I felt an overwhelming sadness looking at the beautiful face of Sarah Cafferkey. Bearing an uncanny resemblance, in its light, beauty and openness, to the other young Melbourne woman, Jill Meagher, who also lost her life as a result of a senseless and thuggish attack. Can anybody tell me why?

How can we ever explain this? Photo: Herald Sun

Sarah Cafferkey was all of 22 years of age. She’ll never even know how it feels to celebrate her 30th birthday. As her mother, Noelle Dickson said in a statement this morning.

“I’m just thinking about my poor little girl. She’s all I ever had and now he’s taken her and I’m never going to be able to see her again, she won’t get married, she won’t have anything now. This is my little girl ... I don’t have any more and nobody deserves this. She had her whole life ahead of her.”

The hopelessness of this situation is made even more unbearable by the fact that it’s only been two months since Meagher’s brutal and tragic death – yet here we are again. Another death, another police investigation, another young life completely destroyed. 

Jill Meagher’s death inspired a national outpouring of grief. We walked to reclaim the night. We told each other to up the ante on personal safety, or at least we argued about it. But this week’s events really make me wonder - does any of it really matter?

It’s becoming quite clear that there is almost nothing we can do to prevent these horrific crimes because there will always be people who commit them. They are people driven by personal demons, anger, or just sheer self-absorption to commit the most reckless, inhuman and callous and cowardly of all acts.

There’s a fantastic essay by Helen Garner in the most recent edition of The Monthly that recounts her own discussion as she sat talking in a pub with a friend, about Jill Meagher’s death. “Does a bloke like that think?” Garner asks her friend about Jill Meagher’s alleged killer, Adrian Ernest Bayley.

It’s a hauntingly simple question, but it encapsulates the senselessness of these deaths, especially today as we mourn the loss of Sarah Cafferkey’s life. And it’s quite clear that the answer is a resounding and unequivocal, no.

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

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118 comments

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    • Levi says:

      09:39am | 21/11/12

      I thought she was 22? I wonder if she knew the guy was a convicted murderer? Either way not that I’m casting judgement but I don’t really know too many 22 year old girls who hang out with guys in their 40’s unless its for money or the sense of danger and adventure.

    • jaz says:

      11:06am | 21/11/12

      Just because you say ’ Not that I’m casting judgment ’ dose not mean that your stupid comment is not judgemental.

    • Gregg says:

      11:23am | 21/11/12

      I read where it was something he had put on her facebook page that led to her meeting him.
      If so, maybe she had no idea of his age or background.
      I would not be too judgemental on her without knowing the facts.

    • Kika says:

      11:32am | 21/11/12

      She had him on her FB. That did seem odd.

    • Philosopher says:

      11:36am | 21/11/12

      great, here they come: those who genuinely loathe women, or hold them in contempt. They typically surface only for this sort of sympathetic article, like slugs after rain.

    • PJ says:

      11:38am | 21/11/12

      I don’t think she was hanging out with him.

      Sounds more like he was grooming her on Facebook.

      Personally, I’m for a bit of compassion.

      I hate crime against women and children and would quite happily support the death penalty for the worst crimes against these members of of society, who should be safe.

    • Bane says:

      11:42am | 21/11/12

      Should the penalty for hanging out with a convicted killer, deemed safe to be release into society be death?

    • Gregg says:

      11:58am | 21/11/12

      @Kika
      ” She had him on her FB. That did seem odd. “
      I have one, never actually used other than to see who might think I ought to be a friend.
      But does not having a FB account allow anyone to make a comment on your page? and it is up to you whether you accept it or not, allow them in so to speak? and respond.

      If so, some people could come across as being nothing like what they actually are, even using a photograph not of them etc. , trawling for victims!

    • Levi says:

      12:19pm | 21/11/12

      Au contraire Philosopher. Women are great. If you have a problem with women you might as well say it. Or if you have a problem with my comment, then add something constructive, rather than your lame attempt construing me as a misogynist, which seems to be increasingly popular nowdays.

    • mark says:

      12:22pm | 21/11/12

      lets not jump to conclusion about how the met or why they hung out, as im sure if sarah was given the chance again, we wouldnt be talking about a tragic event.

      there is nothing in common with these 2 cases, bar the loss of a life by unnatural circumstances, by persons that were walking the streets due to our justice system being out of touch with society’s expectation of community safety.
      the separation of powers means the government is powerless to stip these soft touch judges of the responsibility of civil safety, maybe its time for the community to take matters into there own hands.

    • jaz says:

      12:27pm | 21/11/12

      @Levi
      Firstly you don’t know if she knew about his background or not, so you’re comment is assuming information and it appears that that you are digging for an excuse to blame the victim.
      Secondly even if she did know that he had a violent background she is still in no way to blame for her murder and it is absurd to allude that she was. The moron who did this is 100% culpable and to judge the victim suggests that you somehow empathise with the murderer, as if it wasn’t all his fault, as if she somehow in some way deserved it. And that makes me sick. Now you will probably say that this is not what you meant but when you call into question why she was hanging around with the murderer this is exactly what you are doing. It is irrelevant why she was hanging around this guy and it is completely out of context with the tone of this article. I don’t want to get into an argument over this sad tragic loss of life but when I read comments like yours it makes my blood boil.

    • Martin says:

      12:50pm | 21/11/12

      Everyone knows that saying “not that I’m casting judgement but” means “I’m casting judgement”. Shame on you.

    • Some_dude says:

      01:44pm | 21/11/12

      If I am to try and understand where Levi is coming from - I am guessing he is questioning why the attraction to the “bad-boy” especially if known the “bad-boy” is a convicted murderer.  That being said - the most sophisticated sociopaths such as serial killers typically are experts at social engineering and hence have charm and charisma and do not play the “bad boy” approach.  I suppose it may be a bit of case of being wary of personalities on either end of the spectrum….

    • Levi says:

      02:12pm | 21/11/12

      Jaz, I don’t really care if your blood is boiling. That is irrelevant.

