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Book details
  • Genre:TRUE CRIME
  • SubGenre:Murder / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:134
  • eBook ISBN:9780987539526

The Gatton Murders

A True Story of Lust, Vengeance and Vile Retribution

by Stephanie Bennett

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The Gatton Murders is a vivid and detailed analysis of the most baffling crime of colonial Queensland. Three charming children of a well respected family in the farming community of Gatton west of Brisbane were hideously bashed and killed and the young women raped. What was the motive? Who could do such a thing, and why were the Murphy parents so secretive? Stephanie Bennett takes us into Colonial Gatton and we examine the lives of the victims, family and suspects in this true tale that until now has remained unsolved, and proceeds to unearth the truth behind the Gatton Murders.

In The Killer with 300 Names, the fascinating sequel to The Gatton Murders, Stephanie looks at the events leading up to this horrific crime and reveals the motive and the killer and accomplices.


BOXING DAY, 1898. Three members of the Murphy family - Michael, Ellen and Norah — are returning to the family farm after a trip in to Gatton, a small town west of Brisbane. On a deserted, moonlit road a few miles out of town they are ambushed. Their horse is killed and the three young people are taken to a remote paddock where the women are brutally raped and bludgeoned to death, and Michael is shot. By the time the police arrived the following day, locals had swarmed all over the crime scene, obliterating the evidence. What followed was a hopelessly bungled investigation and the crime remained unsolved. Fear and mistrust rocked the farming community, and theories about the perpetrator abounded. Was this the work of a sex-crazed tramp? Could a member of the Murphy family have been involved, or was revenge the motive? Stephanie Bennett's detailed examination of this baffling crime brings a new and disturbing theory to the surface. The result is a chilling and challenging whodunit. Stephanie Bennett has spent many years scouring the available archival material, interviewing relatives of suspects and victims and visiting far flung areas of Queensland to give this account of the motives and suspects of this, Queensland’s most infamous unsolved murder.

The Killer with 300 Names is the sequel to this book and examines in depth the events leading up to this horrific crime, including the tumultuous shearers' strike, and gives a plausible motive as well as the likely killer, a man with 300 names.

About the author

Stephanie Bennett is an Australian author and writer of two published books about unsolved colonial murders : The Gatton Murders, and The Murder of Nellie Duffy. A retired dentist, Stephanie has spent over 30 years delving into the murky past of Australia’s colonial outposts; through painstaking and scholarly research of the historical records, by visiting locations and by talking to surviving relatives of victims and suspects. The result has been enthralling accounts of the crimes, an authentic feeling of life in remote Australia of Colonial times, and most importantly, credible suspects for the atrocities. Stephanie has been the subject of many magazine articles and radio shows, she has spoken widely to clubs and historical societies, she is the subject of two television specials and is probably the foremost expert on the Gatton Murders.