uniquely valuable to those people and to every decent member of society before whose Bar of Justice you now stand.


  82. During recent days I have reflected a great deal upon you and your actions. As an ordinary human being I have found that task to be profoundly disturbing but it is a central part of my duty to ensure that all of the relevant facts and considerations are taken into account in the sentencing process. Against that background, I have considered what, if any, relevance was possessed by the history of the previous abduction and rape of the young woman in New South Wales who it appears almost certainly would have been murdered, had she not escaped. You are not here charged with any offence relating to that occurrence. Accordingly, I have taken it into account only in the assessment of the nature of the relationship between your companion and yourself and your preparedness to engage in abduction and rape when you must be taken to have understood that it would be likely to lead to murder. In other words, that history and indeed the actions to which you are a party leading up to the murders before this court provide the framework within which they were committed and the motive for the commission of these horrendous crimes.


  83. As you undoubtedly appreciate, murder is, for practical purposes, the most serious offence known to our law. It almost trivialises your conduct to state that what you did to each of these young girls constitutes a serious example of that crime. You took their lives for no better reason than to avoid detection and prosecution for a series of vile acts committed against them. Those who engage in such behaviour must anticipate that the courts will impose sentences reflecting the just retribution of an outraged society which is concerned to ensure as far as possible that everyone in this community is free to walk in safety, and that with reference to your case, predators are dissuaded from attacking vulnerable young people who, confident in the security of their family, social and physical environment, sometimes, by reason of their youth, do not perceive danger.


  84. Your counsel have conceded on your behalf that even when all factors which operate in favour of mitigation of penalty are taken into account, the appropriate sentence on each count must be one of imprisonment for life. This concession was not only realistic in the circumstances but also was intimately linked to their argument that recognition of the matters which are advanced on your behalf should result in the fixing of a non-parole period or minimum term, and the reduction of that period.


  85. In support of these submissions, reliance was placed upon four considerations. First, it was said that you are a young person with a quite low IQ who had fallen under the influence of an older individual of much stronger personality. As I have indicated, there may well be some substance to this assessment of your relationship with your companion particularly in view of the evidence of Dr Walton and the report of Mr Healy. However, it hardly provides an adequate and certainly not a complete explanation of your preparedness to act as you personally did. Nevertheless, I have taken it into account in your favour. Your age is, of course, an important consideration to which regard must be had in the exercise of sentencing discretion.


  86. Second, your counsel argued that some insight into your conduct may be gained when your personal background is taken into account, and that you exhibit the alienation and personality sometimes found in those who have been abused as children, as I am prepared to accept that you have been. As it is possible that this could be the case and could bear together with your youth upon your prospects of eventual rehabilitation, I have also had regard to that factor.


  87. Third, your counsel pointed out that you pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and have expressed remorse for your actions. I have had regard to those factors, giving you the benefit of the doubt about the genuineness of your expression of remorse but consider that they can assume only limited significance in the present context.


  88. Finally, you have undertaken to give evidence against your companion who you assert was a party to the two murders. Were it not for the presence of this factor, I considered that it is highly unlikely that I would have even contemplated the fixing of a minimum term in your case. There are some occasions, as the courts have recognized, where even in the case of a person your age and background, the elements of denunciation, retribution and general deterrence must predominate over rehabilitation as sentencing considerations. Your situation appears to me to fall within this category. However, when the further possibility is included that there may be, if your version is subsequently proved to be true, another person who participated in these murders, your preparedness to give evidence of what could be a vital character against that person, I consider that the interest of justice require a reassessment of the balance.


  89. It is, of course, obvious that, within the process of deciding what the interests of justice require in a given situation, very considerable care must be exercised. As I have earlier pointed out, the court must make appropriate responses to the criminal conduct of those who are presented before them. Further, they must be alive to the possibility that in order to reduce their own perceived responsibilities for a crime or to mitigate the penalty to which they are likely to be subject, or for some other purpose of their own, individuals may be prepared to give false or inaccurate witness against others.


  90. It is a regrettable reality that it is sometimes necessary for the courts and the community which they represent to overcome their extreme distaste in rewarding, as it were, by an effective reduction of the penalty imposed upon a person such as you in order to advance another but very important community interest.


  91. In your case, if what you have asserted is proved to be correct, the community interest to be so advanced would be the prosecution of another double murderer.


  92. I have found the achievement of that balance extremely difficult indeed. But in the event I have concluded that the combined force of all the considerations and particularly the last require that a minimum term be fixed so that at some time you may be released.


  93. However, I have also concluded that that day, in view of what you have done, must be far in the future. You are sentenced on count 1 to imprisonment for life. You are sentenced on count 2 to imprisonment for life. Those sentences are, of their nature, to be served concurrently. I fix a period during which you will not be eligible for parole of 35 years.


  94. I declare that the period of 279 days which you have undergone as pre-sentence detention be calculated as having been served under the sentences hereby imposed and I direct that the fact that I have had regard in the fixing of a minimum term to the undertaking which you gave before this court with respect to the giving of evidence be entered in the records of the court.



home last updates contact