Berrimah jail’s most famous residents and criminals


Bradley John Murdoch arrives under police escort at Darwin Airport. Picture: PATRINA MALO

Bradley John Murdoch arrives under police escort at Darwin Airport. Picture: PATRINA MALONE

BERRIMAH prison, described in 2011 as “only fit for a bulldozer”, is finally closing, with the last prisoners transferred on Friday.

Since it was built in 1979, the prison has been home to some of the Territory’s most notorious criminals.

Originally built for about 100 prisoners, the jail’s population swelled to nearly 800 as successive governments took hard-line approaches to crime and sentencing.

In its 35 years, the prison became increasingly dilapidated and overcrowded. Prisoners complained of rotten food and hot, overcrowded, rat-infested cells.

By the time the former Labor government announced the $500 million prison in Holtze, the legal community, human rights advocates and prisoners were heaping criticism on the jail.

In its final years, it saw repeated breakouts, riots and deaths.

NT Ombudsman Carolyn Richards, noted in 2011 that the rat problem was so bad that one inmate was bitten on the scrotum in his sleep.

Former NT Supreme Court Chief Justice Dean Mildren said in 2011 that the prison failed to meet international standards, with Correctional Services Commissioner Ken Middlebrook saying it should be bulldozed.

Instead, the prison will be refitted at a cost of $800,000 and transformed into a detention centre for the NT’s juvenile offenders.

1. Bradley Murdoch

CONVICTED in 2005 of the 2001 execution-style murder of British traveller Peter Falconio, Bradley Murdoch is serving a life sentence with a 28-year non-parole period.

Previously convicted in WA for firing a rifle at a group of Aborigines in Fitzroy Crossing, and with racist insignia tattooed on his arms, Murdoch will be at least 74 when he is released, and has been moved back and forth between Berrimah and Alice Springs prisons.

2. Lindy Chamberlain

THE Chamberlain trial was the most publicised in Australian history.

When Lindy and Michael Chamberlain’s two-month-old daughter Azaria was taken by a dingo at Uluru in 1980, police launched a murder investigation, claiming that Lindy slit her daughter’s throat and left the body in nearby scrub.

The jury found her guilty and sentenced her to life, with appeals going all the way to the High Court. The chance discovery of further evidence near Uluru led to her release in 1986.

3. Douglas Scott

DOUGLAS Scott was 26 when he was found hanged in his cell on July 5, 1985.

His widow, Letty, spent decades pushing for a proper investigation into his death, which sparked the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

A coronial inquiry and the Royal Commission both found that Scott had committed suicide, a claim Letty rejected until her death in 2009.

4. Douglas Crabbe

IN AUGUST 1983, Douglas Crabbe, then 36, drove his 25-tonne truck into a crowded bar near Uluru, killing five.

After two trials in Darwin, Crabbe was sentenced to mandatory life in prison, and married his wife, Mary, in a secret wedding ceremony inside Berrimah in 1988.

5. The Pine Gap 4

THE group of four Christian pacifists staged an illegal “citizen’s inspection” of the US/Australia spy facility at Pine Gap, in 2005, and were charged under obscure national security legislation dating back to the 1950s.

Bryan Law, Donna Mulhearn, Jim Dowling and Adele Goldie trekked for seven hours to reach Pine Gap, sneaked in and took photos of themselves on the roof. They were issued fines and spent a week in Berrimah after refusing to pay.

6. Andy Albury

ALBURY, the closest thing Australia has to Hannibal Lecter, was convicted of the gruesome murder of Gloria Pindan on Mitchell St in November 1983. One of only two men in the NT who will never be released from prison, the former abattoir worker is the prime suspect in 14 unsolved murders in Queensland.

7. Martin Leach

IN JUNE 1983, Leach stabbed and raped Charmaine Ariet and killed her cousin Janice Carnegie near Berry Springs. Along with Andy Albury, Leach will never be released.

