Matthew Wales- Society Murders


Society Murders

The Society Murders is the name given to the 4 April 2002 murders of husband and wife millionaire socialites Margaret Mary Wales-King, 69, and husband, Paul Aloysius King, 75 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, by their son, Matthew Wales. The crime and subsequent trial received widespread media coverage throughout Australia[1] and later became the subject of both a book and a television film.

Double murder

On 4 April 2002, the victims, Margaret Wales-King and her husband Paul King attended the home of Margaret’s son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Maritza Wales for a family dinner engagement. On the evening of the same day, Matthew Wales killed the couple by striking them to the back of the neck after drugging their soup to make them drowsy. Autopsies also indicated that the couple had been strangled. The couple were initially reported missing and on 10 April, their vehicle was found abandoned in Middle Park. On 29 April, the couple’s bodies were discovered buried in bushland near Marysville, Victoria.

Confession and arrest

On 11 May, after confessing to police, Matthew Wales was charged with the murder of his mother and stepfather. His wife, Maritza, was charged with being an accessory after the fact to both the alleged murders. Wales had participated at the couple’s funeral just three days earlier and was photographed weeping and embracing his elder brother.

Guilty plea and sentencing

Matthew Wales pleaded guilty and was convicted of the murder of both Margaret Wales-King and Paul King  He was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 24 years.The trial judge found Wales murdered the couple because he resented his mother for using her wealth to manipulate him. His wife pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice and received a two-year suspended sentence ,She was found not to have played any part in the actual murders.

Book and film

In 2003, Melbourne barrister Hilary Bonney wrote a book about the murder entitled The Society Murders: The True Story of the Wales-King Murders. The book was later adapted as a television film, Society Murders for Network Ten. It was written by Greg Haddrick and Kylie Needham for the production company Screentime,  it starred Georgie Parker, Alex Dimitriades, Matthew Le Nevez, Terry Norris and Julia Blake.

The book was written without co-operation from the Wales-King family and was based largely on court evidence and police documents.

Matthew Wales obsessed with killing mother before her death

He’d thought of every detail: the secretly obtained medication to drug her, the choice of meal for her last supper, a perfectly weighed piece of wood resting behind a bush just outside the door.

But you have to work backwards towards the exit when painting a floor.

And The Investigator Charlie Bezzina says Matthew painted himself into a corner on April 4, 2002, after murdering the woman he despised.

Matthew was so fixated on the act itself, that he gave little thought to what would happen once he’d killed Margaret Wales-King and her husband Paul in his own garden.

“He would finally be rid of his mother and he thought of nothing else until after the event,” Bezzina says.

“He was just so consumed with all aspects of the killing. That was his focus.”

It was also his downfall.

By the time bodies were found in a shallow grave at a poorly chosen site less than a month later, Matthew had left a dazzling trail of forensic clues that left police in no doubt that he was the killer.

As a senior member of the Victoria Police homicide squad, Bezzina was on call when two park rangers reported a suspicious mound they had initially thought was a lyrebird’s nest.

It was in an area beside a track off the Woods Point-Warburton Rd, Cambarville, way past the town of Marysville.

“These park rangers know forest like the back of their hands. They know the forest like a farmer knows his farm,” Bezzina says.

“It kept playing on their minds and they came back some hours later with a rake to investigate further.

“And in doing so they uncovered what they believed, and were pretty convinced was a deceased person.”

Melbourne gripped by society couple death mystery

THE disappearance of the wealthy Armadale couple had captured the public’s attention like few cases before it.

Bezzina puts the notoriety down to a combination of status and intrigue: it was a genuine mystery, involving the sorts of rich people whose lives were rarely put on show.

Their adult children reported them missing on April 8 2002, to local police. They contacted the missing persons unit around 9pm.

Det-Sgt Henry Van Veenendaal was part of the team that took the call.

“There was no real indicator that suggested anything untoward had happened at that stage,” he recently told True Crime Scene.

“It was an elderly couple had gone missing in their vehicle and no one could really explain it.”

The next step was to find out all they could about the missing pair.

