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Leonard John FRASER

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


A.K.A.: "The Rockhampton Rapist"
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 4 +
Date of murders: 1998 - 1999
Date of arrest: April 22, 1999
Date of birth: June 27, 1951
Victims profile: Sylvia Benedetti, 19 / Beverly Leggo, 36 / Julie Turner, 39 / Keyra Steinhardt, 9
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment on June 13, 2003. Died in prison on January 1, 2007
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Leonard John Fraser also known as "The Rockhampton Rapist" (June 27, 1951 January 1, 2007) was an Australian convicted serial killer.

Fraser was born in Ingham, Queensland.

Crimes

He was jailed for the abduction and murder of nine-year-old Rockhampton girl Keyra Steinhardt in 1999. He had previously served a period in jail for rape. He was subsequently charged with four murders. Police found many trophies of his victims in his flat and ponytails from three different women, which could not be traced to any of his known victims.

One alleged victim, however, Natasha Ryan, was eventually found to be alive and living secretly with her boyfriend after being missing for five years.

In 2003, he was sentenced to three indefinite prison terms for the murders of Beverley Leggo and Sylvia Benedetti, and the manslaughter of Julie Turner in the Rockhampton area in 1998 and 1999.

At his trial, the judge described him as a sexual predator who was a danger to the community and his fellow inmates

Death

Fraser was being held at the Wolston Correctional Centre and, after complaining of chest pains, he was taken to a secure section of the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Woolloongabba, on December 26, 2006, where he subsequently died of a heart attack on January 1, 2007.

Media

Fraser's murders are the focus of the Crime Investigation Australia series 2 episode The Predator: Leonard John Fraser.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

Serial killer death investigated

January 11, 2007

THE Queensland Coroner has conducted a routine investigation into the death of serial killer Leonard John Fraser, but the results have not been released. Fraser, who was serving three indefinite jail terms, died on January 1 after suffering a heart attack in a secure unit at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The 55-year-old murderer had been transferred there on Boxing Day after complaining of chest pains while in his jail cell. A spokeswoman for the state coroner said that as Fraser had died in custody, it was defined under the Coroner's Act as a reportable death, and as such it had been subject to a routine investigation. It is unknown whether Fraser's family has now formally requested the coroner to release Fraser's body for burial.

In 2003, a Supreme Court jury convicted Fraser for the murders of Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and Beverly Leggo, 36, as well as the manslaughter of Julie Turner, 39. Fraser had already been given an indefinite sentence for the rape and murder of nine-year-old schoolgirl Keyra Steinhardt in April 1999.

The killings took place in the central Queensland city of Rockhampton between December 1998 and April 1999. Crime experts say more murders were likely to be linked to Fraser, including the death of hitchhiker Sandy Lawrence in an abandoned crocodile zoo in north Queensland.

Fraser also allegedly spoke of the murder of a 17-year-old girl whose throat he had cut in a Kings Cross street in the early 1970s and of murdering two women hitchhikers in separate incidents in NSW also in the 1970s. He was charged with murdering teenager Natasha Ryan, who later made headlines when she was found alive during his murder trial.

 
 

Fraser 'likely to have killed more'

January 2, 2007

Brutal Queensland serial killer Leonard John Fraser probably took the secrets of several unsolved murders to his grave, says a leading criminologist.

The 55-year-old Fraser, who was serving three indefinite jail terms, died early on Monday after suffering a heart attack in a secure unit at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital. He had been transferred there on Boxing Day after complaining of chest pains while in his cell at the Wolston Correctional Centre on the city's outskirts.

In 2003, a Supreme Court jury convicted Fraser for the murders of Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and Beverly Leggo, 36, as well as the manslaughter of Julie Turner, 39. Fraser was already serving an indefinite sentence for the rape and murder of nine-year-old schoolgirl Keyra Steinhardt in April 1999.

All the killings took place at Rockhampton, in central Queensland, between December 1998 and April 1999. But Bond University professor of criminology and forensic psychology Paul Wilson says more murders were likely to be linked to Fraser. "He was somebody who clearly revelled in or loved killing and also demonstrating how much of a killer he was," Prof Wilson said. "We know that from the fact that he talked to the informer police had in prison with him for so long." It was likely, he said, that Fraser was responsible for more murders of women but police would have a difficult time solving them now. "It's very unlikely he has been caught for all the murders he has committed," Prof Wilson said. Asked if Fraser was Queensland's worst killer, he said: "I can't think of a worse one. "He certainly displayed all the characteristics of a dangerous psychopath."

