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Archibald Beattie McCAFFERTY

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


A.K.A.: "Mad Dog"
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: McCafferty claimed at his trial that he had heard the voice of his dead son telling him he would be born again if seven people were killed
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: 1973 / 1982
Date of birth: 1948
Victims profile: George Anson, 50 / Ronald Neil Cox, 42 / Evangelos Kollias, 24 / Edward James Lloyd (fellow prison inmate)
Method of murder: Shooting - Stabbing with knife
Location: Australia
Status: Sentenced to three life sentences in 1974. Released and deported to Scotland on May 1, 1997
 
 

 
 
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A multiple killer who has been in jail in Australia for the past 23 years was to be deported to his native Scotland within the next two weeks. "Mad Dog", who was given three life sentences in 1974 for leading a gang which killed three men in five days, was granted parole on April 20.

The murderous rampage took place five days after his six-week-old son died when his wife fell asleep while breast-feeding and rolled on top of him.

McCafferty claimed at his trial in 1974 that he had heard the voice of his dead son telling him he would be born again if seven people were killed. He remained obsessed with the number seven in prison, writing an autobiography titled "Seven Shall Die."

Eight years after his trial he killed a fellow-prisoner, leaving three killings pending.

However, a parole board judge said that by 1988 "Mad Dog" became a model prisoner. His freedom was granted after his fifth request for parole. Philip Morrice, the British Consul-General, said Britain had no choice but to accept the decision to deport McCafferty, although the prisoner has appealed against the move.

At the hearing McCafferty apologised to relatives of his victims and said he was "out of touch with reality" at the time of the killings. "I realise the chaos and trauma I have created," he said. "I killed three fathers and for that I am truly sorry. If I could give my life to bring your fathers back I would do that gladly." Outside the courtroom, Lesley Cox, the daughter of one of his victims, wept and said she was "frightened and terrified" by the parole decision.

On April 23, 1997 "Mad Dog" lost his last appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal against a deportation order by the Australian government. May 1, McCafferty was escorted onto a plane by two police officers and sent on his way to Scotland, a place he has no desire to live in. Scottish authorities stated that they will have to house him if he returns to Glasgow, but there are fears of a lynch-mob if the public discovers his where-abouts. The victims families believe that he is not a changed-man, and that there is every possibility that he will kill again. 4 down, three to go...


Archibald Beattie McCafferty: The 'Kill Seven' Murders

by Paul B. Kidd


The 'Kill Seven' Murders

When it was announced on April 19, 1997, that serial killer Archibald “Mad Dog” Beattie McCafferty was to be released from prison on parole after serving 23 years in some of Australia’s toughest jails, it sent a shock wave of outrage through the community.

McCafferty’s crimes were immeasurable. To the friends and families of his victims there was no doubt that he deserved to die behind bars which was the recommendation by court-appointed psychiatrists at his trial.

But then the citizens breathed a sigh of relief when a further press release announced that McCafferty was to be deported back to the place of his birth, Scotland. Although Archie had lived in Australia most of his life, it appeared as though he had never taken the time to become an Australian citizen.

Much to the disgust of Scottish authorities, Australia’s prison system had found a loophole to rid itself of one of the most vicious and troublesome killers in its history. But even back in his native Scotland Archie couldn’t stay out of trouble and it wasn’t long before he was back in the courts for breaking the law. 

When Archibald Beattie McCafferty was ten his parents Archie and Clementine migrated to Australia from Scotland to leave behind their bleak working-class existence and start a new life with new hope. The McCaffertys moved first to Melbourne and then to Bass Hill in Sydney’s blue collar western suburbs.

Archie was in trouble with the police from the outset and by the time he was 12 was placed in an institution for stealing, he already had a long record. By the time he was 18 Archie had been in institutions five times and had been classed as an incorrigible juvenile delinquent.

One detective described him as ‘the toughest kid I have ever met’. At 24 he had been in and out of jail many times and had a record of thirty-five convictions that included break, enter and steal, stealing cars, larceny, assault, vagrancy and receiving stolen goods.

