Leonard John Fraser also
known as "The Rockhampton Rapist" (June 27, 1951 – January 1,
2007) was an Australian convicted serial killer.
Fraser was born in Ingham, Queensland.
He was jailed for the abduction and
murder of nine-year-old Rockhampton girl Keyra Steinhardt in 1999. He
had previously served a period in jail for rape. He was subsequently
charged with four murders. Police found many trophies of his victims in
his flat and ponytails from three different women, which could not be
traced to any of his known victims.
One alleged victim, however,
Natasha Ryan, was eventually found to be alive and living secretly with
her boyfriend after being missing for five years.
In 2003, he was sentenced to three
indefinite prison terms for the murders of Beverley Leggo and Sylvia
Benedetti, and the manslaughter of Julie Turner in the Rockhampton area
in 1998 and 1999.
At his trial, the judge described
him as a sexual predator who was a danger to the community and his
Fraser was being held at the
Wolston Correctional Centre and, after complaining of chest pains, he
was taken to a secure section of the Princess Alexandra Hospital in
Woolloongabba, on December 26, 2006, where he subsequently died of a
heart attack on January 1, 2007.
Fraser's murders are the focus of
the Crime Investigation Australia series 2 episode The Predator:
Leonard John Fraser.
Serial killer death
January 11, 2007
THE Queensland Coroner
has conducted a routine investigation into the death of serial killer
Leonard John Fraser, but the results have not been released. Fraser, who
was serving three indefinite jail terms, died on January 1 after
suffering a heart attack in a secure unit at Brisbane's Princess
The 55-year-old murderer had been transferred there
on Boxing Day after complaining of chest pains while in his jail cell. A
spokeswoman for the state coroner said that as Fraser had died in
custody, it was defined under the Coroner's Act as a reportable death,
and as such it had been subject to a routine investigation. It is
unknown whether Fraser's family has now formally requested the coroner
to release Fraser's body for burial.
In 2003, a Supreme Court jury
convicted Fraser for the murders of Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and Beverly Leggo, 36, as well as the manslaughter of Julie Turner, 39. Fraser had
already been given an indefinite sentence for the rape and murder of
nine-year-old schoolgirl Keyra Steinhardt in April 1999.
took place in the central Queensland city of Rockhampton between
December 1998 and April 1999. Crime experts say more murders were likely
to be linked to Fraser, including the death of hitchhiker Sandy Lawrence
in an abandoned crocodile zoo in north Queensland.
Fraser also allegedly
spoke of the murder of a 17-year-old girl whose throat he had cut in a
Kings Cross street in the early 1970s and of murdering two women
hitchhikers in separate incidents in NSW also in the 1970s. He was
charged with murdering teenager Natasha Ryan, who later made headlines
when she was found alive during his murder trial.
'likely to have killed more'
January 2, 2007
Brutal Queensland serial
killer Leonard John Fraser probably took the secrets of several unsolved
murders to his grave, says a leading criminologist.
Fraser, who was serving three indefinite jail terms, died early on
Monday after suffering a heart attack in a secure unit at Brisbane's
Princess Alexandra Hospital. He had been transferred there on Boxing Day
after complaining of chest pains while in his cell at the Wolston
Correctional Centre on the city's outskirts.
In 2003, a Supreme Court
jury convicted Fraser for the murders of Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and
Beverly Leggo, 36, as well as the manslaughter of Julie Turner, 39.
Fraser was already serving an indefinite sentence for the rape and
murder of nine-year-old schoolgirl Keyra Steinhardt in April 1999.
the killings took place at Rockhampton, in central Queensland, between
December 1998 and April 1999. But Bond University professor of
criminology and forensic psychology Paul Wilson says more murders were
likely to be linked to Fraser. "He was somebody who clearly revelled in
or loved killing and also demonstrating how much of a killer he was,"
Prof Wilson said. "We know that from the fact that he talked to the
informer police had in prison with him for so long." It was likely, he
said, that Fraser was responsible for more murders of women but police
would have a difficult time solving them now. "It's very unlikely he has
been caught for all the murders he has committed," Prof Wilson said.
Asked if Fraser was Queensland's worst killer, he said: "I can't think
of a worse one. "He certainly displayed all the characteristics of a
Keyra Steinhardt's father, Blair Crewther, told
ABC Radio that Fraser's death had brought some closure. "I'm actually
rather glad that he's now gone," Mr Crewther said. "I think it's now
actually going to let me get on with my life. It's been an emotional
roller-coaster ride for the last seven years and I think it's finally
time to get off." The Courier-Mail newspaper has reported Fraser had
claimed to have murdered hitchhiker Sandy Lawrence in an abandoned
crocodile zoo in north Queensland. Detectives spent days digging up the
grounds but found no remains.
