Sylvia Benedetti, Beverley Leggo, Julie Turner, and Natasha Ryan.

PREDATOR: Conversations with a killer to find missing women

This is the third in a five-part series. Read Part 1: Key to My Heart and Part 2: Filthy Animal.

WHEN we think of the people who catch serial killers, it's usually units of armed police or maybe one of those charismatic television detectives. It's not little girls.

Yet 9-year-old Keyra Steinhardt did stop a killer. Her death revealed a twisted and sadistic person had lived among us, preying on vulnerable women who had vanished from our streets.

But Keyra isn't the only unlikely hero of this story. There's someone else who helped give voices to the victims, who spent years recording his conversations with a killer to find justice for the families of the missing.


In the late 1990s, an average of 30,000 people were reported missing in Australia each year. Only a fraction of cases were linked to criminal activity.

Escaping unhealthy family situations, suicidal intentions, mental health issues; there are dozens of reasons people join a list which leaves so many unanswered questions.

There were, however, four cases in Rockhampton which caught the attention of police prior to Leonard John Fraser's brazen attack on Keyra in April 1999 as she walked home from school.

The first disappearance was Natasha Ryan, 14. She was last seen walking her dog on July 12, 1998, near her family home in Frenchville.

Natasha had run away from home before but hadn't stayed away long. This time seemed different and there was no indication she'd planned to leave.

Police and the SES conducted several searches around Rockhampton and parents Jenny and Robert made public pleas for her safe return, but there was no trace of Natasha.

The second person to disappear was Julie Turner, 39. She was a mother and grandmother, originally from Townsville.

Her adult children and friends later described her as someone "full of energy" who never had a bad word to say about anyone.

Julie was last seen leaving a nightclub called Airport Liberties in Rockhampton's CBD on December 28, 1998.

A few minutes before midnight, she withdrew $50 from an ATM. She was never seen again.

The third woman who vanished was Beverley Leggo, 36. Beverley had moved to Rockhampton from Gympie, where her parents Arthur and Doris lived.

Sadly, her mother died a few years ago but her father Arthur still lives there. Although he gave us his blessing to write about Beverley, he didn't want to be involved.

Beverley was last seen at a Bank of Queensland branch in Rockhampton's CBD around 10.30am on March 1, 1999. The manager was busy, so Beverley was told to come back in an hour. She never returned.

The next day, police found a handbag near a boat ramp on the Fitzroy River, just across the bridge from the CBD.

The bag had been tossed in the river and was weighed down with rocks. It was later found to belong to Beverley.

Apart from Natasha's disappearance, these missing persons reports hadn't aroused too much publicity.

Mid-way through the search for Keyra, seven days before police found her body, The Morning Bulletin published a provocative front-page headline. It simply said Serial Killer?

It was prompted by a new missing persons report: Sylvia Benedetti, 19, had disappeared from the city centre on April 17, 400m from where Julie and Beverley had last been seen. It was five days before Keyra was attacked.

Frazer Pearce was court reporter for the paper at the time and is now editor. He remembers that police were cautious, not wanting to alarm the public. But they shared the concerns.

Especially because there was something which couldn't be published: the thing three of the missing women had in common.

They'd been known to a man called Lenny who used to hang around the Rockhampton CBD picking up cigarette butts.

Julie was from the small town of Mount Morgan, where Fraser had lived for a while after his release from prison in 1997.

Before she went missing, Julie told friends she was sharing a flat with a man called Lenny who she said would give her a better life.

Mount Morgan, just a short drive from Rockhampton, was where Fraser also met Beverley. She was friends with Christine Wraight. That was Fraser's girlfriend at the time he murdered Keyra.

Sylvia's boyfriend, who reported her missing, told police he had last seen her talking to "Lenny the Loon".

There wasn't a defined link with Natasha but she was a student at North Rockhampton High School, in Robinson St. The school oval is directly opposite the vacant block of land where Keyra was attacked.

Police played down the serial killer speculation in the media but Senior Sergeant Carl Burgoyne, one of the lead detectives on Keyra's case, said police were paying close attention to the four missing persons cases.

"You do get people that intentionally make themselves missing for various reasons," he explained. "Domestic violence is a big one where they just flee relationships and don't want to be contacted and drop off the grid.

"But the initial missing people were the subject of active investigation. In fact, there was one investigator tasked with looking into them.

"It was really the Keira Steinhardt matter that was sort of was the square peg that fitted into the square hole that went 'hang on a minute, these are all related' and away it went from there."