However, Archie McCafferty was not considered a violent criminal. His assault charges arose from fist fights with the police but none of his other crimes involved violence. Yet Archie was obsessed with ferocity. He loved movies that overdosed on aggression and brutality. His favourites were A Clockwork Orange and The Godfather.

He saw them many times over and his favourite scene from The Godfather was the one in which Sonny Corleone was riddled with bullets at the tollgates. Though at this stage in his life Archie was not violent toward other people he told a psychiatrist that he enjoyed strangling chickens, dogs and cats to see what it was like.

When Archie fell in love with and married Janice Redington in April 1972 his family prayed that he would at last settle down. The couple had met at a hotel where Janice worked part-time as a switchboard operator. The marriage was only six weeks old when Janice caught her husband in bed with another woman. She wasn't impressed, but Archie's response was so violent it prompted his first visit to a psychiatric hospital.

After discharging himself, Archie threw away his sedatives, started drinking heavily and took out all of his aggression on his wife. Although Janice was pregnant, Archie would repeatedly bash her when he was drunk, which was most nights. He would press his thumbs against her windpipe and only let go as she was about to lapse into unconsciousness.

One night when he nearly killed Janice, Archie booked himself back into the hospital and told psychiatrists that he wanted to kill his wife and her family. He said he wanted to get the evil thoughts out of his head but discharged himself a few days later. There was nothing that the doctors could do to keep him there.

The visits to psychiatric hospitals did nothing to change Archie’s ways. He was straight back on the drink when he discharged himself and his drug intake increased. So did his fits of uncontrollable violence. He got a job on a garbage truck and this seemed to pacify him for a short time during the days. But at night he was getting worse.

Archie’s mother claimed that the birth of his son, Craig Archibald on 4 February 1973 turned Archie into a different person. Janice McCafferty did not agree. She said that he was still drinking heavily and taking all sorts of drugs. She was terrified to take the baby in the car for fear that Archie would have an accident and kill them all. Little Craig lived only six weeks.


The Fatal Accident

At 3.30am on the morning of Saturday, 17 March, 1973, Janice took the baby to bed with them to feed him. She dozed off and awoke at 9am, she told the inquest into the baby’s death: “I felt something underneath me in the bed. I jumped straight out of bed and I saw the baby’s face and realised something was terribly wrong. There was blood on his face and on my nightie. My bra was still undone. I must have rolled over to my left and rolled onto my baby.”

At the inquest, held on 24 August 1973, the coroner, Mr John Dunn, said that the child had died accidentally when his mother went to sleep on top of him while breast-feeding. He completely exonerated Janice McCafferty and said: “I must say in the interests of the welfare of the young mother, I cannot find anything to be critical of her for what happened.”

Archie McCafferty did not agree. He had left Janice a week after the tragedy and although he did not attend the inquest into his son’s death he sent a scathing letter to the coroner, accusing Janice of murdering their son.

Was the death of his son all that Archie McCafferty needed to tip him over the edge? It was a question on which psychiatrists would sharply disagree. Certainly, the horror of his son’s death played constantly on Archie’s already troubled mind. But was it the match that had lit the fuse to the keg of dynamite that was about to explode?

The first eruption occurred a week after Craig’s death. The McCaffertys had a few friends over for drinks after the funeral and when most of them had gone Archie started playing a record called Nobody's Child in remembrance of his dead son. An argument started and Janice McCafferty fled. Archie caught up with her hours later in Blacktown, where he accused her of killing his son.

When Archie took to her with a fence picket, Janice’s brother and another man stepped in and gave him a hiding. The following day he turned up at his parent’s house at Bass Hill. Badly bruised and covered in blood he pleaded with his mother for help. She despaired at her confused son’s plight and begged him to re-admit himself to the hospital.

That day, a family friend drove Archie to the Parramatta Psychiatric Centre, where he booked in for treatment. It was his third self-admission in nine months, the one that prompted hospital staff to ring the police when he checked himself out a few days later.

Archie’s passion was tattoos. Visiting the tattooist was like seeing his therapist. The tattooist knew all of Archie’s innermost secrets. Archie confided in him, sought his advice and admired his opinions. As a result of the long hours Archie had spent having pictures put on his body, there wasn’t much room left. He was covered in more than 200 of them.

