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William Patrick MITCHELL

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


The Greenough Family Massacre
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Necrophilia
Number of victims: 4
Date of murder: February 21, 1993
Date of arrest: 5 weeks after
Date of birth: 1971
Victims profile: Karen MacKenzie, 31, and her three children, Daniel 16, Amara, 7, & Katrina, 5
Method of murder: Beating with an axe
Location: Greenough, Western Australia, Australia
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to four consecutive terms of life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 20 years in 1993
 
 
 
 
 
 
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The Greenough Family Massacre refers to the axe murders of Karen MacKenzie, 31, and her three children, Daniel 16, Amara, 7, & Katrina, 5, at their remote rural property in Greenough, Western Australia, 400 km north of Perth, on 21 February 1993, by William Patrick Mitchell, (Bill Mitchell).

Investigation

Police and forensics scoured the murder scene collecting evidence but it would be a frustrating five weeks before they finally arrested farm hand Bill Mitchell, a friend of Karen MacKenzie.

Apparently, Mitchell had been spending the day getting high on a mixture of cannabis, alcohol and amphetamines. The first sign of trouble began with the sound of a car arriving at Karen MacKenzie's house. Daniel went out to see who it was and was confronted by Mitchell. Mitchell, wielding an axe, killed Daniel and headed for the house. There he found Karen asleep in the lounge room. After attacking her with an axe and killing her, he raped her. Amara and Katrina were fast asleep in their bedrooms, oblivious to the mayhem outside, when Mitchell turned his attention on them.

Trial

According to Crime Investigation Australia, a judge ruled that the exact way in which Daniel, Amara and Katrina were killed to be sealed. In fact the crime has been called "One of the worst crimes in Western Australia" and details of the murders were withheld from the public as they were deemed too gruesome and horrific. The case was so heinous that "cries for the return of the death penalty could be heard echoing around the State".

Mitchell pleaded guilty to four counts of willful murder, and four of sexual assault. A hand lotion used by the killer was a key piece of evidence used to catch the killer. Mitchell was convicted of the murders in 1995 at the age of 24 and sentenced to four consecutive terms of life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 20 years.

Due to the public outcry at the sentence, a Crown appeal ordered his non-parole period revoked. Despite a series of Supreme and High Court appeals (including a ruling that Mitchell never be released) another appeal overturned that decision and reinstated his 20-year non-parole period. If a current review of his non-parole period is unsuccessful, he will be eligible for parole in 2013.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

Greenough Family Massacre

One of the worst crimes in Western Australia

On February the 21st, 1993, the small community of Greenough was rocked by a horrific tragedy, which became known as the Greenough Family Massacre. Karen MacKenzie and her three children were hacked to death by an axe wielding murderer, William Patrick Mitchell. The crime was one of the worst ever seen in the state and has left a lasting scar on the community.

Even today the Greenough Massacre haunts the small community of Greenough and the City of Geraldton. It is hard to drive passed the small hamlet without thinking of the unbelievable tragedy that unfolded more than a decade ago. No one was prepared for the horrors that awaited the police on that February day in 1993. In fact the details of the murders were so gruesome that the evidence was withheld from the public as it was deemed far too horrific. The case was so heinous that cries for the return of the death penalty could be heard echoing around the State.

What Happened

The first sign of trouble began with the sound of a car arriving at Karen MacKenzie's house. It was William Patrick Mitchell, a one time friend of Karen MacKenzie whom she had recently rejected. Mitchell had been spending his day getting high on a mixture of cannabis, alcohol and amphetamines. Karen's sixteen year old son, Daniel, went out to see who it was and was confronted by Mitchell. Mitchell, wielding an axe, killed Daniel and headed for the house. There he found Karen asleep in the lounge room. After taking to her with an axe and killing her, he then raped her. Karen's two daughters, Amara (7)and Katrina (5), were fast asleep in their bedrooms oblivious to the mayhem outside, when Mitchell turned his attention on them. The details of the girls murders were deemed too horrific to be made public.

