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Michael Anthony GUIDER





Number of victims: 1
Characteristics: Rape - Child molester - The victim's body has never been found
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: August 19, 1986
Date of arrest: February 22, 2001
Date of birth: October 20, 1950
Victim profile: Samantha Knight (female, 9)
Method of murder: Poisoning (drug overdose)
Location: Sydney, Australia
Status: Sentenced to 12–17 years in prison for manslaughter on August 28, 2002

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Michael Guider is an Australian pedophile who has been imprisoned on charges of pedophilia and manslaughter.

Early life

Michael Guider was born on 20 October 1950, in the city of Melbourne, Victoria. He and his mother moved to Sydney in 1952. His mother had an unstable relationship with an army cook who was an alcoholic. A brother, Tim, was born in 1953.

The two boys spent time in institutions because their mother was unstable and unable to look after them. In the 1970s, Guider was charged with various offences after setting fire to a shop owned by a woman he had had a relationship with.

Guider had worked as a gardener over the years and also had developed a keen interest in Aboriginal culture and sites around Sydney. He had even earned some respect as an amateur expert on the subject and his material had been used and acknowledged in at least one published book.


By late 1995, Guider had been arrested on charges of child molesting. In September, 1996, he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment on sixty charges of offences against children. His usual modus operandi had been to babysit the children of women he knew and knock them out with the sleeping drug Normasin. He would then molest and photograph them while they were asleep.

Samantha Knight

Guider eventually attracted the attention of police who were investigating the disappearance of a nine year-old girl named Samantha Knight. The latter had disappeared from her home in the Sydney suburb of Bondi on 19th August, 1986.

She had never been found, but police had reasons to turn their attention to the convicted pedophile Michael Guider. After a lengthy investigation, he was arrested and charged with Samantha's murder on 22 February, 2001.

On 7 June 2001, he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Samantha Knight. He claimed that he had drugged her the way he had always drugged his victims, but that he had accidentally given her an overdose that killed her. On 28 August, 2002, he was sentenced to 12–17 years for manslaughter. Samantha's body has never been found; Guider said he could not remember what he did with the body. He showed no remorse.

Guider was placed in conditions of strict protection in Goulburn prison.


Little Girl Lost

The case of Samantha Knight’s disappearance happened when I was a little girl. It was almost a ghost story about “stranger danger”.  Samantha had disappeared after buying a toothbrush on August 9, 1986 at the age of nine.

The pictures of Samantha in a floppy hat looking off into the distance were plastered all over Sydney, in the hope that someone may have seen her, to no avail. All that remained was an image of Samantha frozen in time, as the little girl lost.  

Every year on the anniversary of Samantha’s disappearance, a story in the newspaper was printed. Just a reminder of a mother’s vigilance in finding her daughter. It was obvious after such a long time that something bad had happened to that little girl, there was someone out there who knew, who walked past the posters of her face, who knew what had happened to little Sam.

Ten years later one of Samantha’s friends went to police, she had finally plucked up the courage to tell them about her babysitter, someone who may be involved in Samantha’s disappearance.  Yet it would be another six years before a man was found guilty of her murder.

Michael Guider

Michael Anthony Guider was born on October 20 1950. According to his story he blamed his later paedophilia on being sexually abused as a child. He claims to be have been abused by his mother, a family friend and later by a stranger for money. He also claimed to have been raped by other boys at a home for delinquents.

The family friend who abused Guider as a child would take the boy on outings where he drugged and sexually abuse the boy. The method proved successful for the abuser and later Guider would himself use drugs in years to come to subdue his victims.

Guider soon became the abuser, sexually assaulting many of the younger boys, as had been done to him.

As an adult Guider was a true paedophilic predator. Guider would take children from the neighbourhood to his house where he would drug them with the sedative Normison. Once the victim was asleep, Guider would abuse them, taking photos of the children in various stages of undress.  

