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A.K.A.: "The Tasmanian Devil"
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Took an axe and cut off his offending right hand
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: June 26, 1997
Date of birth: 1944
Victims profile: His four daughters, Rebecca, 18; Anna, 14; Sara, 12, and Georgiana, 9
Method of murder: Cutting their throats
Location: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day

Peter Shoobridge was a quiet, wealthy man - a published poet who restored antiques and lived a gentile life on an idyllic country estate.

But one Sunday, Peter Shoobridge turned into a man who would be called the "Tasmanian Devil" in the local press in the following days.

In the quiet pre dawn hours, Shoobridge slit the throats of his four daughters and left them to die gurgling in a pool of their own blood. Then he chopped off his own hand with an axe and blew his brains out.

He was, however, considerate enough to summon the police to clean up the mess.

Shoobridge even mailed explanations for his shocking deed to relatives before offing himself.

No one expected 52-year-old Shoobridge, the son of a wealthy farming family and an accomplished poet, to be the next Tasmaniac. He had no history of mental illness, he gave no clues that he was planning the quadruple murder and his own mutilation and suicide.

"He was a hard working bloke, who didn't smoke or drink, and he lived by himself. This is just unreal," said neighbor Kevin Nykiel.

But the deed was clearly a well planned orchestration of utter despair.

Shoobridge methodically cut the jugulars of his four daughters - aged 9, 12, 14 and 18 - as they lay sleeping in their beds at Southernfield, a mansion shaded by gum trees and grape vines about 9 miles north of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania.

Only the eldest daughter awoke in time to offer resistance, but her crazed father paid no heed. When found she had slash marks across both hands, a mark I'm sure most of you would know means defense wounds.

He then drove to nearby Cambridge, the closest town, and mailed letters to relatives relating that he did not want his girls to continue living in this "troubled world."

Upon returning home, Shoobridge called police emergency services and reported a murder suicide at his own address. He then went out to his furniture restoration workshop and chopped his right hand off. No-one really knows why the fuck he did this, but the most popular theory is that he was feeling guilty about what that hand had done to his daughters. It seems a pretty fuckin stupid thing to do to me. Anyway after chopping his hand off, he must have had a moment of clarity and realized that he was well fucked once the cops got there. So he picked up his .22 caliber rifle, with his right hand i would reckon, and blew his brains around the backyard.

Police are still baffled as to why Shoobridge went berserk, but they suspect a recent separation from his wife Wendy -- who retained the custody of his daughters -- had something to do with the massacre. And I'm sure it took them ages to figure that one out :-)


Shoobridge dedicated his 1992 book of poetry, "A Bush Wedding," to "my ever caring and supportive wife and four beautiful daughters, who provide all the beauty a human being could ever wish to have."

Shoobridge's father is a well know nutcase on a little island off the coast of Tasmania. It's called Bruny Island, and his nickname is the "Bruny Island Bomber." This is because of his love for the Essendon Bombers Football Team.

He has made his own coffin, which he proudly shows anyone who visits him, and has requested that when he dies he must have his head facing toward Windy Hill, the home of the Essendon Football Club.

Some friends of mine who run a local bookshop, in fact it's the place I purchased my first ever true crime book all those years ago, remember Shoobridge coming in every now and then to try and sell them copies of his poems.

According to them he was a real nut. And his poetry was shit. They took five copies and never sold one. He ended up having to take them back.

And on the morning following Shoobridge's little family slaughter we got a picture of his body on the front page of the local paper (the only time I can remember this happening ever). It was from a distance, but was still quite clearly his corpse. No mean feat this one.

The Wacky World of Murder



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