Catching the Killer

Police and forensics scoured the murder scene collecting evidence but it would be a frustrating five weeks before they finally arrested farm hand Bill Mitchell. When he was brought in for questioning he denied knowledge of the crime. It was only after he attempted to hurt himself and was taken to hospital did he finally confess. A key piece of evidence that linked Mitchell to the crime was the hand lotion used by the killer. Despite denials from the police and family, a psychic, known as Gabrielle, claims she assisted in the investigation and accurately profiled the killer and even gave his name and address. Gabrielle claims she met a leading detective involved in the case on at least 5 occasions in Victoria Park and gave him vital information, including info about a fingerprint that police had missed, leading to a return of forensics to the scene.

Aftermath

William Patrick Mitchell was originally sentenced to 20 years in jail but due to such a public outcry a Crown appeal saw him his sentence increased to the term of his natural life . Despite a series of Supreme and High Court appeals (including a ruling that Mitchell never be released) another appeal overturned that decision and reinstated his eligibility for parole. He shall be eligible for parole in 2013.

In October of 2007 the mother of Karen Mackenzie, Barbara Marchant, received a threatening letter she believed came from an associate of William Patrick Mitchell. The letter read "Found you bitch. Had someone look for you. Got a photo of your little girl - short hair, white shirt and a little skirt. Nice. See you when I get out." Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk confirmed that the letter had not been sent from the maximum security Casuarina Prison where Mitchell was being held but could not rule out that he got someone else to write and send it.

Since the beginning of 2009, Mitchell has been held at Bunbury Prison under medium security.

WestAustralianVista.com

 
 

Greenough massacre still haunts WA police

WAtoday.com.au

June 6, 2013

Detectives who captured the man responsible for the Greenough family massacre more than 20 years ago are still haunted by the horrific crime, West Australian Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan says.

William Patrick Mitchell will be up for release from prison later this year, as the state's parole board considers whether he has served enough time for the 1993 murders of 31-year-old Karen MacKenzie and her three children; Daniel, 16, Amara, seven, and Katrina, five.

A childhood friend of Amara has begun a petition urging authorities to keep Mitchell in jail, which local MP Ian Blayney has said he will present to parliament.

Mr O'Callaghan said he was sure police would have a say on Mitchell's potential freedom.

That would include whether they believed he could be adequately managed in the community.

"It was a very horrific crime, and the parole board will no doubt be considering this," Mr O'Callaghan told Fairfax Radio.

"We would make representations and no doubt, if he was given parole, there would be an offender management process to go through after his release.

"We would have to be certain we could manage that."

The four family members were hacked to death with an axe by Mitchell, who was known to Mrs MacKenzie, with the details of the crime so gruesome parts of them were sealed by a judge.

Mr O'Callaghan said police were confronted by the scene at Greenough, near Geraldton.

"Psychologically it affected many of the investigators who went there, and some of them have not gone back to investigating that type of crime," he said.

Mitchell was transferred to medium security at Bunbury Regional Prison in 2009 and will become eligible for parole from October 13.

 
 

Keep the monster in prison says sister of murder victim Karen MacKenzie

Yasmine Phillips - The Sunday Times

February 02, 2013

GREENOUGH axe killer William Mitchell has told relatives of the family-of-four he murdered that he wants to be released on parole, which will be considered later this year.

But the sister of murder victim Karen MacKenzie has vowed to fight "with every breath in my body" to keep Mitchell, considered WA's worst sex killer, behind bars.

Mitchell, who pleaded guilty to the wilful murder with an axe of Ms MacKenzie, 31, and her children Danny, 16, Amara, 7, and Katrina, 5, at their home near Greenough, south of Geraldton, in February 1993, will be eligible for parole later this year.

Today, just days from the 20th anniversary of the death of her only sister and the three children, Evalyn Clow reveals the chilling moments after Mitchell agreed to a jail visit in 2010.

"I asked him if he ever hoped to get out on parole and he said, 'I'd be lying if I told you I didn't'," she said.

"And I said, 'Well, just so long as you know that as long as I'm alive with every breath in my body, I'm going to do everything I can to keep you in jail'.

"And he said he could understand that."

Mrs Clow, who hopes to have talks with Attorney-General Michael Mischin about the parole hearing, received a letter last week notifying her that Mitchell would be eligible for a statutory review of his sentence in September.

She said she feared Mitchell, considered a "model prisoner", was being prepared for release into the community ever since he was transferred to Bunbury Regional Prison, a medium security jail, in 2009.