Paul King was 74. He was retired, and had health problems following several strokes.

Margaret, 68, was wealthy, having invested in property and shares, but “wasn’t like a flamboyant socialite”, according to son Damian.

She had been with Paul for more than 20 years, since her first marriage broke down. They had married in 1995.

Margaret had five adult children from her earlier marriage: Sally, Damian, Emma, Prudence, and Matthew, the youngest.

We knew that Matthew, by that stage, was the last person to have seen his parents alive

Investigators quickly built a picture of the couple. Margaret adored her 11 grandchildren and was in daily contact with family members.

But the couple’s Mercedes Benz was gone, their bank accounts had not been touched, and nobody had heard from them in days.

They did not do things on the spur of the moment, and otherwise had a very “regimented lifestyle”, as Damian would say at a press conference held to enlist the public’s help on April 10 2002.

Over the preceding weekend, Sally and Emma had spoken to Matthew about being unable to contact their mother.

He did not mention they’d been at his Glen Iris home for dinner on April 4.

But Matthew was distressed at their disappearance, and surmised they’d been attacked by a drug dealer or even carjacked.

BUT as the days wore on, the Wales siblings began to develop theories of their own. And most involved their younger brother.

“They believed that Matthew was involved in some way,” Det-Sgt Van Veenendaal says.

“But they … really didn’t believe, until basically the car had been found, that something untoward had happened.

“Yes, we suspected that it was suspicious or it was a possible homicide, but we didn’t have any bodies at that stage.

“We had no real concrete evidence to prove that something had actually happened to them.”

The couple’s late-model silver Mercedes Benz was found in Middle Park in the hours after the press conference. They had been missing for six days.

It had been locked and left at the intersection of Page and Armstrong streets.

A detailed forensic search of the luxury car failed to turn up any clues.

There were false sightings of the couple everywhere, from the local supermarket to country bed and breakfasts, which only deepened the mystery.

“We had numerous sightings of the elderly couple in the area, and all over the place,” Det-Sgt Van Veenendaal says.

“There just was no reason for them to be in the area or the car to be there.”

By then, police had conducted interviews and discovered that friends had visited the Wales-King house in Mercer Rd, Armadale, for drinks on the afternoon of April 4 2002.

Margaret and Paul had told the couple they were about to head out for dinner at Matthew’s.

Matthew gave a written statement about the gathering, as did his wife Maritza.

She described waving goodbye to the couple while holding her toddler son Domenik as they drove away around 9.45pm.

Some preliminary testing was done in the garage at Matthew’s Burke Rd, Camberwell townhouse, where there was a strong smell of cleaning fluid.

There had been blood there, but its origin and age was unknown. It simply wasn’t enough for police to act on, especially without any evidence that Margaret and Paul were dead.

“We knew that Matthew, by that stage, was the last person to have seen his parents alive, along with his wife and child, but that’s all we had,” Det-Sgt Van Veenendaal said.

“We had nothing further than they drove off, according to Matthew, out of the house and never to be seen again.”

 Matthew Wales always the prime suspect in killing of his mum and step dad

Investigators were greeted by the usual organised chaos of a crime scene when he arrived at Cambarville on April 29, 2002.

The usually tranquil setting was abuzz – SES crews, police and forensic officers had beaten the then senior member of the Homicide Squad there, and were preparing to investigate what they were now certain was a grave.

It was dark and misty, and artificial lighting had been set up.

The burial mound was topped with loose soil and some large rocks.

They did not have to dig deep to find a body, wrapped in a doona cover.

“Once we excavated and got the second person … our minds kept on going to have we got the Wales-King couple that have been missing for those number of weeks,” Bezzina says.

The seasoned detective was left in little doubt when he spotted a diamond ring and well-groomed nails on the hand of the second victim.

“The scene was shut down … to preserve what evidence we had here,”Bezzina says.”

The two bodies were dispatched to Melbourne without their shrouds being removed, lest any forensic material be lost.

The investigators spent the night in Marysville and returned to search the site more thoroughly the next day. The search yielded plenty of clues.

