South Australia, we’ve been waiting to get inside you for a long, long time.
To start our journey around Australia's most messed-up state, we have the Truro murders, the name given to the truly traumatic series of serial murders committed by Christopher Worrell and James Miller.
From 1978 to 1979, a series of human remains were located in remote bushland near the town of Truro, eighty kilometres away from Adelaide, South Australia. As more bodies turned up, police became convinced they’d found the dumping grounds of a serial killer.
Eventually, they put two and two together and connected the bodies to a series of seemingly unrelated (and apparently mostly uninvestigated) disappearances of women from around Adelaide, who had all vanished over a period of just over fifty days.
The women had been picked up by Worrell and Miler, and restrained, assaulted, strangled, and then dumped in the bush.
Fair warning, this ep discusses sexual assault, and also gets a little gross.
The disappearances of seven women over a period of 52 days from around Adelaide was not taken as seriously as it warranted. It was the seventies, they were all young women, and apparently young people were prone to up and leaving their friends and families for periods of time and never communicating with them ever again.
The families of the missing women were certain that they would never run away, but police assured them that there was likely nothing to worry about.
Over a year passed from when the last girl went missing to when a body was found by mushroom hunters in the bushland near the town of Truro. Veronica Knight had gone missing around Christmas of 1976 and was not found until 1978. The absence of any clear cause of death led police to believe that Veronica had simply gone missing in the bush and died of natural causes. When a second body was found in the bush almost exactly a year later, the police changed their tune.
As more bodies were uncovered, police began linking the deaths to a total of seven young women who had disappeared from Adelaide between December 1976 and February 1977. And a tip led police to their likely killers: Christopher Worrell and James Miller, two men who had met in prison and formed a dominant and submissive sexual relationship on the outside. Worrell allowed Miller to perform sex acts on him, but he preferred women, and eventually he and Miller would cruise around Adelaide, looking for women for Worrell to assault.
Worrell would be killed in a car accident in 1977, which ended the killing spree, but Miller stood trial, and claimed that he never harmed any of the women, and only went with Worrell because he was coerced. But nobody bought that nonsense, and he was sentenced to six life sentences for the murders.
The victims of Christopher Worrell and James Miller are:
Veronica Knight, aged 18, disappeared on the 23rd of December 1976
Tania Kenny, aged 15, disappeared on 2 January 1977
Juliet Mykyata, aged 16, disappeared on 21 January 1977
Sylvia Pittman, aged 16, disappeared on 6 February 1977,
Vickie Howell, aged 26, disappeared on 7 February 1977
Connie Jordan, aged 16, disappeared on 9 February 1977
Deborah Lamb, aged 20, disappeared on 12 February 1977
You can view the episode of Crime Investigation Australia, ‘The Killing Fields of Truro’ that covers this case ~on the internet, but we won’t link it, because crimes
You can read an extract of murderer James Miller’s book, where he details Worrell’s methods, here https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/extract-from-james-william-miller-book-dont-call-me-killer/news-story/f346b0e95541187030e10fec33c0b2ff?fbclid=IwAR2oYPIViFl9LR9Mhx-VsaiU1tT4-hjmE--xmyYPP8nLtEVTfTvpvyNH3H8
For more info about the crimes and the connection to the still-unsolved case of Lina Marciano, go here https://www.qt.com.au/news/city-of-evil-who-killed-lina-marciano/3522651/?fbclid=IwAR2a1lMLQLcDD_sGcpwAZrOz3QeYYRpQBmqm7fHIUb8VAVnP5abYh7VuT6A