Bradley Richard Kerrisk went missing in June 1983.
Bradley Richard Kerrisk went missing in June 1983. ROK251014kerrisk

Five shocking crimes that changed Rockhampton forever

LATER this month, celebrity medium clairvoyant Rayleen Kable will conduct a "ghost hunt" in Rockhampton.

Ahead of her visit to the region, The Morning Bulletin looks back at five crimes which horrified Central Queensland.

 

GAZETTE SHOT: left to right, Sergeant James Julian, Constable Patrick William Cahill, Constable John Francis Power and Gold Commissioner Thomas John Griffin. The two Native Mounted Police standing at the back are not named. c1867

Photo Contributed
GAZETTE SHOT: left to right, Sergeant James Julian, Constable Patrick William Cahill, Constable John Francis Power and Gold Commissioner Thomas John Griffin. The two Native Mounted Police standing at the back are not named. c1867 Photo Contributed Contributed

Head severed and stolen after infamous police murder

It's one of the region's most shocking and sensational crimes.

In November 1867, a convoy left Rockhampton on horseback, carrying 4000 pounds of gold.

Gold Commissioner Thomas Griffin offered to join two young Constables, John Powell and Patrick Cahill, on the journey to Clermont.

But he had a sinister motive.

He allegedly planned to ride only as far as Mackenzie River, steal the money and make it look like the crime of a bushranger.

On the night of November 5, it's believed Griffin poisoned the two officers' drinks and, in the early hours of November 6, shot them.

Griffin rode back to Rockhampton, burying the gold on his journey.

The bodies of the murdered officers were found decomposed, but native police wrapped them in paperbark and buried them on the banks of the Mackenzie River.

Suspicion was soon cast on Griffin and 1868 he was found guilty in the Rockhampton Supreme Court.

But the sensation didn't end at the gallows on June 1.

On June 9, it was reported Griffin's grave had been opened and his head severed and stolen.

While a reward was offered for the stolen head, it was never located.

 

Mima McKim-Hill at the Railway Ball in 1964
Mima McKim-Hill at the Railway Ball in 1964

Murder of Mima McKim-Hill

On March 9, 1967 it is believed Mima was abducted near Calliope, sexually assaulted, murdered and left in bushland near Biloela. She was just 21 years old.

The unsolved events that day have haunted her friend and former co-worker Shirley Eldridge for decades, leading her to document the original story and findings of a second investigation her book; Mima, a Case of Abduction, Rape and Murder.

In 2009 police named the killer, a South Australian tanker driver who had been in the Gladstone area on March 9, 1967.

However, he died about six weeks prior to the detectives' planned visit, and no one has ever been convicted for the murder.

There are hopes new evidence could be enough to activate a second coronial inquest into her murder.

 

The story published in the Morning Bulletin about Mima McKim-Hill's death.
The story published in the Morning Bulletin about Mima McKim-Hill's death.

Fate of missing man remains a mystery

Bradley Richard Kerrisk was 30 when he vanished on Friday, June 24 1983.

He was last seen at 9.05pm, getting into his Ford Telstar sedan, registered number 991-OQC, at the Callaghan Park Racecourse, Rockhampton.

Police found his vehicle parked outside the Balmoral Hotel (now known as the Archer Hotel) on Port Curtis Rd at 10.20pm.

The well-known part-time bookmaker's penciller was believed to be carrying large amounts of money at the time he disappeared, with some estimates putting it at $30,000.

However, the man who headed the taskforce investigating the case told The Morning Bulletin in 1990 he believed it to be between $11,000 and $12,000.

It's understood Kerrisk may have also been dealing drugs and his death could be linked to those activities.

His disappearance sparked lengthy searches in Balmoral, Gavial Creek and Woolwash areas, as well as scrubland near Emu Park Rd.

Investigators believe he was murdered and in 2014 put up a $250,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

If you have information, contact Brisbane's Homicide Investigation Group on 3364 6122, any police station, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

Historic: Politicians
Rex Pilbeam always had his eyes on the road ahead.

Photo Morning Bulletin Archives
Historic: Politicians Rex Pilbeam always had his eyes on the road ahead. Photo Morning Bulletin Archives Morning Bulletin Archives

Iconic mayor shot by his mistress

There are many reasons Rockhampton's longest-serving mayor will be remembered, but surviving an attempted murder is perhaps the most sensational.

On June 8, 1953, Pilbeam was shot in the chest by his mistress.

When police were told of the shooting, they immediately interviewed Pilbeam as he recovered in hospital.

Detectives found a woman's sweater and tyre tracks where a car had parked about 100m from the scene in North St.

Police went to a Livingstone St home where a woman answered the door.

Officers caught a glimpse of her adult daughter, Jean Jennings, heading toward the back of the house.

 

ROK-pilbeam1   Former Rockhampton Mayor Rex Pilbeam.   Photo Supplied.
ROK-pilbeam1 Former Rockhampton Mayor Rex Pilbeam. Photo Supplied.

When they followed her, they found a .22 calibre revolver in the pocket of her dressing gown.

Jennings was sentenced to two years' prison in August 1953 for attempting to kill the mayor.

It was revealed to the court that Pilbeam and Jennings had a romantic relationship, with Pilbeam sending love letters which she later used to blackmail him.

Politician behind bars for sex crimes

Although this isn't about murder, Keith Wright's crime were just as horrific and his public standing made them notorious.

 

Convicted paedophile and former Rockhampton politician Keith Wright has died in Vietnam.
Convicted paedophile and former Rockhampton politician Keith Wright has died in Vietnam. ROK130114wright

The former Capricornia MP was convicted in the Brisbane Magistrates Court of rape and five counts of indecently dealing with teenage girls in October 1993.

In November, 1994, the one-time State Opposition Leader was also found guilty of three charges of indecently dealing with a girl when she was aged 16 and 11.

From the two trials, he was sentenced to nine years' jail.

He died in Vietnam in 2015.



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