“There were trails of rope leading from the track” he recalls. “Small cut pieces of rope.”

“You could follow it without a problem in the world”

It led back to where they believed the killer had parked, which was not that far from a main road

IT was up to the Crime Scene Examiner, Sgt Peter Cox, to identify potentially important forensic material at the scene.

“We found some rocks and other items, chains and so forth, that weren’t unique to the area – they were obviously brought in,” Sgt Cox says.

You just observe and if things seem out of place or not unique to the area, you can collect them.”

Something stood out immediately.

“We found bluestone rocks, which were big ones that are found in laneways and so forth around Melbourne – big square cut ones,” Sgt Cox says.

“They obviously weren’t from Marysville, it was red mud up there”

Inside the grave itself, a blue tarpaulin had covered the bodies. Underneath there was a plastic child’s swimming pool, and bricks linked together by a chain.

The bodies had been individually encased in doona covers, and inside, the heads of the victims had been wrapped in fabric.

When those had been removed there were small blue markings inside the grave, called striations.

The markings would give investigators an idea of the tool used to dig the 183cm x 122cm cavity in the hard ground – something they could later match, if their killer had kept it.

The bodies are identified

BACK in Melbourne, the bodies were identified as Margaret Wales-King and Paul King.

The autopsies revealed both had been struck to the back of the neck, but those injuries were not severe enough to have killed them.

Both showed signs of suffocation, and the pathologist suggested that the cause of death may have been positional asphyxia.

That could occur if both had been unconscious with their airways blocked, such as laying face-down on soft soil.

My head was going bananas and I just kept on hitting

The family received the news the day after the bodies were discovered.

Bezzina says it was decided that the original missing persons’ crew should keep control of the investigation, as they knew the case best. He maintained an interest at a distance.

At that stage Matthew remained at the top of the suspect list.

“We had to try and link Matthew to this area in Maryville with which he had no association,” Det-Sgt Van Veenendaal says.

Police had checked Matthew’s banking records and went to a local service station on May 2 to query an eftpos transaction.

The manager told them Matthew had hired a trailer just 12 hours after his mother and step-father were last seen alive.

The blue Tandec 2m x 1.3m trailer only cost $27, but he returned it late the following Monday and copped a $66 late fee.

The trailer was seized and taken for forensic examination, and police returned to conduct further tests at Matthew home. He consented to the extra testing.

The emotional burden on the Wales family was clearly taking its toll when, on May 8, 2002, the Wales children held a funeral for their mother and stepfather.

Matthew broke down when he arrived at the service with Maritza, hugging his brother Damian as he wiped away tears.

Damian and Prue read eulogies’, Sally and Emma read scripture. Each of the siblings had a part to play in the service, bar Matthew.

Maritza comes clean

A PHONE call from Maritza Wales’ lawyer the next day provided the piece of the puzzle that would lead investigators to an arrest.

Even though the missing persons’ team was in charge, Phil Dunn QC had wanted to deal with someone he knew at the homicide squad and Bezzina again found himself part of the investigation.

Mr Dunn wanted a guarantee Maritza would avoid jail in return for vital information.

It was a deal neither Bezzina nor any other police officer could make.

But on May 10, 2002, Maritza’s conscience provided enough motivation for her to give a statement anyway.

“I couldn’t live with myself anymore,” she told police later.

On Saturday, May 11, the Wales siblings had planned a memorial service on the Mornington Peninsula.

That was where most of the camera crews and other media were headed.

Matthew wouldn’t make it.

“We’d ascertained that he was going to be dropping his child off at a particular address, so we knew he’d be in the car by himself after he’d dropped the child off” Det-Sgt Van Veenendaal says.

A strategy had been devised to keep the fuss of the arrest to a minimum, lessening the risk of danger to Matthew, the public, and the arresting officers.

Bezzina was part of the team that that intercepted Matthew, and charged him with murder.

“Initially, when we arrested him, he did indicate that he wanted to tell us everything that had happened” Det-Sgt Van Veenendaal says.