Keyra Steinhardt's father, Blair Crewther, told ABC Radio that Fraser's death had brought some closure. "I'm actually rather glad that he's now gone," Mr Crewther said. "I think it's now actually going to let me get on with my life. It's been an emotional roller-coaster ride for the last seven years and I think it's finally time to get off." The Courier-Mail newspaper has reported Fraser had claimed to have murdered hitchhiker Sandy Lawrence in an abandoned crocodile zoo in north Queensland. Detectives spent days digging up the grounds but found no remains.

Fraser also allegedly spoke of the murder of a 17-year-old girl whose throat he had cut in a Kings Cross Street in the early 1970s and of murdering two women hitchhikers in separate incidents in NSW in the 1970s. Some Rockhampton detectives also believe he had a hand in the murder of 21-year-old Rockhampton woman Michelle Coral Lewis who disappeared on January 14, 1989.

But Fraser's lawyer Peter Shields said his client maintained his innocence until the end. He said the system failed his client, who was initially jailed in the 1970s for rape and then released without psychiatric support. "What use is there in putting people in jail if they're not going to be treated?" he said. Fraser was also charged with murdering teenager Natasha Ryan who later made headlines when she was found alive during his murder trial.

 
 

Serial killer's death lets victim's dad move on

January 2, 2007

The father of a murdered central Queensland schoolgirl says the death of her killer will help give him some closure. Leonard John Fraser died in a Brisbane hospital yesterday after suffering a heart attack on Boxing Day.

He was serving indefinite prison terms over the deaths of Rockhampton's Keyra Steinhardt, 9, and three local women in the late 1990s.

Keyra's father, Blair Crewther, says he has no sympathy for Fraser. "Basically a new start for a new year, it feels right," he said. "I've had a lot of people say that they would like to have actually seen him be in jail a lot longer, for the rest of his natural life," he said. "I'm actually rather glad that he's now gone. I think it's now actually going to let me get on with my life. It's been an emotional roller coaster ride for the last seven years and I think it's finally time to get off."

Fraser's lawyer says he maintained his innocence until the end. Peter Shields says the system failed his client, who was initially jailed in the 1970s for rape and released without psychiatric support. "What use is there in putting people in jail if they're not going to be treated?" he said. "There needs to be another system invoked if it be a hospital, but we really need to look at what we're actually doing to persons when we put them in prison because they're not coming out better people."

Meanwhile, Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow says Fraser's death will not ease the pain felt by his victim's families. Councillor Strelow says there is little reason for anyone to celebrate his death. "There's probably a sense of closure for some people, but the suffering that Len Fraser caused is going to go on for a very long time," she said. "He was already incarcerated, I'm not going to rejoice over the death of anyone, however much pain he caused, but certainly it's going to mean that a lot of that pain will be brought back fresh again to family and loved ones."

 
 

Queensland serial killer dies in hospital

January 1, 2007

QUEENSLAND'S first and most notorious convicted serial killer has died in a Brisbane hospital after suffering a heart attack in his cell. Leonard John Fraser, 55, was first given an indefinite life sentence for the rape and murder of nine-year-old schoolgirl Keyra Steinhardt.

Fraser grabbed the girl off the street as she walked to school in April 1999. In 2003 he was also convicted of the murders of Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and Beverly Leggo, 36, and the manslaughter of Julie Turner, 39.

The jury heard that Fraser showed police where Ms Turner's remains were but that they could not find her head. It heard that Ms Leggo had been strangled with her bra and underpants. All were killed in Rockhampton between December 1998 and April 1999.

Fraser was sentenced to another three indefinite life terms. He had also had been charged with the murder of teenager Natasha Ryan but that was dropped when she sensationally emerged from hiding during the trial.

Queensland Corrective Services said Fraser died after having a cardiac arrest about 3.20am yesterday at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital. He was taken there on Boxing Day after having chest pains at the Wolston Correctional Centre. "I don't think there will be a great deal of sympathy for him," Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said yesterday. "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 the death as standard procedure and the coroner would decide whether an inquest was needed.

 
 

Secrets Taken To Grave

By Paula Doneman - Courier Mail

January 1, 2007

SERIAL killer Leonard John Fraser may have taken the truth about the deaths of up to five women to his grave.

Fraser, 55, who was serving four indefinite life sentences for killing three Rockhampton women and a schoolgirl, died in his sleep after going into a cardiac arrest in the secure unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital on New Year's Eve.

