Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Undocumented: Katherine Mary Knight

His body was beaten and skinned; his head was cooked and eaten.
The culprate?
A 44 year old woman.
 
In The Beginning
From an early age, Katherine Mary Knight was nurtured by controversy. Her mother, Barbara, was forced to move away from the peaceful town of Aberdeen, New South Wales in Australia, after forging a relationship with Ken Knight, a co-worker of her husband.

Katherine, born on the 24th October 1955, was the younger of twins born to Barbara and her de facto partner Ken. She was an isolated child and didn't share close relationships with many other than her twin and uncle, Oscar Knight. In 1969, her beloved uncle committed suicide. Katherine was devastated.

Her fierce hatred of men is likely to stem from the characteristics of her estranged father. He would openly use force to rape her mother up to ten times a day. Barbara's confessions also had a significant effect on Katherine's opinion of men. Her mother would express her grief, disclosing intimate information about how much she despised her sex life and men.

Young Katherine was subject to the same brutality inflicted on her mother and was frequently abused by members of her family, though not by her father.

Personality
Although Knight was typically pleasant, she would experience uncontrollable murderous rages and at school, she was known as a lonesome bully. She was guilty of assaulting one boy with a weapon and obtained injuries from a member of staff who acted in self defense against her.

When detached from her violent tendencies, Katherine was considered a model student. Despite being illiterate upon leaving school, Knight secured her dream job aged 16 cutting up offal at the local abattoir. Her dedication to work showed and she was promoted to boning where she was handed her most prized possession; her own set of butcher's knives.

Disturbingly, the keen butcher hung her knives above her bed as a 'handy' tool. She did this at every home she lived in up until her incarceration.

Malice Against Men 1: David Kellett
'You better watch this one or she'll fucking kill you. Stir her up the wrong way or do the wrong thing and you're fucked, don't ever think of playing up on her, she'll fucking kill you'.
This was the advice given to David Kellett by Katherine's mother on the day of her daughter's wedding.
 
That night, the couple had intercourse three times before Kellett fell asleep. Katherine obviously wanted more, so she tried to strangle him.
 
The marriage was plagued by violence and on one occasion, David was hit over the head with a frying pan for returning home late after making the final of a darts competition. Kellett desperately sprinted to a neighbours' house and was found to have a fractured skull. The manipulative Katherine persuaded her terrified husband to drop the charges.
 
Katherine gave birth to the couple's first child, Melissa Ann, in 1976. However, unable to cope with his wife's malevolent behaviour any longer, David fled to Queensland with another woman. Days later Katherine was seen swinging her baby's pram from side to side down a busy street and was admitted to St Elmo's Hospital where she was diagnosed with postnatal depression.  
 
Treatment was fruitless however and shortly after being released Knight placed her two month year old daughter on a railway line and left her to die. After abandoning her baby she stole an axe and made her way into town where she threatened to kill several people. Fortunately, Melissa Ann was rescued by a passer by and Knight was again admitted to St.Elmo's.
 
Knight once again seemed to resist the treatment she was given and went on to slash a woman's face demanding she drive to Queenland to find her daughter's father and took a young boy hostage whilst threatening him with the same knife.
 
Katherine was admitted to Morisset Psychiatric Hospital and Kellett left his girlfriend and moved back to Aberdeen upon hearing the news to support her. In August 1976, she was released and had a second daughter with David four years later.
 
In 1984, Katherine left Kellett and moved in with her parents. He got off lucky.
 
Malice Against Men 2: David Saunders
In 1986 Katherine moved in with 38 year old miner, David Saunders. Katherine's paranoia became increasingly disruptive in the relationship and she often wondered what he did when she was not around. Saunders was repeatedly thrown out of and invited back into her home which persuaded him to move back to his apartment in Scone.
 
In 1987, Knight decided to show her new partner what would happen should he ever cheat on her by slashing the throat of his two month old dingo puppy in front of him. As if that wasn't enough to terrify the helpless miner, she smashed him over the head with a frying pan, knocking him unconscious.
 
Astonishingly, Saunders chose to stay with Knight and even had a daughter with her in the June of 1988. They bought a house together which Katherine decorated with animal skins, horns, machetes, rakes and pitchforks.
 
Katherine's erratic behaviour was taking its toll on David and he went into hiding following an argument where she bludgeoned his stomach with a pair of scissors.
 
Several months later he returned to see his daughter and found that Katherine had gone to the police to tell them she was petrified of David. Ironically, the police issued her with an Apprehended Violence Order against him.
 
Another had escaped from the vehement violence of Katherine Knight. The next would not be so fortunate.
 
The Final Straw: John Price
Despite being aware of Katherine Knight's violent reputation, father of three John Price allowed her to move into his home in 1995. It seemed Knight had found her perfect man and her behaviour calmed to the point that even Price's daughter's loved her.
 
However, her rage resurfaced in 1998 when Price refused to marry her. In retaliation, Katherine secretly videotaped items John had stolen from work and sent them to his boss. Price was subsequently fired from his job of 17 years and she was immediately kicked out of his home.
 
Fatally, Price went back to Katherine. Fighting was frequent and the friends who had once described him as a 'teriffic bloke' wanted nothing to do with him.
 
Murder
'Time got you back Jonathan for rapping [raping] my douter [daughter]. You to Beck [Price's daugher] for Ross - for Little John [his son]. Now play with little Johns Dick John Price'.
This was the chilling blood stained note left by Katherine Knight on top of a photograph of Price after stabbing him 37 times.
 
John was paying the price for rekindling the flame with a psychopath and after being stabbed by Knight in the chest, he kicked her out of his house once again and took out a restraining order to keep her well away from him and his children.
 
29th February, 2000
The petrified father knew she would come for him and told his co-workers that if he did not return to work the next day, she had killed him. The only reason he went home that night was to protect his children from her.
 
He spent the evening with his neighbours, as if to say goodbye, and went to bed at 11pm. Whilst he was sleeping Katherine crept into his house and woke Price, demanding sex. As John had feared, he didn't turn up for work the next morning.
 
His absence was noted by his boss who sent a worker to his home. Blood was found on the door and the police were consulted. The door was broken down and his body was found in bed next to Knight comatose from overdosing on pills.
 
According to police, Knight had stabbed Price with  a butcher's knife while he was sleeping. Terrified, Price had tried to escape with Katherine maniacally chasing him through the house. He managed to open the door but was dragged back inside and stabbed 37 times.
 
Several hours after his death, Knight skinned him and hung the skin on a meat hook on the architrave of a door. She then decapitated him and cooked parts of his body, serving the meat with baked potato, pumpkin, zucchini, cabbage, yellow squash and gravy. The two meals were placed at the dinner table beside notes containing the names of his two children.
 
His head was found in a pot with vegetables.

Trial
On the 8th November 2001, Katherine Mary Knight was sentenced to life inprisonment.

Justice O'Keefe stated that Knight lacked remorse and ordered that her papers be marked 'never to be released', the first time that this had been imposed on a woman in Australian history.

Before her sentence was issued, Knight was psychiatrically assessed to determine if she understood the consquences of her guilty plea. Her legal team had planned to defend her by claiming amnesia and dissociation, a claim supported by most psychiatrists although they did consider her sane.

Katherine Knight went down in history as Australia's most notorious female killer. It's hard to believe that this innocuous looking middle aged woman had the ability to strike fear into, manipulate and bully the people who trusted her the most. Fortunately, she will never have the chance to do so again.
 




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