A few days after that speculative piece in The Morning Bulletin, Keyra's body was found and Rockhampton was consumed by grief and anger.

As normal life resumed for much of the Rockhampton community, the missing women faded from view.


Blood splatters and other forensic evidence was found at the Queensland Hotel while it was being demolished.
Blood splatters and other forensic evidence was found at the Queensland Hotel while it was being demolished. Morning Bulletin Archives

In June 1999, they came back into focus briefly when construction workers demolishing an old pub in Rockhampton's CBD made a horrifying discovery.

The Queensland Hotel had been abandoned for four years and was being demolished when workers found blood stains in an empty upstairs room.

Those who witnessed what was left of the scene describe it as brutal, with smears of blood on the walls where someone had tried to cover their tracks. Small bone and tissue fragments were also found.

Neil Allen, the worker who made the discovery, told The Morning Bulletin at the time at "there was a fair mess" of blood on the floors and walls.

Police were still tight-lipped about what had been found at the scene and imposed a media ban on officers after inaccurate reports on state-wide TV news.


Blood splatters and other forensic evidence was found at the Queensland Hotel while it was being demolished. Pictured is Trevor Woodeson, one of the demolition crew.
Blood splatters and other forensic evidence was found at the Queensland Hotel while it was being demolished. Pictured is Trevor Woodeson, one of the demolition crew. Morning Bulletin Archives

However, a few days after the initial report, The Morning Bulletin revealed information from an anonymous source saying that clothing found in a refrigerator at the derelict pub had been linked to one of the four missing women.

Again these women slipped from the community's collective conscious as Keyra's murder trial neared.

But the investigations continued behind the scenes.

Rockhampton detectives handed the case over to the Brisbane homicide squad, but they had to bide their time and make sure the case against Fraser was watertight.

In September 2000, Fraser was sentenced to life in prison for Keyra's murder.

That's where our unlikely hero Allan Quinn comes in.

Allan Quinn pictured in Windsor today, was an undercover informant who helped police collect evidence against Queensland Serial Killer, Leonard John Frazer. Picture: David Swift.
Allan Quinn pictured in Windsor today, was an undercover informant who helped police collect evidence against Queensland Serial Killer, Leonard John Frazer. Picture: David Swift. David Swift


Allan Quinn was a conman who'd been convicted and jailed for ripping off million of dollars from people and banks over 30 years. His crimes were serious but carried out with bank statements and paperwork, not a sickening blow to the back of the head.

Allan was in Moreton Correctional Centre near Brisbane. He'd previously been jailed in New South Wales and would later serve time in Victoria too.

Fraser recognised Allan from their time in Paramatta prison together.

Keyra's murder had dominated news headlines, so Allan immediately knew the case but concealed his revulsion over the details.

Because Allan knew there were other women missing in Rockhampton and he was already planning how he could help find them.

After a few months of snatched conversations, the pair started walking the exercise yard together and slowly little details started to slip about the other women.

As soon as Allan started gaining Fraser's trust, he was working with the Brisbane homicide squad.

The detectives investigating the disappearances of Natasha, Julie, Beverley, and Sylvia would come to the prison and meet Allan secretly in the hospital wing under the guise of a check-up.

Several months later, they started sharing a cell.

The homicide squad concealed a listening device inside a typewriter, which Allan told Fraser he was using to write a book.

"I eventually got Lenny (Fraser) to come over to share my cell with me some nights," Allan said.

"He was on the top bunk and I was on the bottom and as I sat there, we'd sit right in front of the word processor and he'd be telling me all the stories of how he murdered and how he killed these people.

"He would give me maps, he would give me fake maps and then he'd tell me information that wasn't true."

It was classic Fraser misdirection, something he became known for among the detectives who had grilled him over Keyra's murder.

In prison, Fraser was the opposite of the brutal predator who had stalked suburban streets.

He had spent his life brutalising women, but he did so with a deliberate attention.

Fraser preyed on vulnerable people, those who weren't as strong as him.

In the prison hierarchy though, he was the lowest of the low.

"His life was under constant threat, 24 hours a day there," Allan said. "The guy was an absolute coward. You'd stand up to him and he'd, he'd be a coward straight away."

Fraser thought that being declared mentally unfit would somehow protect him from the threat of the general prison population.

Allan exploited this, saying Fraser could only be declared unfit if he revealed the full scale of his crimes.