Yet the abuse went completely unreported, many of the children unaware of their abuse, having been unconscious when the assaults had taken place. Guider was able to continue the abuse without reprimand. Guider was a popular man, many people trusted him with their children, and he baby sat many of the kids from the neighbourhood. Little did the residents of beachside Bondi know that they had a predator in their midst.

The Pieces Come Together

It was not until 1996 that two seven year old girls told their parents about Guider abusing them and taking photos during the assaults. It was the first time that any suspicion were made of the friendly man.

The police were called and a search was made of Guider’s residence in early February, 1996. A mountain of child pornography, photos and children’s underwear was found in a shed. On February 6, 1996 Guider was arrested and confessed to sexually assaulting the two young girls. He also went on further to name many of the children in the photos, but vehemently denied having sexually abused any of them.

As the investigation and questioning continued, Samantha’s name came up and Guider claimed to have met the girl twice in 1986 before her disappearance.  He also claimed to have once kept a scrapbook of news clippings on her abduction and that also that of the mysterious disappearance of the Beaumont Children in early 1966. He said he had thrown it away years earlier.

The police investigation concluded in court on September 12, 1996 with Guider being charged with the sixty offences regarding sexual abuse of nine little girls and two boys over a fifteen year period. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison with a minimum sentence of 10 years.

Now that police had the paedophile behind bars, they pursued further evidence on their suspect, searching a rented unit in Girraween in 1998. The scrapbook on Samantha Knight was found in the search along with photographs of two friend of Samantha’s. One slide found was to be that of Samantha, naked with her genitals exposed.

Police interviewed the now 22-year-old victims about the abuse 12 years earlier at the hands of Guider; they were unaware of the actions of their babysitter until shown the photographs of their naked prepubescent bodies. Guider was handed two more concurrent sentences of 6 ½ years for each of the two victims.

Now the pieces were beginning to fall into place.

Samantha and Guider

Michael Guider had met Tess and Samantha in 1983 at a birthday party for one of the victims. He appeared to be a friendly and polite man, and Samantha had often visited Guider in the company of her friend. During the visits Guider would give the girls a drink of Coca Cola, laced with the sedative Normison. Once the girls were sufficiently sedated Guider would strip off their clothes and take photos of them as he abused them. The abuse occurred during visits in 1984 and 1985.

The Taking of Innocence

Samantha and her mother Tess moved to Bondi in 1986.  Samantha had a regular routine after school when her mother was still at work, she would come home change out of her school uniform and play with friends until around 6pm.

On August 19, 1986 Samantha’s afternoon began as it normally would. She arrived home from school and changed clothes. She headed back out to find her friends, but instead she found Michael Guider. The man smiled at her and the two of them began chatting. He offered her a lift to see her friends and she accepted. Instead, Guider returned to his house, where Samantha had been on many previous occasions. The man made a story up about a few of her girlfriends being on their way over to his house.  Guider offered Samantha a can of Coke, that had been laced with Normison. Samantha happily took the beverage and drank it all.

In no time she had lapsed into a deep sleep. However this time something went wrong. Guider had given the young girl too much and she died from the overdose.

Guider claims that he buried her body in the salt bushes in Cooper Park.  He then returned later, dug up Samantha’s body and threw it into a dumpster near Royal Yacht Squadron at Kirribilli where he was working. Her remains have never been found and in his final confession to police he tried to explain why:

“I never physically harmed the girl, I intended to take her home, it’s a very sad thing. It caught me by surprise that the drug had any effect like that. Naturally I panicked, I went into a, I knew I was in trouble …[I] tried to find some way out of the problem, disposing of the evidence I guess. I’ve blanked all of this out of my mind. I can’t be much more specific. A few years ago I might have been able to... but since then I’ve suffered a horrendous bashing on the head with an iron bar…”

The Years Go By

When Samantha did not come home that evening by 6pm, her mother began to worry she went for a walk down to the local shops and found that Samantha had bought a toothbrush that afternoon, and had continued on her way. The last sighting was at 5.30pm, when she had been seen in the company of a man, no doubt it was Guider.