      “Now you will probably say that this is not what you meant but when you call into question why she was hanging around with the murderer this is exactly what you are doing. It is irrelevant why she was hanging around this guy and it is completely out of context with the tone of this article”

      - I don’t see how you don’t get it? If you hang around with a pack of hungry lions, you might get eaten. Do you blame me or the hungry lions. Of course you would blame me, because I’m the idiot who got myself into such a risky situation.

      If you were a Jew with Nazi sympatheic neighbours in Poland circa 1939, you may have been rounded up and sent to a concentration camp. If you are a young women who hangs around with a murderer who has killed a young woman before, you may get murdered. Do you get it yet?

      Ok a few more. If you swim with sharks, you may get bitten. These sharks may or may not have killed humans or animals before, but it is a risk to swim with them nonetheless. If you drive a car on the road, there is a chance you could get in an accident and die, but you choose to accept the risk, regardless of whether you know what the driving history of the other drivers around you is.

      For example jaz, I ride motorbikes. When I pull up at a set of lights, I don’t know if the person in their car behind me is a serial drink driver or hoon, but I take steps to manage my risk constantly. If I get killed by that driver do you blame the driver or do you blame me for being on the road on a bike in the first place? Do you get where I’m going with this yet?

      I already clearly stated “I DONT KNOW IF SHE KNEW HE WAS A MURDERER”, if however she did know, she was taking a major risk and you cannot deny that.

    • Rubadubadoobag says:

      02:24pm | 21/11/12

      (1) It may be incautious to meet up with rugged tatooed 40 yr old males you meet over the internet
      (2) If he ends up killing you its 100% his fault and you in no way deserved to meet such an end.

      These two comments dont seem mutually exclusive to me and I dont know why so many people (usually women) seem to think that they are.

      (1) It may be incautious to walk around with your iPod cranked up while walking around the city.
      (2) If someone drives up on the footpath and runs you over though, its 100% his fault and you in no way deserved to meet such an end.

      Im sure the above is not nearly as controversial which leads me to believe that that the inevitable overreaction to comments like Levi’s is just an anti-misogny bandwagon.

    • astroboy says:

      02:27pm | 21/11/12

      What a ridiculous and insulting comment. Are you implying somehow she is responsible for her own murder? Trusting people is not a crime, and certainly not one punishable by death, regardless of how things turn out (that no-one would be able to predict unless they are psychic). Victim blaming is still alive and well unfortunately.

    • Levi says:

      02:30pm | 21/11/12

      Thankyou, Some_dude says:01:44pm | 21/11/12.

      I’m not “victim blaming” or whatever jaz is getting at. But you were able to sum it up more concisely than I could.

    • Philosopher says:

      02:33pm | 21/11/12

      Levi - a young woman has been stabbed to death and dumped in a wheelie bin by a man she barely knew, and you make a snide comment about her character. No wonder you’re so defensive here, because your comment was vile. Think what you want, but have the decency to keep your thoughts to yourself.

    • Levi says:

      02:46pm | 21/11/12

      Rubadubadoobag says:02:24pm | 21/11/12

      - shhh, you display far too much sense and logic for some here to understand. You shouldn’t cast pearls before swine.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      02:48pm | 21/11/12

      “Im sure the above is not nearly as controversial which leads me to believe that that the inevitable overreaction to comments like Levi’s is just an anti-misogny bandwagon.”

      And you can spot them a mile away.

      Oh look, another one: “What a ridiculous and insulting comment. Are you implying somehow she is responsible for her own murder?”

      You people need to learn how to read ffs, instead of just jumping to your obvious ‘hurr durr misogynist derp’ attacks. Levi raised valid points, use your brain and discuss them instead of losing your shit and going completely off topic.

    • Tim says:

      02:55pm | 21/11/12

      Philosopher,
      I’m pretty sure Levi and this thread were looking at the outcome here and the causes of it. The whole point of this article is that there are bad people out there and that is never going to change.

      This thread isn’t a rememberance thread to feel sad for a murdered woman and leave condolences, it’s to examine the issues of possibly why she died and what we can do to reduce the instances of it happening in the future. Levi’s comments are completely legitimate in that context.

    • Bear says:

      03:17pm | 21/11/12

      I doubt she knew but it’s weird. If you’re going to let predators out instead of jailing them for life maybe tattoo it on their foreheads!?

    • Some_dude says:

      03:19pm | 21/11/12

      Philosopher - given your moniker - I assume you are a deep, reflective and intelligent soul so therefore would appreciate your advice.  I am a father with two young daughters both under five and would like to know what advice should I give my daughters in relation to befriending convicted murders of young girls twice their age on facebook?  I get the sense from your comments that I shouldn’t provide any advice or guidance on this type of thing given raising this as a contributing factor is seen as victim blaming.

    • Sooz says:

      03:20pm | 21/11/12

      Levi, to state what I would have thought would be blatantly obvious: most 22 year olds are fairly naive and, quite fairly, don’t expect a bloke they have met once for one platonic drink in a public place in broad daylight to brutally murder them. What are you really trying to suggest and why do you feel the need to suggest it? Would you be suggesting this if the victim was your mum, sister or girlfriend? Does this poor girl deserve any further degradation to be lumped upon her and her family? She has done nothing to deserve this.

    • lucy says:

      03:26pm | 21/11/12

      Good to see a woman can’t even write a blog entry about violence against women with all the knuckle draggers coming out out their caves.

    • Philosopher says:

      03:59pm | 21/11/12

      ‘I don’t really know too many 22 year old girls who hang out with guys in their 40’s unless its for money or the sense of danger and adventure’. Tim it sounds to me like Levi is implying that Sarah C played with fire and got burnt, so she was a least guilty of being hopelessly naive. It must be fun to make up scenarios, in the absence of known facts.

    • Some_dude says:

      04:12pm | 21/11/12

      Lucy - as indicated before, I am a father of two young daughters under five - can you please provide some advice on what type of guidance I should provide my daughters in relation to this scenario.  Clearly by your comment, if I provide guidance to my beautiful girls around not befriending “a knuckledragger” who is a convicted murderer of young girls over facebook then I am also a “knuckledragger”.

