The Pacemaker Murderer

Tassie has a reputation of being an inbred backwater twenty years behind the rest of Australia, and to a certain extent that’s true (less so with regards to the inbreeding perhaps). But sometimes, Tassie is ahead of the times.

That was the case when the murder of David Crawford caused a breakthrough in forensics. Murdered brutally with an axe in his own home, police quickly zeroed in on a suspect – friend and neighbour, Ivan Jones. The police needed a way to destroy Jones’ alibi, and they found it in Crawford’s pacemaker, which had recorded the time of his death.

This was the first time information was retrieved from a pacemaker in order to solve a murder. See, cool things do happen in Tasmania! It’s not all incest and dairy farms!


72 year old David William Crawford was bludgeoned to death with an axe in his home by Ivan Jones, who was then aged 19. Jones had allegedly committed the crime because he was in need of cash, and he’d heard that Crawford had a bit stashed away on his property.

Jones lured Crawford outside and struck him six times with an axe. He left the house with only $80 in cash. A few hours later, he rang police, pretending that he’d just happened across the body.

The police were suspicious of Ivan straight away, but his story kept changing and they needed a smoking gun to prove he was lying about his involvement in the crime. So they looked towards a unique forensic measure – examining Crawford’s pacemaker. It would record the time that the heart stopped – but they only had a brief window to retrieve the data before it was erased forever.

Jones was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the murder of Crawford, but to the shock and horror of his loved ones, and Tasmania as a whole, Jones was paroled after only serving half his sentence.

Our main source this week was is the greatest true crime television show of all time, no contest, Forensic Files, season 11 episode 36, Ticker Tape. Fuck me, how damn good is Forensic Files. It’s available on Netflix or on Youtube if you’re feeling dangerous.

Information about Jones’ paroling can be found here

Transcripts of the ABC Program Catalyst that covered the case can be found here

More info can be found here