On March 23, 2004, John Sharpe shot a spear into his wife Anna’s head while she was sleeping. On March 27, he did the same to his nineteen month old daughter Gracie. He then concocted an elaborate ruse, pretending that Anna was still alive, and that she had left John for another man. Anna’s family and friends were immediately suspicious. They didn’t believe that a dedicated, loving mother like Anna would up and leave her husband and child for a flight of fancy. When the truth surrounding Anna and Gracie’s disappearances came out, John Sharpe became known as the Mornington Monster, and Australia was left to grapple with why a man would commit such a heinous crime against the people he was meant to protect.
Much has been written about the Mornington Monster but there is comparatively little about his wife and daughter, the women he took out of this world, Anna and Gracie. In this episode we discuss John Sharpe and his crimes, but we also try and shed light on Anna Kemp’s life and personality. She was a vibrant, strong, loving person, and her daughter Gracie was the light of her life. John Sharpe is a monster for what he did, but he is also a person – a weak, inept person who was unable and unwilling to confront the problems in his life and marriage, and so took what he thought was the only way out. He tried to deceive Anna’s family, the police, and the general public, but in the end, his personality was his own undoing. When he made an appeal to the public for information about Anna’s disappearance, nobody in Australia believed his crocodile tears.
The victims of crimes extend far beyond those who are murdered. Anna’s family and friends will forever live with the pain of having Anna and Gracie taken away from them. This episode, like all our episodes, is dedicated to the family of the victims.
Our main source this week was the judge’s sentencing, which can be read here http://www6.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VSC/2005/276.html
An excerpt of Why Did They Do It? can be read here https://books.google.com.au/books?id=nWVECQAAQBAJ&pg=PT39&lpg=PT39&dq=john+sharpe+family+%22annihilator%22&source=bl&ots=v4TAxffaEB&sig=6IQP8fV8Usj0rLEd2VW_ccqnTcQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwix4qig1Y7fAhVEPY8KHTTDAIkQ6AEwB3oECAQQAQ#v=onepage&q=john%20sharpe&f=false
A few choice news articles from the time – here https://www.theage.com.au/national/police-search-for-bodies-of-wife-daughter-20040624-gdy3wg.html and here https://www.theage.com.au/national/man-told-of-killing-wife-daughter-police-20040623-gdy3nl.html
The article regarding the sexual abuse claims against John can be found at the Herald Sun if you have a subscription or archived in a very early 2000s website here https://web.archive.org/web/20090914235945/http://www.mako.org.au/newsart275.html
You can find the episode of Crime Investigation Australia online but not, like, legally, so we’re not going to link it. Likewise the documentary Crocodile Tears is available on YouTube but it’s bad form for a podcast about crime and justice to link to copyright violations so you can just search it.