"He was supposed to be in strict-security imprisonment for 20 years," she said.

"If he gets out, he's got the rest of his life. He will only be 44. That's still plenty young enough to have everything that he stole from my sister, from my nephew, from my nieces."

Mitchell had interfered with Ms MacKenzie's body and sexually assaulted Amara during a frenzied attack, fuelled by a cocktail of drugs. Details of the slaying of the children were deemed too horrific to be made public.

In April 1994, a Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that Mitchell would go to jail and never be released, but that ruling was overturned in March 1996 and he was deemed to be eligible for parole this year.

Mr Mischin, who said he would be happy to talk to Mrs Clow, said he would consider the Prisoner Review Board's recommendation, but it was "not due to review Mitchell's situation until October".

"For legal reasons, it would be inappropriate and dangerous for me to commit to any decision before receiving and considering the board's report," he said.

"His Honour, Justice Owen, when sentencing Mitchell, remarked that, 'So far as I am concerned you will never be released . . . if the (Parole) board looks at it in the same way as I do it could be many, many years greater than 20 before you would merit consideration'.

"I will give due weight to those observations when it comes time for me to consider his case."

 
 

'Throw away the prison keys'

Nicole Cox - The Sunday Times

May 18, 2007

FAMILY of a woman and three children hacked to death in the notorious Greenough massacre have pleaded that the depraved sex killer never be released from jail.

Fourteen years after her daughter and three grandchildren were murdered by an axe-wielding murderer, Barbara Marchant, 63, has issued a heartfelt appeal for authorities ``to throw away the key'' so she can live out the rest of her days without the worry that he may one day be freed.

Karen MacKenzie, 31, and her three children were violently murdered at their home in Greenough, a historic hamlet near Geraldton, on February 21, 1993.

An emotional Mrs Marchant this week told The Sunday Times that the loss was no easier to comprehend 14 years after it happened.

Speaking from her home on Brisbane's outskirts, Mrs Marchant said she was still haunted by graphic detail of the attacks and she worried incessantly that one day the perpetrator would be freed.

"Fourteen years on and I'm still angry,'' Mrs Marchant said. "My life is spent always wondering (if he'll be released)."

"We have no proof that he's not going to be let out... For all we know he could walk out and could kill someone else and I would hate for somebody to have to go through what we went through.''

Ms MacKenzie's son Daniel, 16, was killed when he walked outside the house to investigate a car arriving. Just minutes later Ms MacKenzie was murdered and raped as she slept on a mattress on the lounge room floor.

Little Amara, 7, and Katrina, 5, were slain while they slept in separate bedrooms.

In 1993, William Patrick Mitchell, then 24, pleaded guilty to four counts of wilful murder, three of indecently interfering with a woman's corpse and one of sexually assaulting Amara.

The court heard that Mitchell was high on a cocktail of cannabis, alcohol and amphetamines when he killed the family.

At the time, Justice Neville Owen ruled that details of the slayings of the children were too horrendous to be made public. He sentenced Mitchell to strict security life imprisonment with eligibility for parole after 20 years.

Despite a series of Supreme and High Court appeals -- including a ruling that Mitchell never be released -- another appeal overturned that decision and reinstated his eligibility for parole.

Mrs Marchant said she was incensed by the sentence.

"You only have to turn on the news and see that somebody has murdered one person has got 35 years. One person is worth 35 years and three children and their mother is only worth five years a piece if they let him out,'' she said.

"Where's the sense in our laws?

"The things (Mitchell) did were beyond belief.

" feel so much hatred. Why kill two helpless little girls and do what he did to her? And do the same thing to my daughter -- she was dead, for Christ's sake. Why would you want to rape a dead body?

"The man has to be sick. He has to stay in jail. God forbid if he comes out when he is 44. He's got plenty of time to do it to somebody else, hasn't he? And it frightens me, the thought of that.''

Mrs Marchant said her family had suffered emotionally and physically, with her youngest son still seeing a psychiatrist for post traumatic stress.

She said she found it hard to allow her other grandchildren freedom.

"Sometimes I think I'm overprotective, I worry so. You don't know whether you should let them go out in the street,'' she said.

"You have to be so careful, there are so many rotten things happening in the world. Children disappearing, children killed. I don't know what our world has come to.''

 

 

 
 
 
 
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