And that, Allan told him, couldn't happen if he kept lying.

"I got that into his head and he eventually started telling me the stories and piecing together the exact truth of what was happening, how he killed all the girls," he said.

Until this point, Allan had been secretly recording Fraser and handing over the information to police in undercover meetings.

But when he started to talk to Fraser about his desire to be declared mentally unfit, Allan came up with a new plan.

He convinced Fraser that he could act as messenger to the police, meaning the killer never found out that Allan had already been sharing information with them for months.

Allan told Fraser he couldn't keep lying and backtracking. Half the things Fraser would come up with while Allan was secretly informing on him had turn out to be false, but there were nuggets of the truth in there that needed to be drawn out.

Allan suggested to Fraser that he take police to the bodies. Fraser agreed on the condition that Allan accompany them too.

Leonard John Fraser arrives in Rockhampton for a court appearance in 2000.
Leonard John Fraser arrives in Rockhampton for a court appearance in 2000. ROK290115fraser6


Police chartered a plane from Brisbane to Rockhampton on December 21, 2001, bringing Fraser back to his old hunting ground again.

Allan was by his side, distracting him with meaningless chat throughout the flight so he didn't have a chance to develop second thoughts.

Once they landed in Rockhampton, Fraser took police to the locations where he had left Julie Turner and Beverley Leggo.

Julie's skeletal remains, skull missing, were in bushland near Kinka Beach.

The site matched maps Fraser had previously drawn and passed onto police.

Beverley's skeletal remains were found in bushland at Nankin Creek. Again, she'd been left out in the open and was naked.

Sylvia Benedetti's skeletal remains had already been found by a member of the public on November 20, 2000.

She was naked, partially buried in the sand at Sandy Point near Farnborough.

Leaving his victims out in the open was a particularly disturbing trait of Fraser's.

He'd done the same with 9-year-old Keyra Steinhardt.

Allan said this was because Fraser was lazy, but there were other more sinister implications in his decision not to bury his victims.

Several people I spoke to while researching suggested Fraser had returned to the bodies of his victims time and time again, although there was no forensic evidence to suggest he interfered with their bodies.

There was some witness testimony that Fraser took a woman and her 13-year-old daughter swimming on April 10, 1999, at a creek less than 20m from where Beverley's body was later found.

Fraser left the mother and daughter swimming alone for some time, after walking off in the direction of where the body was eventually found.

There was just one woman still missing: Natasha Ryan.

But Allan had his doubts over Fraser's involvement in that.

"He said to me on that day, 'I didn't kill her. I don't even know anything about her.'," Allan said.

"This went on for about half an hour, so I gave up on it and I said to the coppers 'I don't think he did kill Natasha Ryan. I see no reason at all why he's been charged with the killing of the nine-year-old, so it wouldn't matter if he admits to another child. He's already be singled out because he's already killed a child'."

He did eventually confess though, drawing detailed maps of where she was buried. But police could never find her body.

Allan Quinn pictured in Windsor today, was an undercover informant who helped police collect evidence against Queensland Serial Killer, Leonard John Frazer. Picture: David Swift.
Allan Quinn pictured in Windsor today, was an undercover informant who helped police collect evidence against Queensland Serial Killer, Leonard John Frazer. Picture: David Swift. David Swift


An informant is the worst person you could ever be in prison, but, as Allan explained, anyone who harms a child is fair game.

"Worst is a child killer, child rapist. They are the worst and I couldn't see any prisoner attacking anybody that found information about a rapist and a person who's killed a child. There's a moral thing, you see?" he said.

"This guy was, to everybody, was the biggest scumbag who had ever walked the earth."

Allan has no doubt there are many more people Fraser murdered who will never be identified. He was careful to pick women whose disappearance wouldn't be suspicious to authorities.

"If anyone believes that Leonard Fraser only killed people in Rockhampton, well, no. He spoke to me day after night after night, day after day about killing people all across the country," Allan said.

"He even told me that he'd been back to see the places but there's been dual carriageways built there ... so they're probably buried under hundreds of tonnes of concrete.

"He's killed people everywhere: in parks in Sydney, he's got away with it all his life. There's probably another 10 or 12 victims he told me about.

"That's all he lived for. He was an absolute creep, a guy that would go out on his own and pick vulnerable people. Vulnerable people and the people that had problems in life.

"They had problems with their social lives and things like this and he got their confidence in some of them and he just took advantage of them and killed them, raped them and killed them.

