Serial killer dies in hospital heart attack

IF HELL exists, then Leonard John Fraser is now there for eternity. The Rockhampton serial killer died yesterday after suffering a heart attack just three hours and 20 minutes into the New Year. He was 55. Word of his death at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Secure Unit in Brisbane reverberated around Rockhampton and was quick to reach former Rockhampton CIB chief Geoff Barton, who was in charge of the Fraser case. "I think the whole community will be greatly relieved," the former Detective Senior Sergeant said, describing Fraser as a "monster" and "predator". Fraser was Queensland's first and most notorious convicted serial killer. "He was such a violent and callous individual," Mr Barton said. "You know I think of the families of the girls (Fraser killed) who will never be returned to their loved ones. "He (Fraser) was someone the community can do without. "(His death) is going to save taxpayers a hell of a lot of money." The death of Rockhampton's biggest monster comes just days after the execution of one of history's great tyrants, Saddam Hussein. Fraser was admitted to hospital on Boxing Day after experiencing chest pains while in his cell at the Wolston Correctional Centre, and had been receiving coronary care. He was serving four indefinite life terms after killing four Rockhampton women between December 1998 and April 1999. They were Sylvia Benedetti, 19, Beverley Leggo, 36, Julie Turner, 39, and nine-year-old Keyra Steinhardt as she walked home from school. Fraser killed them all in cold blood, using extreme levels of violence to do so and sexually assaulting at least Keyra. Fraser had also been charged with the murder of runaway teenager Natasha Ryan until she sensationally emerged from hiding during his trial. Former criminal turned author Allan Quinn described Fraser as an untreatable psychopath. Fraser spent most of his life in jail after being convicted of four rapes between 1974 and 1985. Mr Barton, now retired from the police force, said no-one would be able to forget Fraser's appetite for preying on the vulnerable. "Even in 20 years time, anyone that had anything to do with that case will not be able to put his name out of their mind," he said. Commenting yesterday on Fraser's death, Premier Peter Beattie said: "I don't think there will be a great deal of sympathy for him. "His crimes were horrific and while no one likes to see someone pass away ... I don't think there will be a lot of grieving over his passing. "I don't think anyone will be shedding any tears." A Corrective Services spokeswoman said police would investigate Fraser's passing as standard procedure for a death in custody. The office of the State Coroner will decide if a full coronial inquest will be conducted.

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