His confession to police was detailed, explaining how he had crushed up tablets and put them in their food “just to slow them down”.

“As soon as they got out halfway through … the garden, that’s when I attacked them,” he told police.

“My head was going bananas and I just kept on hitting. I just kept on hitting.

“I couldn’t believe what I had done. I think I was walking around in circles for a while. And I felt like a mad dog.

“I felt like … that all my pain had gone. And I felt scared s—less.”

 Matthew’s confession to his wife

MATTHEW told police he didn’t know what he was going to do once he’d killed his mother and stepfather.

He went inside and told Maritza, who saw what he had done and ran upstairs crying and vomiting.

She watched from a window as Matthew returned to the bodies and dragged them on to the grass, placing his son’s flat inflatable swimming pool over them.

They remained there overnight, and the next morning he put junk out of his garage on top of the bodies before heading off to hire a trailer.

He also went to a hardware store and bought D-Shackles, cord and chains, and large bricks.

He told police he was thinking of submerging the bodies in a dam.

When Maritza left for work and his son was asleep, Matthew wrapped his victims’ heads in sheets and put each inside a doona cover.

He placed them on the hired trailer and left it in the garage for the night.

The next day, Matthew bought cleaning products for the bloodied pavers, a mattock and a tarp, and ordered some fresh compost to be delivered on the Monday to cover the spot where his parents had been killed.

With the bodies in the trailer, Matthew drove for several hours through weekend traffic until he reached what he thought was a good burial site.

“She loved the country, so I thought I’d take her to the country,” he told police.

The activity took hours and it was dark when he placed his mother in the grave, followed by Paul.

“If they are going to stay here, at least he gets to be on top,” he explained.

Over the next two days he dug up the grassed area of his yard where the bodies had been, and drove it back to the gravesite.

He got rid of his mother’s belongings and cleaned the yard and garage until he could see no trace that their bodies had been there.

But it was there, and police forensics experts were able to find it.

They uncovered evidence of where Matthew had dragged the bodies, despite the pavers appearing immaculate.

“We developed that … it wasn’t visible blood, but we found a trail going across the front yard,” Sgt Cox says.

The trailer was cleaned after he’d used it, but Matthew had missed some plant matter from the grave site that had become stuck.

The blue marks found inside the grave were later matched by Sgt Cox’s team to a tool that Matthew had purchased.

Paint from the tool was the same brand as one Matthew bought, although the tool itself was never found.

Bezzina believes being confronted with the forensic evidence would have been enough to push Matthew to confess in the end, had Maritza not forced his hand.

“Given the forensic evidence found … I would say he would have made admissions at that point,” Bezzina says.

“He knew it was a matter of time but couldn’t bring himself to give himself up.”

Matthew Wales blamed mother’s control for killing them

Elissa Hunt

From: Herald Sun

April 20, 2012 12:00AM

The mind of a killer

The Black Saturday bushfires decimated the region in 2009, but the visible reminders of that horrific day are quickly being consumed by new growth.

Retracing Matthew’s steps on the night he buried the couple, former Homicide Squad detective Bezzina says he gets a sense of what had been going through the mind of the novice killer, alone in the scrub.

“He’s arrived at this location, finally found a dirt road that pulls off the main highway. I think he would’ve believed he was safe by that stage, he could breathe a sigh of relief, Bezzina says.

“There wasn’t any passing traffic … he believed he was in the middle of nowhere.”

In fact, the site is not as secluded as Matthew had thought, and two campers had seen him with his trailer.

He had a crowbar, a mattock and a shovel, but the soil was full of shale and Bezzina says he probably didn’t anticipate how difficult the task would be.

It was dark when he finished.

“Through sheer laziness, or sheer exhaustion, he could only get down 2m in depth,” Bezzina says.

“Here’s a man that’s has been a hairdresser, he’s not used to manual labor.

“When that final mound of dirt went on top of the bodies … I think he was more confident then that the deed was done. He’d got rid of the bodies.”

Matthew justifies his murderous plan

MATTHEW Wales blames neither greed nor malice, but instead cites honour for his actions on April 4, 2002.