    • Philosopher says:

      04:16pm | 21/11/12

      Some_dude, thanks for your good question. I wouldn’t tell your lovely girls anything, but lead by example. Lucky for your girls, I assume you are providing a rock-solid foundation for them to value decent men. Unfortunately not every one has such a foundation, through no fault of their own.

    • Some_dude says:

      04:40pm | 21/11/12

      Philosopher - thanks for your well considered response, but let’s unpack this a little further.  OK let’s say that I don’t say anything about this type of thing or provide any guidance and instead provide a good example.  Would it not then be feasible that they may unfortunately assume that they have nothing to worry about in relation to “evil” which would then place them at a greater risk of ending up in this kind of circumstance?

    • Bruno says:

      04:42pm | 21/11/12

      @jaz - but why WAS she hanging around with him?

      I think what Levi is trying to say is…..WHY THE F*** DO YOU GIRLS HANG OUT WITH F***WITS? And yes for maximum effect I am generalising, all of you, because you need to learn. Why don’t feminists write articles encouring they’re sisters to stop such a practice. You know how many I have read? zero, none.

      Its not too say its not a tragedy, poor girl, poor mother.

    • Levi says:

      04:45pm | 21/11/12

      As Admiral Ackbar suggested earlier, you can spot anti-misogynist bandwagon members a mile away, people like lucy.

    • Sooz says:

      05:03pm | 21/11/12

      Some_dude, it is entirely speculative to suggest Sarah knowingly went to meet a convicted murderer. It seems very doubtful that would be something he divulged to women he was trying to chat up on Facebook, particularly considering the ‘Lil Girl’ cutesy puppy shtick he ran with. As a father of 2 little girls under 5 it would make sense to be more concerned with teaching them that not everyone is necessarily who they seem to be than not to go on dates with ex-cons. But I’m sure that in 10-15 years from now that you’ll be all too painfully aware that you can’t ultimately protect your daughters from the world at large, and unless they are very fortunate they will at some point cross paths with a guy who will treat them less than respectfully. Imagine how that would make you feel and then imagine how Sarah’s mother must feel under the most extreme circumstances imaginable. Both she and Sarah deserve more respect than to have guys like Levi mouth off about how she might have been thrill seeking.

    • Nina says:

      05:22pm | 21/11/12

      I do think women often have trouble valuing themselves and are at risk of associating with people, who we all can see, do not deserve them.  It’s about male entitlement.. and unfortunately female entitlement does not exist very often.  Think The Simpsons and The Family Guy for examples of this and there are many many more everyday situations where women allow people into their lives who aren’t good enough for them.  It’s about valuing our daughters and it’s about valuing women’s minds and their contribution to society.  Ladies, you don’t need to be validated by ugly old men to be worthy.

    • Martin says:

      05:33pm | 21/11/12

      @Lucy

      Exactly. The most disturbing aspect of cases like this is why some men can’t wait to start making excuses for, and defending, murderers. Very strange, and very disturbing.

    • Jay2 says:

      05:44pm | 21/11/12

      I know a lot of late teen to early twenties girls, due to them being roughly the same age as my ‘kids’. Here’s the thing, most of those girls DO NOT see 47 year old men as something they have to be on guard about, simply because they tend to see them as ‘old men’ who are roughly the same age as their fathers. With men in the same age group, they are more cynical and careful because of the potential sexual aspect, but men their Dad’s age, it doesn’t really occur to them that those men would perhaps view them sexually and I can see how that poor Sarah would have totally dropped her guard and taken him on face value (as he wished to present himself).
      Based on that, I would believe that this poor girl (and isn’t ironic that some are questioning the choices of a victim of a brutal murder, rather than the arsewipe who took her life?!) would most likely innocently thinking this man was far from a threat to her.
      My daughter, with her choice of sport, regularly associates with people twenty years her senior, including men and she much the same sees these people as just somebody else’s mum/dad, it wouldn’t occur to her that they would be seeing her through sexual eyes at all.

      A soft, good hearted indivual simply doesn’t stand a chance with an experienced older person hell bent on evil period, especially Sarah being younger before life’s cynicism has set in, so then you start questioning whether this person is as they present.

      This is so bloody sad.


      No, Sarah isn’t the one with whom answers lie, the brute that took her life must be made to answer.

    • Some_dude says:

      05:59pm | 21/11/12

      Hi Sooz, thanks for the rational discussion rather than the over the top emotional slanging match.  (Thanks to Philosopher too)
      Firstly you state “it is entirely speculative to suggest Sarah knowingly went to meet a convicted murderer”.  Based on the information presented, Sarah received a random friend request from a guy twice her age over facebook, accepted the friendship and agreed to meet the guy.  I don’t know about you, but I do not see someone randomly sending friend requests to females half his age as an indicator of a healthy, adjusted and good person.  Instead I see that the sending of a friend request in this situation is an indicator of predatory behaviour. 
      You also state ” As a father of 2 little girls under 5 it would make sense to be more concerned with teaching them that not everyone is necessarily who they seem”.  This statement causes me concern as I see this as essentially teaching my girls that they can’t trust anyone (as you will never know who they really are) which is an extremely damaging thing to do.  Instead, I see that there are some specific indicators that can be taught about behaviours to watch out for.  Receiving random friend requests from older dudes is one of those things that I specifically see my daughters should be aware of.

    • Matt says:

      06:01pm | 21/11/12

      Um, what exactly did Sarah do to justify being murdered?

    • PW says:

      06:43pm | 21/11/12

      Some who undertake risky behaviour get away with it. Others don’t. This poor girl has paid the ultimate penalty, but it’s not exactly true, from what can be ascertained, that such a thing could have happened to anyone. The same can be said for Jill Meagher. Both put themselves in a position where this could happen to them, and both drew the short straw.

