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Malcolm Joseph Thomas CLARKE

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: June 19, 1980 / December 21, 1982
Date of arrest: June 2002 (20 years later)
Date of birth: January 16, 1955
Victims profile: Theresa Verity Crowe, 22 / Bonny Clarke, 6
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Status: Sentenced to life in prison, wth a minimum 25 years, on December 31, 2004
 
 
 
 
 
 

Name: Malcolm Joseph Thomas Clarke

Age: 51yrs old
D.O.B. - 16-1-1955

State: VIC- Melbourne

Sentence: Found guilty 16-6-2004 in VIC Supreme Court. Sentenced to life in jail/ 25yrs non parole.

Offence/Other: Found guilty of murdering 6yr old girl (Bonny Clarke-not related to the offender), in her bedroom. Raped/suffocated and stabbed his young victim in Northcote (Melbourne) in 1982. Was arrested in 2002 for Bonny's murder. Clarke is also been investigated for other unsolved sex attacks. Volunteered as a guard on "Puffing Billy" tourist train (1994-2002).

Mako.org.au

 
 

A Killer's Life

  • BORN - January 6, 1955.

  • 1979 - Meets Theresa Verity Crowe.

  • JUNE 19, 1980 - Kills Ms Crowe, 22, in her flat after proposing hours earlier.

  • JANUARY 1982 - Begins boarding with Marion Clarke and her daughter Bonny, in their Northcote home.

  • DECEMBER 21, 1982 - Kills Bonny, 6, in her bed.

  • AUGUST 1983 - Rapes a neighbour in her Brunswick home, threatens to harm her five-year-old daughter.

  • SEPTEMBER 1983 - Clarke charged with murder after police investigating the Brunswick rape link him to Ms Crowe's killing.

  • FEBRUARY 29, 1984 - Coroner finds Bonny Clark was killed by an unknown assailant.

  • JULY 23, 1984 - Clarke found guilty of the manslaughter of Theresa Crowe.

  • DECEMBER 13, 1984 - Clarke convicted of rape, sentenced to a minimum 11 years' jail.

  • 1992 - Clarke released.

  • FEBRUARY 2001 - Police begin reinvestigating Bonny Clarke's murder.

  • JUNE 6, 2002 - Clarke confesses to Bonny's murder, but later pleads not guilty.

  • JUNE 17, 2004 - A Supreme Court Jury convicts Clarke of Bonny's murder.

  • DECEMBER 31, 2004 - Clarke is sentenced to life in prison, wth a minimum 25 years.

 
 

Bonny Clarke Killer Jailed For Life

AAP

December 31, 2004

The man who murdered a six-year-old girl in her bed 22 years ago has been sentenced to life in jail, with no prospect of parole for at least 25 years, in the Victorian Supreme Court today.

Malcolm Joseph Thomas Clarke, 49, was found guilty in June by a Supreme Court jury of murdering Bonny Clarke (no relation) in her Westbourne Grove, Northcote home on December 20, 1982.

She was sexually assaulted, smothered with a pillow and stabbed in the chest. Her mother Marion Wishart found her the next morning. Ms Wishart was the lead suspect in the murder until the homicide squad cold case unit reinvestigated in 2001.

Clarke, then 28, had been a boarder at the house in Melbourne's north months before the murder.

The court was told Clarke admitted the crime to undercover detectives in June 2001, saying he was heavily intoxicated when he murdered Bonny. He made further admissions in a formal homicide squad interview later the same day, but has since claimed he was innocent and that the statements made earlier were false, the court heard.

In 1984, Clarke was convicted of the manslaughter of a 22-year-old woman in June 1980, and the stabbing and rape of a woman in Brunswick in August 1983. In sentencing Clarke, Justice Murray Kellam described him as a "serious, violent sexual offender" who concealed his "evil and monstrous crime" against Bonny Clarke for 20 years.

"Those who commit outrageous crimes against children must know that no matter how long it takes before the are brought to justice they will suffer severe consequences," he said.

Clarke used his knowledge of the house to get to Bonny and said his intoxication did not prevent him from climbing the back fence and entering and leaving the house without detection, Justice Kellam said. "The murder of a young child in such circumstances is a vile crime," Justice Kellam said.

"For over two decades the matter of (Bonny's) death has certainly haunted her parents.
"In particular, her mother has had to live with the suspicion held by some police that she was guilty of the crime." Justice Kellam said he took into account Clarke's good behaviour since his release in 1992 on the earlier convictions, his age, health problems including migraines and hypertension and the "crushing effect" of a life sentence.