In Berrimah prison in 1988, he tried to kill pedophile John Michael Knox with a garden hoe. He was found not guilty on grounds of insanity.

8. Daniel Heiss

HEISS served 23 years in jail, mostly in Berrimah, for shooting dead Peter Robinson in 1990, after Robinson first fired at Heiss. He was known for two audacious escapes.

9. Shonky

NICHOLAS “Shonky” Cassidy, a former Hells Angel, hit Andy Griffiths with his ute, before dumping the body in June 2011. He was sentenced to two years with a 14-month non-parole period, and will have to serve an additional 15 months because the crime was committed while on parole.

10. Ben McLean and Phu Ngoc Trinh

The childhood friends were found guilty of murder after throwing two sex workers off the Adelaide River bridge, into croc-infested waters in 2004. They were sentenced to life, with non-parole periods of 25 years.

8 thoughts on “Berrimah jail’s most famous residents and criminals

  1. Now here is a dashing spare no expenses $76 million upgrade annexe to the existing $670.4 million existing H.M.Loddon prison – with a very nice rose garden- self contained village style units or private air conditioned cells in the purpose built – Criminal Retirement Village country Club Correctional Prison, that the Northern Territory Correctional Services and their Government could only drool over and inspire them to spend up big on the taxpayers money to out do and upgrade and build to the likes of this! – University of crime and rehabilitation clinic! – ” Look up on Goggle.” Who said crime doesn’t pay!… Without a doubt the best Correctional Prison in Australia!…

    New 236-bed unit opens at Loddon Prison. &
    Completion of Loddon Prison Middleton Annexe/Kane
    Loddon Prison /P.J.Hollingworth.
    Castlemaine Independent Groaning with Jails.
    Loddon Prison and Hopkins Correctional Centre Expansion.
    Loddon Prison -CPE Landscaping.
    Loddon Prison Precinct – Corrections, Prison& Parole…
    New Recruits – Loddon’s new prison officers report for duty…
    Hello, can anyone give me information about Loddon prison.

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  2. Thanks guys, if it was legally possible to gain public access to any of the Correctional services thousands of thick pages and pages, most now on computer records as well, of the prior records of every Australian current serving dangerous criminal in Aussie jails, it would be some interesting reading on the horrible crimes that many of them committed, of which the public never fully hears about.
    That Bradley John Murdock, is a scary bloke, who knows how many crimes he got away with for years, before the Barrow Creek Northern Territory – Peter Falconio murder and if his girlfriend Joanne Leeds wasn’t able to stay keep hidden from Murdock , she would have been murdered to. That would have been horrifying what these victims went through. Bradley Murdock has said he didn’t murder Mr Falconio. He is as creepy and dangerous a killer as Ivan Milat, in my opinion. The movie Wolf Creek, played by Aussie actor John Jarratt, is loosely based a bit on the likes of Bradley Murdock and Ivan Milat. Although it is not a fully true shoots, stalks, hunts and kills people for the thrill of it!…
    This is not my view in anyway, I think he did the murder, but there is a -” facebook site “Free Bradley Murdock-He deserves a Re-Trial Community”, with many posts, that think he is innocent, and the whole kidnapping – murder was a set-up by the victims and corrupt police and so on conspiracy theory!… It never ceases to amaze me how the do-gooders and critics always find the perpetrator innocent of these type of worse crimes !… Having said that, he could be innocent of this murder, but his looks could kill and his take no shit, swagging walk aggressive attitude behaviour when he was arrested ,and in prison custody doesn’t appear to someone behaving like their harmless and framed for murder!…
    “Bradley Murdock from behind bars”- Sunday Night Channel 7- Yahoo!7 TV. – Murdock makes explosive claims from behind bars…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gullable tourists some think Australia is a relatively safe place to travel around thats so far from the truth its notorious for murders. The facebook site for Murdoch is probably family shit sticks.

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