    • Some_dude says:

      06:55pm | 21/11/12

      Hi Sooz, thanks for the rational discussion rather than the over the top emotional slanging match.  (Thanks to Philosopher too)
      Firstly you state “it is entirely speculative to suggest Sarah knowingly went to meet a convicted murderer”.  Based on the information presented, Sarah received a random friend request from a guy twice her age over facebook, accepted the friendship and agreed to meet the guy.  I don’t know about you, but I do not see someone randomly sending friend requests to females half his age as an indicator of a healthy, adjusted and good person.  Instead I see that the sending of a friend request in this situation is an indicator of predatory behaviour. 
      You also state ” As a father of 2 little girls under 5 it would make sense to be more concerned with teaching them that not everyone is necessarily who they seem”.  This statement causes me concern as I see this as essentially teaching my girls that they can’t trust anyone (as you will never know who they really are) which is an extremely damaging thing to do.  Instead, I see that there are some specific indicators that can be taught about behaviours to watch out for.  Receiving random friend requests from older dudes is one of those things that I specifically see my daughters should be aware of.

    • Grosey says:

      09:47am | 21/11/12

      I think it’s just the result of truly sick individuals, and hopefully the push for better technology will one day give us the tools for early warning and treatment for these people.

    • subotic says:

      11:41am | 21/11/12

      the push for better technology will one day give us the tools for early warning and treatment for these people

      We already have the technology to eliminate this problem from society - Capital Punishment.

      Kill these pieces of human excrement, and the problem is solved completely. And, wait for it…. it’s super cost-effective.

      I’ll buy the gun and supply the 1st case of bullets myself. Gratis. No cost to state or nation.

      No need to thank me, it’s my absolute pleasure to remove this crap from the gene pool.

    • HappyG says:

      12:07pm | 21/11/12

      @Subotic.

      +1.  Couldn’t put it any better.
      Now wait for the bleeding heart brigade. I wonder how they would feel if it was their daughter?

    • SZF says:

      12:49pm | 21/11/12

      Based on the US experience and endless studies, capital punishment is neither a deterrent, nor cost-effective.

      Lock them up, 23 hr/day isolation, no parole, etc. I have no problem with that. But the death penalty isn’t the answer, despite its appeal to our desire for vengeance.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      01:29pm | 21/11/12

      Subotic so what is the result of a wrongful conviction in your case? I don’t disagree punishments should be alot tougher. I just don’t have enough faith in the legal system to get things right 100% of the time.

      Black Dynamite.

    • While you're there ... says:

      01:41pm | 21/11/12

      Hey subotic, can you take out the racist scum who abused those girls on the bus as well?

      You’d be doing us all a favour. Except fellow racists, of course.

      Cheers.

    • subotic says:

      02:26pm | 21/11/12

      @BD, capital punishment only for admission of guilt or conclusive proof.

      I have faith in nothing.

      @While you’re there, big difference between racism & murder, but I must admit I like the cut of your jib.

      If only stupidity hurt….

    • Bear says:

      03:24pm | 21/11/12

      We have the technology. Tattoo them on their foreheads after being released (because it seems they WILL get out one day). “predator” rather than “murderer” in the case of a man who preys on weaker targets.

    • St. Michael says:

      03:27pm | 21/11/12

      @ subotic:

      “conclusive proof”: necessarily, every person wrongly convicted was found guilty on conclusive proof, because they were convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.  I.e. to the point of having no reasonable doubt, i.e. to the point of “conclusive” proof.

      “admission of guilt”: what a great idea! But how will you deal with those people who admit guilt out of insanity, as Andrew Mallard did on his police interviews? Or those who admit guilt for another party?

    • Sally says:

      03:43pm | 21/11/12

      Interesting While you are there,

      Death penalty for free speech that doesn’t accord with your world view and it’s you who determine other’s don’t come up to acceptable human behaviour.

    • scott says:

      09:49am | 21/11/12

      Senseless murders happen every week.

      Why is it that it only gets widespread media attention when it happens to a hot chick?

    • dancan says:

      10:52am | 21/11/12

      very true Scott

    • marley says:

      11:00am | 21/11/12

      @scott - Daniel Morcombe got a fair bit of coverage.  So do kids tossed off bridges or deliberately drowned by their parents.  So do bashings of hapless Irish tourists or ex-cricket stars.  It’s not just hot chicks - its anyone the media thinks we can “connect” with in some way.  The young, the beautiful, the vulnerable, the famous….

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      11:33am | 21/11/12

      @marley

      The volume of media coverage surrounding Jill Meagher speaks for itself.

      Jill worked in the media, and was attractive (at least in the single photograph that was widely distributed).

      The media response was totally out of proportion to the crime, relative to _other_ similar crimes.

      You can’t honestly say that the media treats individuals similarly.

      Let’s not beat around the bush: If you’re good looking, your story is going to get more media coverage.  We can have all the excuses for it in the world, but the reality is that, as always, SEX SELLS.

    • Hendo says:

      11:35am | 21/11/12

      Sorry Marley, but after working in the mainstream media for 26 years I can assure you that “hot” victims generally get significantly more coverage. Hot victims sell better. Sad, but a fact.

    • Bomb78 says:

      12:03pm | 21/11/12

      To prove the point - haven’t heard too much on the elderly lady murdered on Macleay Island last week. This story appears to be getting better coverage in the Queensland newspapers.

    • TheRealDave says:

      12:09pm | 21/11/12

      Spot on Scott. Spot on.

    • marley says:

      12:26pm | 21/11/12

      @Hendo - oh, I agree, that hot chicks sell.  My cavil was with Scott’s use of the word “only.”