Fraser also allegedly spoke of the murder
of a 17-year-old girl whose throat he had cut in a Kings Cross Street in
the early 1970s and of murdering two women hitchhikers in separate
incidents in NSW in the 1970s. Some Rockhampton detectives also believe
he had a hand in the murder of 21-year-old Rockhampton woman Michelle
Coral Lewis who disappeared on January 14, 1989.
But Fraser's lawyer
Peter Shields said his client maintained his innocence until the end. He
said the system failed his client, who was initially jailed in the 1970s
for rape and then released without psychiatric support. "What use is
there in putting people in jail if they're not going to be treated?" he
said. Fraser was also charged with murdering teenager Natasha Ryan who
later made headlines when she was found alive during his murder trial.
killer's death lets victim's dad move on
January 2, 2007
The father of a murdered
central Queensland schoolgirl says the death of her killer will help
give him some closure. Leonard John Fraser died in a Brisbane hospital
yesterday after suffering a heart attack on Boxing Day.
He was serving
indefinite prison terms over the deaths of Rockhampton's Keyra
Steinhardt, 9, and three local women in the late 1990s.
Blair Crewther, says he has no sympathy for Fraser. "Basically a new
start for a new year, it feels right," he said. "I've had a lot of
people say that they would like to have actually seen him be in jail a
lot longer, for the rest of his natural life," he said. "I'm actually
rather glad that he's now gone. I think it's now actually going to let
me get on with my life. It's been an emotional roller coaster ride for
the last seven years and I think it's finally time to get off."
lawyer says he maintained his innocence until the end. Peter Shields
says the system failed his client, who was initially jailed in the 1970s
for rape and released without psychiatric support. "What use is there in
putting people in jail if they're not going to be treated?" he said.
"There needs to be another system invoked if it be a hospital, but we
really need to look at what we're actually doing to persons when we put
them in prison because they're not coming out better people."
Meanwhile, Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow says Fraser's death will not ease the
pain felt by his victim's families. Councillor Strelow says there is
little reason for anyone to celebrate his death. "There's probably a
sense of closure for some people, but the suffering that Len Fraser
caused is going to go on for a very long time," she said. "He was
already incarcerated, I'm not going to rejoice over the death of anyone,
however much pain he caused, but certainly it's going to mean that a lot
of that pain will be brought back fresh again to family and loved ones."
serial killer dies in hospital
January 1, 2007
QUEENSLAND'S first and
most notorious convicted serial killer has died in a Brisbane hospital
after suffering a heart attack in his cell. Leonard John Fraser, 55, was
first given an indefinite life sentence for the rape and murder of
nine-year-old schoolgirl Keyra Steinhardt.
Fraser grabbed the girl off
the street as she walked to school in April 1999. In 2003 he was also
convicted of the murders of Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and Beverly Leggo, 36,
and the manslaughter of Julie Turner, 39.
The jury heard that Fraser
showed police where Ms Turner's remains were but that they could not
find her head. It heard that Ms Leggo had been strangled with her bra
and underpants. All were killed in Rockhampton between December 1998 and
Fraser was sentenced to another three indefinite life terms.
He had also had been charged with the murder of teenager Natasha Ryan
but that was dropped when she sensationally emerged from hiding during
Queensland Corrective Services said Fraser died after having
a cardiac arrest about 3.20am yesterday at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra
Hospital. He was taken there on Boxing Day after having chest pains at
the Wolston Correctional Centre. "I don't think there will be a great
deal of sympathy for him," Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said
yesterday. "His crimes were horrific and, while no one likes to see
someone pass away, I don't think there will be a lot of grieving over
his passing. I don't think anyone will be shedding any tears."
Corrective Services spokeswoman said police would investigate the death
as standard procedure and the coroner would decide whether an inquest
Secrets Taken To Grave
January 1, 2007
SERIAL killer Leonard John Fraser may have taken the
truth about the deaths of up to five women to his grave.
Fraser, 55, who was serving four indefinite life
sentences for killing three Rockhampton women and a schoolgirl, died in
his sleep after going into a cardiac arrest in the secure unit at
Princess Alexandra Hospital on New Year's Eve.