Soon posters of Samantha were seen all over Sydney, asking people if they had seen her. We all hoped that she would be found alive and well. There were news reports of her being abducted and raised as someone else’s daughter. Yet all the stories were in vain. By the time she was reported missing she was already dead.

The years continued, until finally on February 22, 2001 Guider, while in prison for the other paedophile charges, was charged with Samantha’s murder. The man had told another cellmate that he had drugged Samantha and she had died accidentally, it was the break that police were after. The task force into the disappearance had a mountain of circumstantial evidence, but nothing concrete, until the prison cell confession.

Yet when confronted with the confession, Guider claimed he had not made any such admission. Police decided to take a different course of action. They made a deal with Tim Guider.

Tim Guider

Tim Guider is the younger brother of Michael and was in prison for planning a robbery with a weapon. He had been sentenced to less than ten years in prison and had served two-thirds of his sentenced when he made a deal with police. If he was able to get his older brother to plead guilty to Samantha’s murder he would be pardoned from his own prison sentence.

Tim talked to his brother about his involvement in Samantha’s death and overtime the older brother admitted his guilt. Yet Guider refused to plead guilty to Samantha’s murder, he continued to claim that it was in fact an accident, he had drugged the young girl with sedatives and she had not woken back up. After consulting with the prosecutors of the case, Tim talked further with his brother asking him to plead guilty to an alternative charge of manslaughter. 

Final Justice

Guider agreed and confessed to police, telling them how he had accidentally killed her, however he refused to say where the body was, perhaps hiding the forensic evidence her body may provide.

Finally, on September 6, 2002 seventeen years after Samantha death, her killer was brought to justice.  Guider was sentenced to seventeen years for the manslaughter of Samantha Knight. With an eligibility for parole in June 2014 he will be 64 years old.


My brother, my confessor - the darkest secret

The Sydney Morning Herald

August 31 2002

It took Tim Guider to draw the confession out of his brother - that he had killed Samantha Knight. "I knew he would open up to me," he tells Neil Mercer.

It's a classic family snap. There they are, the brothers Tim and Michael Guider, side by side, at that wonderful age of innocence and adventure, where the sand is always white and the skies seem permanently blue.

It was 1962, and looking at those cheeky faces who could have predicted what was to come - the tragedy, the heartbreak, the horrendous crime.

Fast-forward 40 years, to early April, and once again Tim and Michael Guider are side by side, but this time the smiles and funny faces have long faded. Tears are flowing.

They are sitting on a veranda in the legal visits area of Silverwater jail, where Michael, by now notorious, is awaiting his committal hearing on a charge of murdering nine-year-old Samantha Knight in 1986. He's already serving 16 years for sexually assaulting other children in the '80s and '90s. As it happens, Tim is also in jail, doing 10 years for conspiring to rob a bank.

That day he'd been brought from Long Bay jail on a compassionate visit, but it was a meeting that occurred with the full knowledge and support of the crown prosecutor in the case, Paul Conlon, and the police leading the investigation, Neil Tuckerman and Darren Sly.

Although Michael had been charged with murder, he was pleading his innocence, stonewalling any inquiries to do with Samantha. While the prosecution had a brief, it could hardly be described as strong.

The prosecutors and police were looking for a breakthrough, for someone to unlock some of the terrible secrets in Michael Guider's mind. His younger brother, Tim, now 48, would prove to be the key. It had been tried once before, by the secretive NSW Crime Commission, which arranged a couple of years ago for Tim and Michael to meet in its Kent Street offices. Nothing came of it, with Michael holding up a piece of paper saying "this room is bugged' the moment his brother entered the room. This time things would prove to be different.

Paul Conlon had met Tim in jail around February as a matter of routine after the defence said it wanted him called as a witness at the committal. The two men started to talk.