    • Borderer says:

      12:30pm | 21/11/12

      @lower_case_andrew
      I disagree slightly, the Jill Meagher murder got attention because it was essentially a random attack, could happen to anyone and that made people fearful. If a street person is killed in a random attack people can distance themselves from the crime (I don’t live on the street so I’m OK), or a family murder (I don’t know these people so I’m OK). Jill was killed by a random stranger, walking home from a night out and the fear came in to the lounge rooms of a lot of people, fear that it could be them. It was icing for the media that she was pretty, people object more to beautiful things being destroyed, it’s in our nature, we are visual beings after all.
      This murder appeals to the media in a lot of ways, tragedy, social media related, pretty girl, apparent innocence and most importantly, a previously convicted killer. There’s so many story angles to explore such as internet predators, tougher sentencing as well as seeing this poor girls family go through the grief they can get a lot of mileage from the one story.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:19pm | 21/11/12

      I disagree slightly with you as well Borderer wink

      The ‘icing’ was that not only was Jill very attractive she was also ‘one of us’ ie the media.

      And, as someone alluded to further up. An 85 year old Grandmother was murdered here in Brisbane Afte rthe initial headline the best it gets is a thumbnail that hasn’t been updated for 3 days now. I’d say by tomorrow or the day after it will be gone until they catch someone. And then it will rate a paragraph.

    • Borderer says:

      01:51pm | 21/11/12

      TheRealDave
      I agree, the murder of the 85 year old has dropped off in the media, I am glad the QPS aren’t as fickle as the press but like I said the story has more angles in Melbourne hence why the greater coverage.

      Ideally they would have the bashing murder of a gay former illegal Palastinian immigrant who was young, beautiful and pregnant by someone she met on social media in a random racially motivated hate crime by bikies while walking home from work to her illegally overcrowded share house. I think that would cause a melt down, the producers wouldn’t know where to start….

    • TheRealDave says:

      02:25pm | 21/11/12

      I’d buy that paper for a dollar.

    • Lill says:

      02:49pm | 21/11/12

      Thank you Scott. Someone I care about was murdered this year, but she wasn’t pretty, or from a capital city so nobody cares.

    • sami says:

      03:53pm | 21/11/12

      I thought Jill Meagher got attention because she was reported missing pretty immediately and notices were put on social media so that people could help to find her. From day one I was seeing ‘missing’ notices being shared all over Facebook, and nothing in the media for a day or two after that. I think if the same was done for other people who are immediately noticed missing there would be more coverage also. The media can only report on things it has knowledge of. It wasn’t her murder that got the coverage so much as her unusual disappearance.
      This story got attention because Sarah was also missing in strange circumstances and her family wanted her found. That it ended so sadly is awful, and now it is still getting coverage because she (like Jill) was ‘allegedly’ murdered by someone who should still be behind bars from the other awful shit they did. Society kicks up a stink because they’re angry about sentences being too lenient.

      Two young boys went missing in Perth the other night and it was all over facebook- thankfully they’re okay and home safe now but there was still coverage because someone put the notice out. There’s been a couple of stories of young girls in the UK going missing lately too, and the media has helped communities have rallied to find them/the offenders. It is not just ‘hot chicks’.

    • Tim says:

      09:54am | 21/11/12

      So now that we’ve established that there will always be bad people who do bad things, can we end the ‘victim blaming’ schtick that gets thrown around every time someone tries to get people to take more responsibility for their own personal safety?

    • Marshgirl says:

      01:54pm | 21/11/12

      Totally agree Tim!

    • jed says:

      09:59am | 21/11/12

      “It’s becoming quite clear that there is almost nothing we can do to prevent these horrific crimes because there will always be people who convict them.”

      That was clear a long, long time ago.

      It’s no defence, but many of the people who commit these crimes were unlucky ones who had cigarettes put out on them as kids. Many people in that situation do push past it and go on and create productive lives for themselves, but for the others the damage renders them as people to be very careful of.

    • Rose says:

      11:40am | 21/11/12

      People who are damaged by their childhoods are often capable of terrible things, our only hope is to increase our commitment to teaching effective parenting strategies, improving the work done in child protection and being a lot more serious about dealing with mental health, particularly in adolescence.
      We also need to ensure that prison is not just a place to lock people up, most will eventually be released again, we need to insist that prisoners are mandated to receive counselling and rehabilitation while they are there.

    • Anubis says:

      12:57pm | 21/11/12

      There you go Rose, making excuses for the animal. Oh woe is me I had a bad childhood because daddy wouldn’t buy me a toy train when I was three. Not only has this guy killed another women, been convicted of multiple counts of rape and assault but he has also been released to kill again.

      Do the victims have any rights in your world or is it all for the offender?

    • blair says:

      01:21pm | 21/11/12

      As adults we know what is acceptable or lawful behaviour. Full stop!  This maggot would have known what he was doing was not right as do most criminals while committing crimes regardless of background or upbringing.The difference is they choose not to listen to the voice of reason within themselves.

    • K^2 says:

      10:04am | 21/11/12

      Some people think life is cheap.  Some people have twisted views on life and liberty, some people are just selfish.

      Some people think they somehow have a right to take things that arent bolted down, including human life.  Some people justify this sort of behaviour because they couldn’t find success in their own life, or because a woman (or man) once abused and hurt them, now they have a sense of entitlement or a sense of need to get some payback.  Some people just have a propensity to violence.  Some people are just sick, some are manipulated into seeing something as ok, some are introduced to it and get away with it. 

      None of this justifies the actions, but its just the way it is you, can not expect everyone to think the same as you do or treat everyone with the same respect as you would do.  Just protect yourself by being aware, and cautious but even then some like Sarah will still be victims because sometimes, people are just evil.

    • MB says:

      11:25am | 21/11/12

      K^2,  I agree with you, you said it absolutely right.
      Rest In Pease, dear child
      I pray for Love of Universe to help your mummy..

    • mark says:

      12:30pm | 21/11/12

      @MB - its the belief in a magical being that is holding back our ability to rationally and logically decide that people who take a life, should have theres taken away.
      the god forgives all sins arguement is BS. there is no god, only people who respect others and those that dont, and if you cant play nice, you cant play anymore.

    • che says:

      10:15am | 21/11/12

      It’s all so pointless and unneccesary. The justice system in this country is so flawed, it should be called the injustice system. So many people in pain because of this, and what do the politicians think of? Re-election and point scoring is their only concern.

