Sydney writer and journalist, Libby-Jane Charleston, delves into the dark and disturbing lives of Australia’s deadliest women, in Fatal Females: 13 Cases That Gripped A Nation.
Stranger than fiction, Fatal Females takes the reader on a chilling journey through a gallery of deadly women whose crimes shocked Australia.
First up is Keli Lane, the Australian water polo player who cunningly hid multiple pregnancies and births from friends, family and even her boyfriends. Her first and third children were legally adopted out. But whatever happened to her second child, baby Tegan?
The Collie Killers
Why did two teens from a West Australian country town strangle their fifteen-year-old friend after a night of partying? ‘For some reason we decided to kill her.’
Love on the Run
Prison officer Heather Parker fell in love with an inmate and helped him break out of jail. What followed was a literal and metaphorical car crash.
Who could believe that a shy Russian-born librarian was capable of hijacking a helicopter and managing the most reckless prison escape in Australian history? The tale of Lucy Dudko is more than a story of sheer guts, bad behaviour and misadventure; it’s about the extremes to which a person can go in the name of love.
A Family Curse
Kathleen Folbigg’s babies died tragically in their cots one after the other … but it wasn’t until the death of her fourth child, seemingly too old to die from SIDS, that police launched an investigation, sparking a debate about her guilt or innocence that still divides the experts.
Bright Young Things
It was supposed to be a murder-suicide but law student Anu Singh got cold feet and, instead, killed her unsuspecting boyfriend and blamed it on a psychotic episode.
Aphrodite of Adelaide
Unassuming Adelaide mother Michelle Burgess had an affair with her husband’s boss, then hired a hit man to kill her husband and her lover’s wife. But she ended up having an affair with the hit man, plus the hit man’s friend, leaving a trail of broken hearts as well as a callous murder.
A Dangerous Liaison
Tania Herman choked her lover’s wife and put her, barely alive, in her car boot. But Herman claimed her lover had put her up to the murder – the classic ‘love made me do it’ defence.
The Wicked Stepmother
Elisa Baker killed her disabled stepdaughter and staged a kidnapping to cover it up, writing a ransom note and leading police on a wild goose chase. Her motivation for killing the child was so pointless, even the sentencing judge could not contain his tears.
The Rockefeller File
Bernadette Denny and her partner were involved in the killing of Melbourne millionaire Herman Rockefeller, who came to their home for some ‘swinging action’. But was she just an innocent bystander?
From Gossip to the Gallows
Elizabeth Woolcock was the only woman ever executed in South Australia. Her crime? Poisoning her husband. But was an innocent woman sent to the hangman’s noose?
The Lesbian Vampire Murder
It was a brutal murder that saw twenty-threeyear-old Tracey Wigginton labelled the Lesbian Vampire, sparking a media frenzy that kicked Desert Storm off the front pages. But the real story had nothing to do with blood sucking.
The Black Knight
Katherine Knight is Australia’s answer to Hannibal Lecter, but most people have never heard her name. Why? Media editors decided on a surprisingly soft approach, agreeing that her gruesome crime was not the sort of thing anybody wanted to read about over breakfast.
From the meek Russian librarian Lucy Dudko, to suburban sex goddess Michelle Burgess, Katherine Knight, and Keli Lane, Fatal Females proves that when it comes to murder, a woman can be just as vicious, heartless and unforgiving, as a man.
Fatal Females: 13 Cases That Gripped A Nation by Libby-Jane Charleston, is published by Hardie Grant Books (RRP $24.95).
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