Tim Guider told the Herald this week how he had offered to help - but on his own terms. There would be no listening devices, no subterfuge. He would neither gather nor give evidence against his brother.

"I was in a unique position ... if he was guilty of the crime and he was going to open up to anybody, I knew he would open up to me. The only thing I could ever offer them [the prosecution] was 'let me talk to him. I can almost guarantee if he's guilty, he will come to you and tell you that'."

And so the visits started, with Tim escorted from Long Bay to see his big brother in Silverwater.

"He didn't know I was coming, but he was glad to see me. I made it clear to him that I had refused to be of any assistance in terms of providing evidence.

"I also let him know my position on the crime [the killing of Samantha]. It was heinous, putrid ... he was a bit pissed off that I thought he was guilty."

Their talk lasted about five hours, but the second visit was longer, and proved crucial to Michael eventually pleading guilty to manslaughter.

(His story is that he accidentally gave Samantha an overdose of the sedative Normison, the drug he used to stupefy his victims.)

The brothers, for the first time in their lives, discussed what had happened at Melrose Boys' Home, where they had been abandoned by their parents in 1963, the year after the photo published today was taken.

Versions vary as to just what family life was like. Tim insists there was no sexual abuse in the home. "She gambled, he drank the money away," he said of his mother and father. "They were not bad parents as such. Both showed a lot of affection."

What is not in dispute is that the marriage crumbled and the brothers were sent to the boys' home.

"Our parents put us in there saying it was a temporary situation, but they didn't come back. They forgot to come back. I was nine years old, the same age as Samantha. Michael was 12."

It was while they were in the home that the brothers, along with others boys, were sexually abused.

Tim describes the man who molested them as well-spoken, perhaps English, with white hair and a pencil-thin moustache. He walked with a cane. He would take the boys out "sightseeing" but then book into a city hotel, drug their drink, usually a glass of milk, and molest them.

It was something Michael had never spoken of; when finally confronted this year in Silverwater, he burst into tears.

"His voice went into this high pitch like a kid's voice and I was just looking at this 52-year-old man weeping about his own childhood trauma," Tim said.

He wasn't sympathetic.

"I didn't feel in the least bit sorry for him, because there he was weeping about his own trauma when I didn't see the same response for his victims ... He had become my worst nightmare, and that is how I put it to him."

Tim says the sexual abuse is no excuse for what happened to Samantha. "I don't want people to see it as an excuse for what's been done. It's an insight into how Michael was created into the monster he became."

It was during that second visit, after he opened up about some of his own personal demons, that Michael started talking about pleading guilty to accidentally killing Samantha.

The two police officers, Neil Tuckerman and Darren Sly, went to talk to him themselves and, finally, a plea of manslaughter was entered.

Throughout the whole process, Tess Knight, Samantha's mother, was kept fully informed, including about Tim Guider's role.

Paul Conlon said yesterday: "We believe that his contact with Michael in prison, and the trust that had been built up between them over many years, was instrumental in Michael ultimately admitting he was responsible for Samantha's killing."

For his part, Tim Guider received a pardon, having served five years. He is still visiting his brother. He's trying to get work and make up for lost time with his partner and his child, who this year turned nine.


The deadly silence that doomed Samantha

The Sydney Morning Herald

June 8 2002

Samantha Knight's killer finally came clean yesterday but Philip Cornford reveals how the predator was allowed to roam free for 10 years.

A month before Michael Guider killed nine-year-old Samantha Knight, her best friend had told her own mother that he was a sexual predator. But her mother did not go to the police.

It was at the woman's house in Raglan Street, Manly, that Guider sexually abused her daughter, Samantha and another young girl from 1984 to 1986.

Her daughter, then aged 8, told her in July 1986 how Guider had played a game he called statues, which involved her sitting absolutely still while he exposed his penis and touched her genitalia.

Yet the woman maintained her silence even after Samantha vanished from a Bondi street on August 19 the same year, feared murdered, last seen in the company of a man.