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:24am | 21/11/12

      “It’s becoming quite clear that there is almost nothing we can do to prevent these horrific crimes because there will always be people who convict them. They are people driven by personal demons, anger, or just sheer self-absorption to commit the most reckless, inhuman and callous and cowardly of all acts.”

      All too true

    • thruthehaze says:

      10:45am | 21/11/12

      “It’s becoming quite clear that there is almost nothing we can do to prevent these horrific crimes”

      Both these men were previously guests of Her Majesty. There’s plenty we can do but we have to give up on the idea that the perpetrators of these crimes are victims also. We have to ensure that people who commit horrific crimes (stabbing a women to death and getting 10yrs ffs) get horrific sentences. We have to give up on the idea that these people, having done the time, are allowed back into the community as though the crime had never happened. Killers behind bars find it much harder to kill the innocent. Perhaps the PC brigade might learn that one day.

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      12:47pm | 21/11/12

      Yeah tough sentences always stop crime, always. That’s why there’s absolutely no crime in places like the United States.  And in the past too, why go back a couple of generations and there was absolutely no crime anywhere ever.

    • Not from Melbourne says:

      10:59am | 21/11/12

      What is going on in Melbourne? It seems to be taking over from Adelaide as a unexplained murder capital of Australia.

    • ronny jonny says:

      04:08pm | 21/11/12

      No unexplained murders here.

    • Bane says:

      11:01am | 21/11/12

      Speaking of ‘law abiding citizen’, remember that movie with Gerard Butler…?

    • openyoureyes says:

      11:17am | 21/11/12

      Why was she involved with such a person to begin with??? None of you people are looking at the bigger picture here, what was the point of interest to be associated with this scum?

    • Bitten says:

      11:18am | 21/11/12

      “Can anybody tell me why?”

      Do the judiciary and the social workers and the psychologists and the parole board have any ideas?

      *crickets*

    • Kassandra says:

      11:22am | 21/11/12

      We could stop most of these type of crimes but it would not be easy. 

      More than two-thirds of all the crimes are committed by less than 10% of the population. There is particular subset of repeat offenders in this group, mostly males, who are first arrested by police by 11 or 12 years of age, who are particularly likely to commit crime especially repeated violent offences. They are not difficult to identify in most cases at a fairly young age. If we locked them up we would stop 2/3 of crime in the community instantly, including violent crime.

      The problem is first, the law punishes the particular crime rather than the kind of criminal who committed it, and a radical change in the way the courts deal with this type of offender would be needed. Second, there is no question of rehabilitation, deterrence or even punishment - the sentence would be purely for the purpose of protecting society. These people invariably have troubled backgrounds and are not responsible for the type of person they have become, that is the result of a maldeveloped or damaged brain and an adverse environment plus or minus an unfavourable genetic inheritance, so it would not be fair from one point of view, but it would be effective.

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      11:29am | 21/11/12

      “I felt an overwhelming sadness looking at the beautiful face of Sarah Cafferkey.”

      But would you have felt the same sadness if you were looking at a middle aged bloke with a beergut and a swarthy complexion?

      Would you even write about him? Would his story warrant a Facebook campaign or a Twitter storm (or ten)?

      In this image-obsessed culture,  saturation media coverage (and thus advertising revenue) requires that the subject be:

      - young

      - female

      - attractive.  Only one photo need do.  See: Jill Meagher.

      - a media or PR worker (preferably)

    • Carz says:

      11:59am | 21/11/12

      You forgot white, or at least non-Aboriginal.

    • SAm says:

      11:41am | 21/11/12

      Very sad. There are things we can do, although most people arent up for it.
      1st strike: Minimum 50 years jail
      2nd strike: (including serial and mulitple killings): Death Penalty. And no pussy footing around taking 20 years to give them a peaceful ending. 7 days from conviction to the firing squad.

      There is no offenders rights, only the rights of society to not be murdered by offenders.
      And dont tell me all this nonsense about innocents might be executed blah blah blah. If the courts worked and the police and prosecutors do thier job properly this wont happen.
      You watch the murder rate plummet

    • St. Michael says:

      12:26pm | 21/11/12

      “And dont tell me all this nonsense about innocents might be executed blah blah blah. If the courts worked and the police and prosecutors do thier job properly this wont happen.”

      Police and prosecutors don’t do their job properly, though.  That’s the point, and the most cogent argument against a death penalty.  Playing fashionably dumb does not help you out here.

    • SAm says:

      01:52pm | 21/11/12

      right, so why instead of saying ‘its too hard’ arent measures taken to eliminate said problems? Overall the process is for the most part pretty good, you have to be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt (not have to prove your innocence), all it will take is a few checks and balances and it should be a pretty safe system, with laws to deal with those that try to get around it. It really should be like a financial audit, independant, checks, etc to make sure its all above board. I dont see how saying ‘judges are corrupt, cant do it’ is a good attitude to have.
      Im not a lawyer so I have no suggestions, but setting someone up for a crime should involve so many people as to make it impossible, therefore, no innocents found guilty

    • St. Michael says:

      03:24pm | 21/11/12

      “Overall the process is for the most part pretty good, you have to be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt (not have to prove your innocence), all it will take is a few checks and balances and it should be a pretty safe system, with laws to deal with those that try to get around it.”

      Are you prepared to stake someone’s life on the prospect that the justice system “for the most part” operates “pretty good”? Because that is what you are talking about by putting a death penalty in as a penalty for murder, or indeed for any crime.

      Little tip: the US has been trying it for decades, and they’ve still managed to execute hundreds of people subsequently determined as innocent of the crimes they were convicted for.  Nor does the death penalty have any significant impact on the crime rate generally, which is one of the reasons Australia abandoned it close on forty years ago.

      “Im not a lawyer so I have no suggestions, but setting someone up for a crime should involve so many people as to make it impossible, therefore, no innocents found guilty”

      The problem being that it doesn’t take that many people.  All it takes, as Andrew Mallard’s case demonstrates, is two police officers who don’t hand over all the evidence they had, or a police prosecutor who deliberately misleads the jury about the evidence when he unequivocally knows otherwise.  Nobody can frame a person with quite the effectiveness as a police officer or a prosecutor mainly because they’re both trusted positions and they’re on the ‘inside’, so they know how to do it most effectively.