The convicted serial rapist had been admitted a week ago after suffering a heart attack in his cell at Brisbane's Wolston Correctional Centre.

While there was no confession before his death at 4am yesterday, Fraser has previously claimed he murdered up to five other women during his criminal career, which spanned 30 years and two states.

He made the claims to a prisoner turned police informant and a homicide detective during a 2001 investigation by Taskforce Alex into the disappearances of four Rockhampton women.

At the time of the investigation, Fraser was serving an indefinite life sentence for the 1999 murder of Rockhampton schoolgirl Keyra Steinhardt, 9.

Fraser claimed he murdered a hitchhiker by the name of Sandy Lawrence in an abandoned crocodile zoo in north Queensland in 1982.

Fraser also spoke of the murder of his 17-year-old Aboriginal girlfriend, claiming she had her throat cut in the back streets of Kings Cross in the early 1970s.

The taskforce recorded Fraser on a listening device saying he murdered two female hitchhikers in separate incidents in the Port Macquarie area in NSW in the 1970s.

He said he had returned to the area to find their skeletal remains still intact.

Some detectives remain convinced that Fraser had a hand in the murder of Rockhampton woman Michelle Coral Lewis, 21, who disappeared on the night of January 14, 1989, after leaving a friend's home in north Rockhampton.

Fraser, who was in "secure custody" at a Rockhampton jail at the time, was known to frequent the area and had buried his pet dog, which he killed after having sex with it, on the road where she vanished.

Taskforce Alex investigated the claims but could not find enough evidence.

Chief Superintendent Graham Rynders, who headed Taskforce Alex, said he hoped Fraser's death would bring closure to the families of his victims.

"It is the end of a very sad chapter of Queensland's criminal history and hopefully one that will never be repeated," he said.

Another mystery that may go unsolved surrounds three ponytails of human hair found in Fraser's bedroom when he was arrested for the Steinhardt murder.

Forensic testing in Australia and the US failed to match the hair to any of his murder victims or missing persons in Australia.

Police suspect Fraser had kept them as trophies.

In 2003, he became Queensland's first convicted serial killer when a jury found him guilty of murdering Rockhampton women Beverley Leggo, 36, and Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and the manslaughter of Julie Turner, 39.

He also had been charged with murdering teenager Natasha Ryan, who later made headlines when she was found alive during Fraser's murder trial.

Paula Doneman is also the author of Fraser's unofficial biography Things a Killer Would Know.

 
 


 

Bid lost to overturn his convictions

2004_04_02

Serial killer Leonard Fraser has lost a bid to overturn his convictions for a four month killing spree in Queensland.

The 51-year-old, whose trial captured world headlines when one of his four alleged victims turned up alive, will remain in jail indefinitely.

Fraser was found guilty by a Brisbane Supreme Court jury last April of murdering Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and Beverly Leggo, 36, and of the manslaughter of Julie Turner, 39, in Rockhampton between December 1998 and early April 1999.

He was sentenced to three indefinite jail terms.

Queensland's Court of Appeal dismissed Fraser's application to overturn the convictions on the grounds he was not given a fair trial.

Fraser's trial last year was thrown into disarray after Rockhampton teenager Natasha RYAN was found hiding in a cupboard.

Fraser had also been charged with her murder.

The teenager, who has since reunited with her family but faces charges of causing a false investigation, was discovered living with her boyfriend Scott Black.

The discovery led to calls for Fraser's trial to be aborted. Fraser was convicted of two counts of murder and one of manslaughter after evidence from his prison "buddy" Alan Quinn about jailhouse confessions.

Quinn had convinced Fraser to show police where he dumped his victims' bodies.

Justice De Jersey and Justices Geoffrey Davies and Ken Mackenzie rejected Fraser's argument that the jury should not have been told of his previous conviction for murdering Keyra Steinhart.

 
 

Fraser guilty verdict

Kim Landers - Abc.net.au

9/5/2003

After one of the most sensational murder trials in Australian history, Leonard John Fraser has been found guilty of killing three women in the Rockhampton area in 1998 and 1999. Fraser is already serving a life sentence for the murder of school girl Keyra Steinhardt. The Supreme Court jury found Fraser guilty of murdering Sylvia Benedetti and Beverly Leggo and of the manslaughter of Julie Turner. He'd been charged with murdering another girl, Natasha Ryan, but that was dropped when she was found alive, in hiding for nearly five years.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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