The convicted serial rapist had been admitted a week
ago after suffering a heart attack in his cell at Brisbane's Wolston
While there was no confession before his death at 4am
yesterday, Fraser has previously claimed he murdered up to five other
women during his criminal career, which spanned 30 years and two states.
He made the claims to a prisoner turned police
informant and a homicide detective during a 2001 investigation by
Taskforce Alex into the disappearances of four Rockhampton women.
At the time of the investigation, Fraser was serving
an indefinite life sentence for the 1999 murder of Rockhampton
schoolgirl Keyra Steinhardt, 9.
Fraser claimed he murdered a hitchhiker by the name
of Sandy Lawrence in an abandoned crocodile zoo in north Queensland in
Fraser also spoke of the murder of his 17-year-old
Aboriginal girlfriend, claiming she had her throat cut in the back
streets of Kings Cross in the early 1970s.
The taskforce recorded Fraser on a listening device
saying he murdered two female hitchhikers in separate incidents in the
Port Macquarie area in NSW in the 1970s.
He said he had returned to the area to find their
skeletal remains still intact.
Some detectives remain convinced that Fraser had a
hand in the murder of Rockhampton woman Michelle Coral Lewis, 21, who
disappeared on the night of January 14, 1989, after leaving a friend's
home in north Rockhampton.
Fraser, who was in "secure custody" at a Rockhampton
jail at the time, was known to frequent the area and had buried his pet
dog, which he killed after having sex with it, on the road where she
Taskforce Alex investigated the claims but could not
find enough evidence.
Chief Superintendent Graham Rynders, who headed
Taskforce Alex, said he hoped Fraser's death would bring closure to the
families of his victims.
"It is the end of a very sad chapter of Queensland's
criminal history and hopefully one that will never be repeated," he
Another mystery that may go unsolved surrounds three
ponytails of human hair found in Fraser's bedroom when he was arrested
for the Steinhardt murder.
Forensic testing in Australia and the US failed to
match the hair to any of his murder victims or missing persons in
Police suspect Fraser had kept them as trophies.
In 2003, he became Queensland's first convicted
serial killer when a jury found him guilty of murdering Rockhampton
women Beverley Leggo, 36, and Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and the manslaughter
of Julie Turner, 39.
He also had been charged with murdering teenager
Natasha Ryan, who later made headlines when she was found alive during
Fraser's murder trial.
Paula Doneman is also the author of Fraser's
unofficial biography Things a Killer Would Know.
Bid lost to overturn his
Serial killer Leonard
Fraser has lost a bid to overturn his convictions for a four month
killing spree in Queensland.
The 51-year-old, whose trial captured world headlines when one of his
four alleged victims turned up alive, will remain in jail indefinitely.
Fraser was found guilty by a Brisbane Supreme Court jury last April of
murdering Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and Beverly Leggo, 36, and of the
manslaughter of Julie Turner, 39, in Rockhampton between December 1998
and early April 1999.
He was sentenced to three indefinite jail terms.
Queensland's Court of Appeal dismissed Fraser's application to overturn
the convictions on the grounds he was not given a fair trial.
Fraser's trial last year was thrown into disarray after Rockhampton
teenager Natasha RYAN was found hiding in a cupboard.
Fraser had also been charged with her murder.
The teenager, who has since reunited with her family but faces charges
of causing a false investigation, was discovered living with her
boyfriend Scott Black.
The discovery led to calls for Fraser's trial to be aborted. Fraser was
convicted of two counts of murder and one of manslaughter after evidence
from his prison "buddy" Alan Quinn about jailhouse confessions.
Quinn had convinced Fraser to show police where he dumped his victims'
Justice De Jersey and Justices Geoffrey Davies and Ken Mackenzie
rejected Fraser's argument that the jury should not have been told of
his previous conviction for murdering Keyra Steinhart.
Fraser guilty verdict
Kim Landers - Abc.net.au
After one of the most sensational
murder trials in Australian history, Leonard John Fraser has been found
guilty of killing three women in the Rockhampton area in 1998 and 1999.
Fraser is already serving a life sentence for the murder of school girl
Keyra Steinhardt. The Supreme Court jury found Fraser guilty of
murdering Sylvia Benedetti and Beverly Leggo and of the manslaughter of
Julie Turner. He'd been charged with murdering another girl, Natasha
Ryan, but that was dropped when she was found alive, in hiding for
nearly five years.