      And because the judicial system believes itself just as infallible as you’d like it to be, Mallard and his supporters campaigning for an appeal or a retrial were sneered at for 12 straight years until John Quigley demanded the police turn over the original case file.  That was the start of Mallard’s decade-late acquittal.  Not before.  Had he been subject to a death penalty, he would have been so much worm food long before then.

    • Gregg says:

      11:52am | 21/11/12

      ” It’s becoming quite clear that there is almost nothing we can do to prevent these horrific crimes because there will always be people who convict them. They are people driven by personal demons, anger, or just sheer self-absorption to commit the most reckless, inhuman and callous and cowardly of all acts. “

      Yep, there are some people about who are just plain vicious bastards with little respect for other humans or other’s property for whatever reasons and many of them start out on a life of vandalism and/or crime at young ages, so young that the courts, social workers and civil libertarians will have pity for them.
      Maybe some deserve some pity and that is one area where problems will just grow from for it’ll be those more callous ones that have no plans for changing their approach to life that will likely just move on to worse and worse crimes and laugh at the slap on the wrist they may have got.

      Meanwhile, there’ll always be younger and sometimes not so young women who for whatever reason have been sucked into the web of people so vicious that the worst awaits them or even with the many scammsters about will have other still undesirable experiences.

    • Gina says:

      11:52am | 21/11/12

      Ummmmm….how many males have been murdered in Melbourne in the last 2 months??  There are some comments on here that have left me gobsmacked.  There are some people who have posted on here that are downright stupid.  RIP Sarah, and love to your real friends and family.  Bring back capital punishment for these insane male mongrels.

    • Rex says:

      06:06pm | 21/11/12

      Heaps of men murdered in Melbourne, but they aren’t pretty enough to deserve our sympathies.

    • AdamC says:

      11:58am | 21/11/12

      This poor girl did not die in a car accident or something. She was killed. The event was not a ‘tragedy’, but a crime.

      My preference is that we simply lock up violent, criminal scumbags for long, long time. It is no panacea, but at least it will keep them off the streets for a while.

    • SteveKAG says:

      12:02pm | 21/11/12

      IF we also include the woman who was gunned down in Footscray on Monday it makes 3.  I am getting overwehlemed by this senless rage against women by men.  I don’t understand what has happened to our morals as a society, how many rapes go unreported because women don’t want to go through the system.  Many men (noit all of us of course) seem to think it is perfectly ok to do this sort of stuff.  We certainly need tougher penalities but i also think we need to overhaul our judicial system to make it safer for women to report crimes.

    • Rossco says:

      01:19pm | 21/11/12

      Yes because all men are murdering bastards and are never the victims of murder themselves, and never from women. And men should get much larger jail sentences for being a male criminal….Sigh… Some of the misandry here is pathetic…

    • Anjuli says:

      12:05pm | 21/11/12

      @ Sam my husband is also called Sam thinks exactly as you do ,I think where it is proven without doubt, especially with the abuse of children then death penalty is warranted the only trouble is who would do it.

    • TheRealDave says:

      12:15pm | 21/11/12

      Just another case of the ‘Rights of the Criminal’ being valued higher than the ‘Rights of the Victim’...or in this case ‘Victims’...

    • Preferring Animals As Company says:

      12:20pm | 21/11/12

      I resigned from a state police service after 14 years and 9 months of working in Child Protection Investigations, Criminal Investigation Branch, Sex Offences and Abuse Unit, and finally Prosecutions Branch. If it wasn’t the acts perpetrated against other human beings by the sick, twisted, sub-human elemant which made me ill, it was the legal system which had my stomach knotted into sickness each and every day. I am not saying things that isn’t a ‘Captain Obvious’, but we absolutely do not have a justice system in this country, we have a legal system.

      Before my four years at Prosecutions, I thought I’d seen it all in the day to day course of policing. Boy, was I wrong. It is an naive statement, however I am still confused as to to how so many of those in the legal profession sleep at night.

      After working a I lost count of how many nights I didn’t sleep, and again lost count of how many nights I managed to cry myself to sleep - just reliving the statements and excuses and cold-heartedness of my fellow humankind.

      It was my choice to do the job for as long as I did - nobody forced me to do it. However I thought that I could “make everybody see” how the system was flawed. I thought that yes maybe people such as the ones discussed in the column could change and be rehabilitated. All I did was lose precious time and energy fighting a losing battle.

      It’s a year since I’ve got out of the police. I still have trouble sleeping. I still dream of delivering ‘death-knocks’, and still see the bodies of kids killed by their parents or step-parents, and still hear the screams of three and six year old girls who are undergoing internal exams by a doctor because they’ve been raped by their uncle or brother. I’m trying to exercise, eat correctly, seeking support. The worst of it that I still see the smiles of the bottom-feeder defence lawyers and their clients who have been released,  especially when their clients are “right for it”.

      I’ve decided to move to a new state, a new town and start again. I’d love to be a florist in another life.  Or care for horses.

      But mostly, after 14 + years, I want a good night’s sleep.

    • T says:

      12:47pm | 21/11/12

      This just about the saddest thing I have read, I hope the system changes in your life time. It sounds like the only thing that may help you sleep again.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:34pm | 21/11/12

      We need more people like you to step up and ‘tell it like it is’ to the public and get their collective heads out of their arses. I think we, most times, don’t want to know the harsh reality of it. We see ‘Joe Bloggs in court for sexaully abusing a 4 year old’ and think ‘I hope he gets 20 years’ without actually stopping for a second to think of the actual crime and what has occured. As you say, the physical and mental damage it does to the child by the rapist, the actual warts and all physical examinations done to the traumatised child and then the whole legal parade that comes along after the Police investigation where the child is practically raped again by the legal system and defence team. And yes, I know I say that emotively and deliberatly so.