But he said the sentence must reflect a specific deterrent and retribution for the murder. He sentenced Clarke to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 25 years.

The sentence includes 940 days Clarke has already spent in custody. Clarke, who wore a navy blue suit and stood hunched and red-faced in the dock, showed no emotion as the sentence was passed.

Ms Wishart did not speak to journalists as she left the court. But Bonny's father Denis said he was satisfied with the sentence and that he was relieved the saga over his daughter's murder was at an end. "My oath it is," Mr Clarke told AAP. "This is the best present I've ever had."

Despite the severity of the sentence, which will keep Clarke in prison until well into his 70s, Mr Clarke said nothing could replace his daughter's life. "There's no such thing as closure," he said.

 
 

Suspect Finally Has Redemption

By Keith Moor - Herald Sun

December 31, 2004

The mother of sex murder victim Bonny Clarke has spoken for the first time about being the prime suspect for 20 years.

Marion Wishart had to live with police believing she murdered her daughter in 1982 until the real killer was caught in 2002. Her nightmare should end today with the expected sentencing of Malcolm Clarke for the murder of six-year-old Bonny (no relation). "To be accused of such a horrendous crime was awful," Mrs Wishart told the Herald Sun.

Mrs Wishart is bitter about the fact that being treated by police as the prime suspect allowed Clarke to avoid being captured for so long. While he was free Clarke raped and stabbed a female neighbour. Mrs Wishart believes Clarke probably sexually attacked other women and children in the 20 years between killing Bonny and being charged with her murder.

He worked as a volunteer on the Puffing Billy tourist train during that time and was also employed as a nursing aide in aged-care homes around Melbourne. "Sex offenders like Clarke don't just do it the once, they usually keep doing it until they are caught," Mrs Wishart said.

A Supreme Court jury in June found Clarke, 50, guilty of murdering Bonny in her Northcote home, where he was a former boarder. It was Mrs Wishart who police blamed from day one right up until Clarke became the prime suspect in 2001.

Even the fact Bonny was raped did not rule out Mrs Wishart in the minds of the original investigators, the theory being she accidentally killed her daughter and tried to throw police off the scent by using an object to rape her afterwards. The autopsy found Bonny had been penetrated by a finger or blunt object. "I had to live with being a suspect for 20 years," Mrs Wishart said. "It wasn't until Bonny's murder was re-investigated by homicide squad cold case unit Detective Tim Day in 2001 that I stopped being the prime suspect. I still have no idea why police would ever think I could do something so terrible to my own daughter.

"Wrongly accusing me of it enabled Malcolm Clarke to avoid capture for 20 years and kept him free to offend again." Clarke killed and mutilated disco dancer Theresa Crowe two years before murdering Bonny and raped and stabbed a neighbour a year after Bonny died. Sen-Det Day charged Clarke with Bonny's murder in June 2002 after a 16-month investigation.

His probe started after a childhood friend of Bonny contacted police in 1999 with her long-held suspicion that Clarke may have been the killer. "Armed with just that little piece of information, Tim Day put in the time and solved the case and for that I am eternally grateful to him and his doggedness," Mrs Wishart said.

"I appeal to anybody with any information, any suspicion, any theory -- now matter how insignificant it might seem -- to come forward and give it to police.

"Doing so might lead to an arrest and stop that person offending again." Mrs Wishart said after Bonny was raped and murdered she regularly had sleepless nights for the next 20 years about who else Bonny's attacker might be harming.

"I would wake in the middle of the night wondering who else he was doing it to. I felt so powerless to stop it," she said.

"So please, please, if you have any information that might help police catch such people, or have been attacked and not reported it, then come forward. "Clarke wasn't stopped early enough, but at least he is off the street now. The community is safe from him at last."

Mrs Wishart asked not to be photographed for this article. "I just want to sink into obscurity and get on with my life," she said. Mrs Wishart urged people with information about any crime to phone Crime Stoppers.

 
 

Cold Case- Childhood Memories Catch A Killer

Inside Crime

September 27, 2004

In 1999, Melbourne mother Kylie ward read that Victorian police were setting up a special cold cases unit. She had a particular interest in one of the unsolved crimes - in 1982 her childhood friend, six-year- old Bonnie Clarke, had been murdered in her bed. Bonnie's killer had never been found.

Kylie, who was eight at the time of her playmate's murder, thought she knew who did it. She telephoned police and explained she suspected a boarder who had lodged with Bonnie and her mother Marion in the months before the murder.

"I distinctly remember this man because he gave me the creeps," recalls Kylie.