The woman came to Sydney to comfort Samantha's frantic mother, Tess Knight, then aged 28 and a friend. But even while police and citizens searched for Samantha, she did not tell Ms Knight or detectives about Guider, who had been her free babysitter.

Had she passed on the information told to her by her daughter, Guider would probably have been arrested. Instead, he remained free and continued to assault children for 10 years until his arrest in 1996.

Yesterday, Guider, 51, his greying beard flowing over his chest and his hair over his shoulders, pleaded guilty in Supreme Court to manslaughter. He had originally pleaded not guilty to murdering Samantha.

He faces a maximum a 25 years' jail when he is sentenced on August 23. He already is serving 16 years for sexual offences against children and was due for release, with parole remissions, in 2006.

A statement of facts says Guider intended to sedate Samantha so that he could sexually molest her, but accidentally gave her a fatal overdose of Normison.

Guider claims he buried Samantha in Cooper Park at Woollahra, but dug up her body 18 months later when workmen came close to her grave.

He says he put her remains in a dump bin on a construction site at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron at Kirribilli, where he was a gardener. Waste from the site went into landfills.

If this account is true, there is virtually no chance that Samantha's remains will be recovered and given a proper burial, the dearest wish of her parents, Ms Knight and Peter O'Meagher.

"Guider is the only person who knows where Sam is," Mr O'Meagher said. "We've got to bury her. We really just want that." Ms Knight said: "There is no reason why he can't tell us where Sam is. I think I would like to know a little bit more about what happened."

But Guider is unlikely to give police more information until he is sentenced, fearing he might still be charged with murder.

Police had no idea Guider was Samantha's killer when they arrested him in February 1996 after two mothers said he had sexually molested their two young daughters.

Investigators found thousands of pornographic slides which Guider had taken of his victims. They identified nine girls and two boys aged between two and 16, molested over 10 years.

Confronted with this evidence, Guider pleaded guilty to 60 charges of sexually abusing and drugging minors. But he admitted offences only against those children already identified and refused to give information about any other victims.

Guider told investigators that he did not select his child victims but targeted their mothers, who were lonely single parents, many of them drug-addicted. He met them at the methadone clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital, where he was a gardener from 1989.

"Every day I picked up my methadone, he was there," the mother of one victim told police. He had encouraged her to go out while he baby-sat her five-year-old daughter, telling her: "You haven't been out in a while." He always had his camera.

Guider, who told prison psychologists he was sexually abused by his mother and later at a boys' home, was contemptuous of the mothers.

One said Guider told him that "in some cases the parents found out what he was up to and their reactions varied ... they were not often extreme and damning of him". To them he was just a free babysitter.

Guider told a psychologist about another mother. "She was bad. I was screwing her two kids and she asked me to do it to her after I'd been doing it to them."

But it was not until 1998 that detectives from Strike Force Harrisville, who had reopened the investigation into Samantha's disappearance, began to focus on Guider.

In September detectives found thousands of photographs that Guider had concealed in a storage facility at Girraween.

They identified a photograph of Samantha and two young friends and traced them to Manly Public School and then to Raglan Street, where one of Samantha's friends lived.

She had met her friends while her mother lived with a partner at Manly, and continued to visit on weekends after Ms Knight ended the relationship and moved to the eastern suburbs.

Among Guider's collection were pornographic photos he had taken of Samantha's two friends while babysitting them at Raglan Street in 1984. He was a friend of the mother of Samantha's classmate. There were pornographic photos of another young girl who police were certain was Samantha, but they were unable to prove it.

There were other, innocent photographs showing all three girls together in Raglan Street.

They located one of the girls, now a young woman, in Queensland in December 1998. She told them that Guider had sexually assaulted her at least five times when she was aged between seven and eight and staying overnight at Raglan Street. Often, Samantha had been there too.

The woman described how Guider played hide-and-seek with the three young girls. They hid in different rooms and he would find one of them and sexually assault her. This continued until he had found and sexually assaulted all three.