"To me he's the worst person on earth. I mean, that's all he did. He'd roam around the beaches, he'd go up the walking tracks looking for girls on their own going for a walk and tourists and things like this, he used to tell me.

"He'd drive out on the highways hoping he'd find a girl hitchiking out of town. He'd go to caravan parks at night and look through windows to see if there were women on their own. This is what he'd do: he was just an absolute creep."

Lenny Fraser in Rockhampton. peter pic. Leonard John Fraser. Photo: The Morning Bulletin
Lenny Fraser in Rockhampton. peter pic. Leonard John Fraser. Photo: The Morning Bulletin ROKROK290115fraser7

How do you gain the trust of a person whose actions revolt you, though? That's the dilemma Allan had to work through in those months with Fraser.

Allan explained that he often was horrified by Fraser's confessions, but would have to conceal this and play the part.

"There were times in the cell when you were sitting next to him that I had to hold onto my chair because even the police told me 'Allan I thought you were going to hit him'," he said.

"My hands were holding the chair that tight they were white because when he was telling me how he dealt with and killed Keyra."

Police alleged Fraser had sexually assaulted Keyra, but there was no forensic evidence to confirm this theory and he always maintained he was "not a child molester".

"I just felt like kicking the you know what out of him," Allan said. "But I had to hold the chair to stop me doing it and take a breath and make a cup of coffee and change the subject for a little while and then come back to it. That's how I dealt with all that."

By the time they were sharing a cell, Allan was acutely aware of Fraser's power. He may have been cowardly when confronted by physical strength, but Allan was still careful never to leave his razor out while he slept at night.

There were, however, a few occasions when Allan stood up to Fraser, highlighting why the killer had only ever concentrated on vulnerable victims.

"I actually had a bit of a scuffle with him in the yard once," Allan said.

"I was a very fit person, you know. He was big, but he wasn't as big as me and I was very fit and strong. He said something to me and I just picked him up and threw him against this steel door.

"He hit this door with force and the officers, the prison offers around the other end looked around and went 'don't worry, I saw what you did but we'll pretend we didn't catch you anyway so just forget about it'."

Allan's personal quest to get justice for Fraser's victims became a way of coping with his imprisonment and the fact he was surrounded by very violent criminals.

It wasn't just about seeing Fraser punished. Allan felt compelled to help the families he had seen on television, begging for their missing loved ones to come home.

"I still think at night of all the people who are missing on the highways from Sydney to Rockhampton," Allan said.

"I didn't care about working for police. That wasn't the drive behind it because I wouldn't do nothing for them at that stage.

"I'd had trouble in my life and I didn't owe them anything but I owed myself something so I did this for the victims."

Prison life is a world away for Allan, who has since reformed and built a career as a radio presenter and voice artist in Sydney.

"That life's gone. I had to get that out of my mind because if you're going to dwell on it you're going to send you into depression," he said.

But it is important to dwell on it, at least for some time because what Allan did in prison shouldn't be underestimated.

Allan gave a final voice to women who's lives had been tragically cut short.

I wish I could tell you more about Julie and Beverley and Sylvia in this series. I wish I could tell you what their favourite things were, or their hobbies.

But the very fact that it's so hard to find this information, to find tributes to these women, is why I needed to tell their story again with as much information as we had.

The sad truth is we failed these women. Back then, we failed them because our legal system didn't have the mechanisms to keep a predator like Fraser off the streets.

We failed them in memoriam too, because the women who capture the hearts of a nation are usually the beautiful ones whose disappearances come with tragic stories.

We see their smiling faces plastered over our television screens and social media. Jill Meagher, Stephanie Scott and Allison Baden-Clay. They were attractive, middle class and white. They were the type of women so many of us aspire to be. If this can happen to them we're all at risk.

We failed Julie and Beverley and Sylvia because we let their stories slip from our memory. We forgot that Keyra is the reason we know who killed these women.

There is one more person. But it wouldn't be long before everyone would know Natasha Ryan's name.

PREDATOR PART 4: GIRL IN THE CUPBOARD will be released next Monday. 


This series is based on interviews with Treasa Steinhardt, Snr Sgt Carl Burgoyne, Eddie Cowie, Frazer Pearce and Allan Quinn. Michelle Gately also reviewed original Morning Bulletin reports (with thanks to the History Centre at Rockhampton Library), interview transcripts (provided by Treasa Steinhardt), and court documents.