"She [Bonnie] was very cautious of him and was always avoiding him. She told me he was really creepy and he kept looking at her".

The lodger, Mal Clarke (no relation), had moved out a few months before the murder But "drunk as a skunk", he came back on the night of December 21, 1982. Letting himself in the back door, the family dogs not barking because they knew him.

Marion Clarke, now Wishart, found her daughter dead in her bed the next morning, sexually assaulted and smothered with a pillow. There was a stab wound through the little girl's lung. The crime scene examiner said her body appeared To have been wiped down. Although police initially suspected Marion, no-one was ever charged.

Nineteen years later, Kylie Ward's suspicions about the boarder were enough for Detective Senior Constable Tim Day to delve deeper and to eventually link the same man to three murders.

"When I started going through the file, I had to immerse myself in it and try to make the links and establish who the players were - from the deceased, to the family, the friends, the boarders, to everything, and get a full appreciation of the file," Detective Senior Constable Day tells INSIDECRIME.

After going through the file, I couldn't establish how the boarder had been eliminated from the original investigation, and I couldn't establish at first who the boarder was".

Eventually, Detective Senior Constable Day discovered the name "Mal" and then finally the name "Clarke". He then began sifting through the Criminal Records Branch for all offenders with the surname Clarke - with or without "e".

He came across a Joe Clarke whose job was listed as "assistant projectionist". Joe had been jailed for the sexual assault of a mother in her home and the mutilation murder of 32- year-old dancer Theresa Verity Crowe. Tellingly Mal Clarke had also been an assistant projectionist.

Soon Detective Senior Constable Day realised that Joe and Mal Clarke were the same person. It would take another year for him to gather enough evidence before he could bring Clarke in.

On June 6,2002, Malcolm Joseph Thomas Clarke was arrested and confessed Bonnie's murder to Detective Senior Constable Day and Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles. "God knows why I went around to that place and whatever happened, it happened," he told them "And whwn I came to my senses, I realised Bonnie was deceased. I was as drunk as a Mallee bull and I shit myself. I think I might have had a knife with me".

A Supreme Court jury found Clarke guilty of Bonnie's murder in June this year. He is in jail awaiting sentence.

 
 

Life Sentence For Child Killer

By Elissa Hunt - AAP

January 1, 2005

A wait for justice spanning more than 20 years has ended for the parents of murdered schoolgirl Bonny Clarke.

Fair-haired Bonny, aged six, was raped, suffocated and stabbed in her bed just four days before Christmas in 1982 inside her Northcote home. Convicted killer Malcolm Clarke, 50, who was not related to Bonny but had been a boarder at her family home, was yesterday jailed for life for the sex murder.

He must serve at least 25 years before being eligible for parole.

Bonny's father, Denis Clarke, and her mother Marion Wishart who suffered the added torment of remaining a suspect in her child's horrific death for almost 20 years were in court yesterday to see their daughter's murderer sentenced.

Justice Murray Kellam of the Supreme Court said society needed to be kept safe from Malcolm Clarke and a life sentence was the only appropriate term to reflect the horror of the crime and the need for protection, retribution and punishment.

He said Clarke remained a serious danger to the community, had shown no remorse and had now been proven responsible for three sexual attacks, two of which resulted in the deaths of female victims.

Clarke had already killed another young woman, Theresa Crowe, when be brutally attacked Bonny. He then went on to rape a neighbour before being arrested and jailed in 1984.

But Bonny's murder remained unsolved despite Clarke's links to the house and his convictions for the manslaughter of Theresa Crowe and for the rape.

Bonny's mother Marion remained the prime suspect in the minds of some police until the case was reopened by Sen-Det Tim Day, from the homicide squad's cold case unit, in 2001.

A long-running undercover operation saw clarke confess twice to killing Bonny, claiming he was drunk and panicked, smothering her with a pillow when she tried to scream during the sexual assault. But after his arrest in June 2002. Clarke changed his tune and denied murdering Bonny.

The jury did not believe his claims that his confessions were false and in June they convicted him of murder.

Yesterday, Justice Kellam said he took into account in Clarke's favour that he had made efforts to lead a better life since being paroled in 1992 an that was the key factor in setting a minimal 25-year term that would allow him the possibility for rehabilitation.

But Clarke had always blamed alcohol for his crimes and never acknowledged his deviancy, and the horror of the Crowe killing did not deter him from going on to murder Bonny and rape another woman.

Justice Kellam said child killers should be severely punished no matter how much time has passed since their crime, describing Bonny's murder as "monstrous conduct kept secret for many years".

Clarke showed no emotion as he was sentenced.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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