On another night she had been invited by her friend's mother to stay over at Raglan Street. Her friend wasn't there, but Guider was.

The mother left and Guider took her to the mother's bedroom, sat her on the bed, she said. He had molested her for about 20 minutes and taken photographs. "Every time I was at [Raglan Street] and Michael was there, he sexually assaulted me."

But police ran into a hurdle with the woman who owned the Raglan Street house. Neither she nor her daughter, then aged 21, wanted to talk to police.

Eventually police subpoened them to appear in July 1999 before the NSW Crime Commission, the state's most draconian interrogatory body.

They were shown and identified the pornographic photographs taken by Guider. Even then, they were reluctant to talk about him.

The daughter was the first witness. She gave evidence about the statues game. She said that after they moved to Yamba, on the North Coast, she told her mother about Guider. She was eight at the time.

"I can't recall how specific I was with details," she said. "My mother asked me if I wanted to go back to Sydney to fight the matter and I said I didn't. After that time, I didn't want to talk about Guider."

The mother was brought to the crime commission 10 days later. She revealed that her daughter told her in July 1996 - the month before Samantha disappeared, when they were living in Yamba - that Guider had molested her at Raglan Street.

"[her daughter] told me around this time about a game called statues that Guider played with her," she said. "I asked her about whether she wanted to discuss the matter further. We both decided to put it behind us."

Police sent a brief of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions recommending that Guider be charged with Samantha's murder.

While awaiting a decision, they charged him with sexually molesting Samantha's two friends.

Once again, Guider pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 6 years' jail. However, much of it was to be concurrent with the term he was serving, and it added only six months to his total sentence.

By pleading guilty to sexually assaulting her friends, Guider avoided being examined about Samantha, and he did not have to confront his victims.

That ended in April. Charged with murdering Samantha, Guider pleaded not guilty. Four young women who had been his victims as children, two of them Samantha's friends, gave evidence at the committal hearing.

Not once did Guider look in their direction. While they testified, he sat with his head bowed, staring at the floor, a shrunken man.

In court, the mother denied that Samantha had ever stayed overnight at Raglan Street or that Guider had been left alone with her daughter or her friends.

But her evidence was contradicted by her then boyfriend and a couple who lived at Raglan Street who testified that Guider babysat Samantha and her two friends while the mother and her friend went out.

But the most telling contradiction came from the young woman who had willingly helped detectives. Samantha was there, she said. They all were. And Guider sexually assaulted them.


Sam's killer 'linked to other child deaths'

John Kidman Police Reporter

The Sydney Morning Herald

November 26, 2006

IT took Denise Hofman nearly two years to convince senior police that Michael Guider was one of Australia's most notorious child killers.

Now the mother-of-five says they are refusing to consider her concerns that Guider, who killed nine-year-old Samantha Knight, may have murdered other children.

Mrs Hofman, 58, has revealed that a set of scrapbooks once kept by Guider contain newspaper cuttings about the unsolved abduction and homicide of five-year-old Renee Aitken on the state's South Coast in 1984.

Other circumstantial details potentially link the 55-year-old pedophile to the disappearance, she said.

However, senior police insist that without more evidence they can't take the matter further.

None will allow Mrs Hofman access to the scrapbooks, which they say are filed in the force's investigative archives.

Nor are they willing to examine the exhibits or discuss their contents with her, she said.

Mrs Hofman, who learnt of the scrapbooks' existence through the Guider investigation, now wonders whether at least some of the clippings have been lost.

"I'm getting the same sort of responses from the police that I did when I was trying to tell them about Samantha," Mrs Hofman said.

"They're not answering the questions I'm putting to them. They're refusing to produce the scrapbooks and they're saying at a very high level that they don't even need to go and look at them for themselves."

Guider, 55, was sentenced to 12 years' jail in August 2002 for Samantha's manslaughter, thus closing the book on a 16-year mystery. He could be released as early as 2014.