In a biography penned two years later by a fellow criminal in jail, he recalls the “last straw” as being a lie his mother supposedly told him about seeing his beloved Maritza with another man.

He describes himself as being prepared to meet the “supreme challenge” for any man, to lay down his life for his wife and child – which may have been a fine sentiment, had their lives been in danger.

Matthew gives a chilling account of his emotions leading up to the killings in “Warts and all: The Matthew Wales Story”, recalling how he justified his murderous plan.

“THIS time was different to those others when I had dreamt of killing my mother,” he says.

“There was no guilt that I was planning a double murder, nor was there a sense of apprehension — although I well knew that this time seemed far more realistic than at any time before.

“This time it had not only involved me, but those I loved more dearly than anyone else on earth.

“No, there’s no other way.” I kept repeating those words to myself as the day progressed, convinced in my own mind that my mother would never cease to meddle in my life.”

Finances the trigger for murder

BUT in a record of interview immediately after his arrest, Matthew told police that the trigger had been a financial dispute.

The argument had been over a family trust property in Surfers Paradise several months earlier, in which he felt he’d been treated differently to other relatives.

“Everybody will probably think it’s about money …and it is about money.

“Not for the use of me getting the money, it’s the way she used her … her power for money. She used it against us all the time.

“She used to manipulate us. She was always sitting there and there was this dominating type of aura about her.

“Sitting back and always thinking that she’s a queen. That’s the way she is.”

I just bottled it up inside for so long

Det-Sgt Van Veenendaal says Matthew’s demeanor lurched from one emotional extreme to the other as he detailed his crime to detectives.

“He was calm … he was upset at times. He was remorseful at times at what he did, and then at other times he was quite angry,” Det-Sgt Van Veenendaal recalls.

I’m the victim – killer tells cops

HE wept as he told police his hostility towards his mother had been with him since childhood

“I have never shown it to her emotionally. I just bottled it up inside for so long.

“I just wanted to get this out of my system.”

He claimed he’d been alienated from the rest of the family by his mother’s “manipulations”.

“I walked through my sister’s house the other day and I realised that everybody else’s photo was up except mine,” he said.

Matthew clearly saw himself as the victim. His brothers and sisters viewed things differently.

“Mum adored Matthew to the stage where we used to call him ‘Golden Boy’ – he could do no wrong in mum’s eyes,” one of his sisters said to police.

They saw him as an indulged youngest child who’d been given more latitude than the rest by their mother, perhaps because he’d been only seven when his parents divorced.

Matthew and his mother fought often over money.

About 18 months before the murders they’d had another big dust-up over funds from a trust Matthew wanted to use for a new business.

Margaret wanted him to put it towards a house.

The conflict was only resolved when Margaret gave in and let Matthew have his own way.

WHILE Matthew saw their fights as his mother’s attempts to stop him achieving financial independence, other family members saw her efforts as those of a woman trying to teach her son lessons he could use to better himself.

“She was an advocate for you, always trying to be positive and build you up,” Supreme Court Justice John Coldrey would later tell him.

But the judge would also note that it was not reality, but Matthew’s perception of it, that was relevant in sentencing him.

Matthew’s IQ was limited at 83, and psychologists reported he was obsessed with the “injustices” he had suffered at the hands of his mother, whom he felt had never accepted him as an independent man.

This distorted perspective was fuelled by a view of himself as some sort of hero who had to act to protect his wife and child.

In sentencing him to 30 years’ jail with a minimum of 24 years, Justice Coldrey said Matthew had no remorse, “since the elimination of your mother and stepfather represented the consummation of an intensely held ambition”.

Matthew put it more simply when speaking to his father, Brian, in prison shortly after his arrest.

“My motive is clear. Just utter hatred for the couple.”

Case closed – but not for an angry family

April 12 2003

By Ian Munro, Peter Gregory

He is about to be sentenced to 30 years in jail, but Matthew Wales, double murderer and loving husband, presents only a mask of bland passivity.