      I don’t know if I would have the stones to have done the job you do/did. Maybe when I was younger, single and didn’t have kids. Having kids now - I can say without a doubt that I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t be able to handle seeing dead or broken and abused children. For all my bullshit and bluster and being the big boofhead I am, nope, I couldn’t do it. I commend you and your colleagues for that impossible job you have to, or have had to do. Were I work now we do look after abused and deserted children and supervise ‘visits’ by estranged parents and I see some of these kids - in a much happier setting mind you, and my heart goes out to them.

      I sincerly hope that in your retirement you can manage to find a little peace in your life. I know those memories, thoughts and feeling will live with you for the rest of your life but there are, no doubt, some kids out there today leading much happier and safer lives due to you and your colleagues.

    • Proud thinking Australian says:

      01:57pm | 21/11/12

      Justice will be served Ultimately, but for many not in this life.

      Intuitively these lost children deserved love, life and justice and make no mistake they have now have the former from their Heavenly Father and will receive the latter in the end.

      There is Hope.

    • Fran says:

      02:51pm | 21/11/12

      What can you say after reading your story?  I’m just numb and my thoughts are scrambled.  It’s every reasonable person’s nightmare - the stuff you had and have to deal with every day.  I feel like I need to cry for you, but most of all for all the little ones, the vulnerable that are treated like rubbish by adults.

      I truly hope you manage to find some peace in your world, and certainly understand why you’d prefer the company of animals.  I haven’t been through what you have, but understand enough about people to know animals are massively underrated.

      Selfishly, part of me is sorry you’re not on the job anymore.  At least you gave a crap.

    • stephen says:

      05:34pm | 21/11/12

      Sounds like getting out of the Police Service was the right thing for you to do, as you would have been of no service to anyone.

      And forget the Florist ; just go for the flower.

    • Tim Cogan says:

      12:23pm | 21/11/12

      Nobody has yet been convicted, but the question must be asked - is a citizen’s right to expect to live safely of lesser or greater value than the right of a person convicted of murder to be allowed back into the community?

    • Christian says:

      12:30pm | 21/11/12

      Lets not focus on the medias use of sensationalism to attract a crowd. Believe it or not, they use tactics that cause more of us (us, being people) to buy it. Money talks and while we keep investing ours in their fodder, they’ll keep doing it.

      Nor would I like to focus on how her alleged killer was only jailed for such a short time after murdering the last young girl that he did.

      I would prefer we just take a moment to just think of this girl. Poor, poor, young girl. For whatever reason, she met with this person and it allegedly cost her her life. I just hope that it was quick and as painless as possible. It breaks more than my heart to look at her picture, it breaks me.

      I’m sorry Sarah. I’m sorry for you, for your family and friends. I’m sorry for people, that we let you down.

    • openyoureyes says:

      01:37pm | 21/11/12

      Very true, but WHY?? Why does a 22 year old young woman, meet with an over the hill scumbag, what is the point of interest people???

    • TheRealDave says:

      03:22pm | 21/11/12

      You don’ thtink that maybe he, you know….as uncommon as this may be….but…maybe he lied to her online?!?

      I know, its totally unfathomable how anyone could actually tell another human being a lie while online…but to do it in order to gain someones attention…thats just abhorrent!

    • Swamp Thing says:

      12:59pm | 21/11/12

      Really is time to stop messing around - ‘rule .303’ and a shallow grave for these crims… as for the ‘do gooders’ getting us all brutalised in the quest to extend evil doers every courtesy…. they can share the same fate for all I care, i suspect martrydom would appeal to them, so long as they get on the telly.

    • SAME OLD says:

      03:25pm | 21/11/12

      Well said Swamp Thing, totally agree with every word.
      RIP Sarah

    • Onlooker says:

      01:02pm | 21/11/12

      Poor little girl at 22 years old she has not even begun to live life, she had so much to see and do. The sentences for violent crimes are not enough .

    • Marshgirl says:

      01:51pm | 21/11/12

      Some interesting comments and summations here by people who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about - who didn’t know Sarah or her circumstances.

      Well done in your fascinating and less than inciteful judgements. You must be proud to be so connected, informed and intelligent.

      RIP Sarah.

    • blair says:

      02:31pm | 21/11/12

      Says she from high upon her pedastool!!

    • Bear says:

      04:24pm | 21/11/12

      Just because you come from BM doesn’t mean you know more than the smarmy wankers on The Punch.

    • Tron says:

      02:34pm | 21/11/12

      Constant reference to Jill Meagher who didnt willingly go and meet a person who added her on facebook, Sarah wasnt a child she was a 22 year old woman, and you can claim that she was naive going and hanging out with a person she met on the internet, but these days people should know better let alone a full grown woman that there is a slight chance that the 40 year old bloke she is meeting in a secluded place could harm her, especially because the only interaction she apparently had with him was via facebook. comparing this to Jill is a joke and you should be ashamed

    • Jay2 says:

      06:20pm | 21/11/12

      What is a joke is that people dont recognise that murder is murder and both Jill and Sarah were victims. Degrees of innocence with the victims of brutal murder don’t exist. Brutal murder is brutal murder.
      Both women are dead.  I would no more suggest Jill should have KNOWN better for walking home unaccompanied to her door than Sarah should have KNOWN better. I mean for me to say that would be a cold and uncompassionate thing to write and something I WOULD BE ASHAMED OF!

      It’s like saying that a woman wearing a loose pair of slacks is less deserving to be raped than a woman wearing a tight pair of jeans when BOTH do NOT deserve the heinous crime of rape. Yet, it does always catch me by surprise when I come across people who do have such a mindset.

    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      03:01pm | 21/11/12

      We won’t see any improvement in the statistics for rape/murder until the judiciary grow some cohones and actually stick these pieces of filth away until they die

    • Why says:

      04:45pm | 21/11/12

      He would have played the, “I’m a really good guy” card and I think she naively believed him.

    • Rex says:

      05:55pm | 21/11/12

      Why do we never mourn the less than attractive?  You don’t see them splashed across the front page.

 

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