But his conviction would never have happened without Mrs Hofman's determination to expose her former friend as a suspect and then go under cover to help prove his guilt.

Mrs Hofman and Guider met in 1993 via a mutual interest in Sydney's Aboriginal rock sites but three years later she was shocked to learn that Guider, who worked closely with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, was in jail awaiting trial over child sex allegations.

When a colleague confided to her that Guider had been obsessed with Samantha and helped search for her when she disappeared, Mrs Hofman decided to act.

Bondi police would not meet her, so she decided to visit Guider in prison and did so more than a dozen times before anyone would believe her story.

At one stage, she was told to walk away because Guider was simply not a suspect.

Mrs Hofman said Guider's police photograph was privately identified by a key witness in the Renee Aitken case.

She said a poem Guider sent her from jail also confirmed that he was working in the Canberra suburb of Red Hill, just two hours from Renee's Narooma home, around the time she was snatched.

A letter Mrs Hofman received from police two weeks ago said: "The [police] followed up the issues you raised in your representations and [are] satisfied that, unless further evidence is forthcoming, there are no additional avenues of investigation that can be legitimately pursued.

"I understand that you feel strongly about this issue; however, I must reiterate that, without further evidence, NSW Police is unable to take the matter further."

Former NSW Police consultant and serial crime authority Richard Basham said it was easy enough for police to question specifics "but the general issues being raised about this guy are more difficult to deal with because the police know what the actual chances are of him being a 'one-off' offender".

"Essentially any crime against a stranger needs to be regarded as part of a series until proven otherwise."

Dr Basham agreed that the mere fact Guider was already behind bars was not enough to dismiss whatever else he might have done.

"The parents [of other potential victims] certainly deserve better," he said.

Mrs Hofman believes the scrapbooks feature cuttings on other missing child cases as well.

While Guider's age would all but rule out any direct connection, she knows they include the 1966 disappearance of the three Beaumont children in Adelaide.

"Even tracking Michael's whereabouts over the past 20 years through the NSW National Parks and Wildlife registry would have to be be worthwhile, and very easily done," Mrs Hofman said.

"Wherever he was, the days, the dates, the sites, all of it, it's there in the register but it is something the police have never looked at."

- Samantha Knight walked out of her mother's Bondi flat on August 19, 1986, and never returned. For the next 16 years, her disappearance would be considered one of the nation's most baffling and disturbing crimes. A neighbour was the last person to see her alive when she waved to the pretty nine-year-old in Bondi Road. Samantha had earlier visited her nearby Imperial Avenue home to change out of her school clothes and fix something to eat. Knowing her mother was to return from an art class at 6pm, she then decided to walk down to a local pharmacy to buy a toothbrush.

- Michael Anthony Guider was 35 when he abducted Samantha in Bondi's Wellington Street. For the previous three years he had secretly drugged and abused her but it was not until 2002 that he confessed to her manslaughter, claiming to have accidentally given her a fatal overdose of the sedative Normison. Guider was already serving 16 years' jail following his conviction in 1996 for the sexual assault and drugging of 11 other children aged two to 16. Even so, he refused to talk about Samantha's death or say where he had left her body. Former prisoners told police Guider may have buried her in an eastern suburbs park before exhuming the remains and dumping them in a construction site bin.

- February 16 will mark 23 years since little Renee Aitken's bewildering disappearance and suspected murder. Exhaustive search efforts failed to find a trace of the five-year-old, snatched from her Narooma bedroom in 1984. Various sightings of her over time have all proved false, including an American woman's bizarre claim to being the adult Renee. A computer-generated likeness of what a 22-year-old Renee might look like, which was circulated in 2001, also failed to produce a lead. Hope of a breakthrough then emerged the following year, when police declared interest in a man previously convicted of assaulting one of Renee's relatives. However, he died in a car smash without being questioned, just weeks before Coroner Carl Milanovich returned an open finding at inquest.



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