For more than an hour the man whose head “just kept going bananas” as he bashed his mother and stepfather to death, has shown no emotion, except towards his wife.

Matthew Wales does not look like someone facing the biggest day of his life, and all of it entirely out of his control. He has met Justice John Coldrey’s words with a steady gaze, shifting only to reach for his wife’s hand and to try to make eye contact.

Maritza Wales has been sobbing and wiping her eyes beside him since the judge began retelling the facts that brought them here. Her distress does not seem to lessen, even as she is told her jail sentence will be suspended.

If the toll has marked either of them, it is Maritza Wales, who appears drawn and haggard.

While members of the Wales family shake their heads in disbelief, Justice Coldrey tells Maritza Wales he is entirely satisfied that her husband acted alone in killing Margaret Wales-King, 69, and Paul King, 75.

Matthew Wales is sentenced to 20 years in jail on each of two counts of murder, with 10 years of the second count to be served concurrently – a 30-year sentence. He is ordered to serve 24 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Maritza Wales, 39, is given a two-year jail sentence, wholly suspended, for attempting to pervert the course of justice by making a false statement to police. Both had pleaded guilty.

In her statement, Maritza said she and her husband had waved goodbye to Matthew’s mother and stepfather after a family dinner on April 4 last year.

In fact, he had told her he had killed them both.

As a wife and mother, Justice Coldrey says, she was faced with a dreadful conflict between doing the right thing, and her loyalty to her family. There was the fear of losing her husband, and of her son being lost to his father. “I want to make it quite clear that there is no evidence linking Maritza Wales to the murders of Mrs (Margaret) Wales-King and Paul King,” Justice Coldrey says.

Mrs Wales-King’s family, however, want further investigations into the way the couple died.

During the sentencing, Matthew’s brother, Damian Wales, turns repeatedly in his seat to try to confront his younger brother.

Matthew Wales gives every impression of being oblivious.

Outside the Supreme Court Damian says that frustrated family members want a further inquest, claiming there had not been an “investigative-type inquiry”.

“We are just at the mercy of what two people have said, two people who are proven liars, and who are obviously criminals,” Damian Wales says.

The family is concerned that on Matthew Wales’s version of events, he bashed each of his victims on the back of the head with a piece of wood as they walked to their car after the dinner at Matthew and Maritza’s Glen Iris home. He also claimed to have drugged their soup to make them drowsy.

But autopsies suggested the couple had been strangled as well as bashed, and that their injuries were not restricted to blows to the back of the head.

In a prepared statement, the family said the court process was not intended to uncover the full facts of the case and cause of death.

“Tragically, the confession of our brother today stands as the so-called factual account of the details and reasons behind these brutal crimes,” the statement said.

“To us, his account was self-serving and based on selfish opportunity and selfish greed. We believe we have a right to the full facts. We believe the public has a right to know.”

Outside court, Detective Inspector Andrew Allen of the homicide squad says the case is closed as far as the homicide investigators are concerned. The police inquiry was thorough and conclusive.

“If the family want to take that issue up, I’m sure they can deal with the Director of Public Prosecutions over that,” he says.

Intense public interest has brought spectators to the court long before Justice John Coldrey delivers his 90-minute sentencing.

He notes that neck and head injuries found on the couple would have caused unconsciousness, but not death, according to a pathologist. There were also signs of asphyxiation, consistent either with strangling or being placed face down in soft soil.

Justice Coldrey says the prosecution had pointed out that it would have been a considerable coincidence had both victims asphyxiated while lying face down. He makes no finding about the specific causes of death, or the time it took for the couple to die after the beatings.

Justice Coldrey says Matthew Wales had told police that anger had built up in him for years over what he saw as his mother’s use of money to manipulate him.

Lawyers for Matthew Wales had presented evidence showing Margaret Wales-King as manipulating, controlling or dominating her children through the use of money.

But ultimately she was preserving her money for her children, the judge says.

“Family members also make it clear that their upbringing in which you, Matthew Wales, participated, was a privileged one involving access to several farms, a beach house, a unit at the snow and the benefit of a number of overseas trips,” he says.

Justice Coldrey said Matthew felt no remorse for the killings and had told a psychiatrist he felt his actions were morally justified.

He had told his natural father, Brian Wales, during a conversation at the Port Phillip Prison in May last year: “My motive is clear. Just utter hatred for the couple which I have had for the past eight years.”

Justice Coldrey rejected Matthew’s assertion that Paul King had molested him.

Intelligence tests showed that Matthew Wales had an IQ of 83, below 88 per cent of those in his age group.

The evidence showed the killings came from his obsession and bore the hallmarks of a poorly thought-out solo enterprise.

He says the premeditated murders of elderly and vulnerable victims were followed by a persistent and systematic attempt to avoid detection.

“Moreover, your lies and dissembling conduct . . . have caused your relatives . . . an added level of distress and anguish,” Justice Coldrey said.

Matthew, with his four siblings, was to inherit an equal share of his mother’s estate, believed to have been worth more than $5 million.

As a prisoner, he will be required to work for $6 a day.

Society murderer’s wife guilty

Julia Medew

February 20, 2007

Maritza Wales, the wife of “society murders” killer Matthew Wales, has received a suspended jail sentence for stealing an $8000 ring from the changing rooms of a suburban Melbourne pool last year.

The 43-year-old mother-of-one pleaded guilty to one count of theft and another of obtaining property by deception at Melbourne Magistrates Court today.

The court heard Ms Wales – who reverted back to her maiden name of Pizarro for her court appearance – found the rose gold engagement ring on the changing room floor at the Kew Recreation Centre on July 15 last year.

She later pawned the ring at a Cash Converters store in Smith Street, Collingwood, for $400.

The owner of the ring found it in the store a week later after conducting her own investigation, and alerted police, who traced the paperwork back to Ms Wales.

Paul Galbally, for Ms Wales, told Magistrate Angela Bolger that it was a case of “theft by finding”, which meant Ms Wales’ criminality was of the lower threshold.

But Ms Bolger described the act as “remarkably foolish” before sentencing Ms Wales to six weeks’ jail, suspended for 12 months.

Matthew Wales, 39, is serving a 30-year jail sentence, with a 24-year minimum, for murdering his mother, Margaret Wales-King, 68, and stepfather, Paul King, 75, in 2002.

The former Glen Iris hairdresser pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in 2003 during a dramatic court case that mesmerised Melbourne and later became the subject of a successful book and telemovie, both of which labelled the killings The Society Murders.

Maritza Wales pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice by making a false statement to police. She received a suspended two-year jail sentence.

Mrs Wales-King and Mr King disappeared in April 2002 after a dinner at Matthew and Maritza Wales’ home. The elderly couple’s car was found in Middle Park six days later and their bodies were discovered on April 29 in a shallow bush grave near Marysville.

After their disappearance the Armadale grandparents were frantically sought by members of their family, including Matthew and Maritza, who maintained that it was out of character for the couple to go away without telling anyone.

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3 thoughts on “Matthew Wales- Society Murders

  1. Wow that took ages to format…I remember this crime like it was yesterday, It captivated Melbourne, not sure about the rest of the country. Something about Rich people and tragedy I think!

    Like this

  2. Pingback: High Profile Criminals Pages « Aussie Criminals and Crooks

  3. I have just finished reading Matthew Wales’ book “Warts And All” as told to fellow inmate Doug ??
    Not for one second do I condone murder however his story is an interesting one! HIs siblings have seemed to have forgotten their genuine dislike of Paul King and their love/hate relationship with their mother.
    This book hi-lights the unproven paternity of Matthew Wales. It seems that Paul King was in fact his biological father, this came as an obvious shock to Matthew particularly given Paul had molested Matthew as a child at the family property/farm (Lardners Track I think…)!!!
    It may pay for some of us to revisit why in fact, Matthew committed such a heinous act for what has incarcerated him for 30 years and left a massive hole in the life of his son Damian and much loved & admired wife, Maritza.
    Just saying…

    Like this

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