When police had to photograph all of Archie’s identifying marks, they used many rolls of film. There were even stars tattooed on his ear lobes. Like many of the others on his body they were done with Indian ink and sewing needles while filling in the long hours in prison. Archie hated these ‘nick’ (prison) tattoos and whenever he was out of prison, he got them covered with ‘proper’ ones.

His body is a walking advertisement of his hatred of the police. One tattoo spread across his shoulders and back says ‘The man who puts another man under lock and key is not born of woman’s womb’. Another says ‘kill and hate cops’.

Archie has drawings of two bulldogs on his chest and two sharks on each shoulder. There are eyes tattooed on each of his buttocks and the bottom half of his body is covered in drawings depicting love and sex.

Archie had saved a space on his chest for a special tattoo and until his son was killed, he didn't know what that tattoo would be. The day he discharged himself from the Parramatta Psychiatric Centre he went to the tattooist and had a memorial to his son etched on that special spot on his chest. It is of a cross-shaped tombstone embedded in a blood-red rose. It is inscribed: ‘In Memory of Craig’.

Several weeks later Archie paid another visit to his tattooist for another special tattoo. This time he would have his favourite number, 7, tattooed on the web between the thumb and forefinger. It was one of the few places left on Archie’s body that was not already covered with ink. He had the number tattooed next to the head of a snarling panther.

Archie chose that number for two reasons. He had decided that seven people must die to avenge his son’s death. Plus it was his lucky number. Archie did everything in sevens. Curiously, the number seven would recur during McCafferty's rampage of murder.

Janice McCafferty had not seen her husband in the five months since she visited him at the Psychiatric Centre the day after he had tried to kill her. But on 23 August 1973, the night before the inquest into little Craig's death, two bricks with notes wrapped around them were tossed through the window of her home in Blacktown.

The first note read:

‘You and the rest of your family can go and get fucked because anyone who has anything to do with me is going to die of a bad death. You know who this letter is from so take warning because Bill is the next cab off the rank. Then you go one by one’. It was signed ‘you know who’. ‘Bill’ was Bill Riean, Janice McCafferty’s mother’s boyfriend.

The second note read: ‘The only thing in my mind is to kill you, your mother and Bill Riean. This is not a bluff because I’m that dirty on all of you for the death of my son, but I can’t let it go at that. I have a matter of a few guns so I’m going to use them on you all for satisfaction. Beware.’


Archie Graduates to Murder

The following night, 24 August, the killing started. McCafferty had chosen the day carefully. It was the first day of the inquest into the death of his son.

A week earlier, Archie McCafferty had formed a gang out of an odd assortment of teenagers along with Carol Ellen Howes, a 26-year-old woman he was living with. Archie met Howes and 16-year-old Julie Ann Todd when he was a patient at the Parramatta Psychiatric Centre. Carol Howes was the mother of three children aged from four to seven and was separated from her husband. In the previous two years, Carol had made three attempts on her own life by taking large doses of sleeping tablets.

Carol Howes told Archie that she intended to try to kill herself again and McCafferty talked her out of it. This formed a bond between the pair and before long they had moved into a flat in the inner western suburb of Earlwood. The teenager, Julie Todd, had met them both at the Centre while she was being treated for mental disorders. McCafferty took her in with them when she had nowhere else to go.

McCafferty was living with Howes and Todd at the time of the murders. They were joined by Michael John (Mick) Meredith and Richard William (Dick) Whittington, two 17 year-olds McCafferty had met in a Bankstown tattooist’s a few days earlier.

Mick and Dick had a couple of rifles. The sixth member of the gang was 17-year-old Donald Richard (Rick) Webster who McCafferty had met only days earlier through his brother.

Led by McCafferty, the gang chose their first victim. At just over five feet tall, 50-year-old George Anson was an easy mark. The World War 11 veteran was a newspaper seller outside the Canterbury Hotel and each evening after work he would drink at the hotel.

Just after closing time on the evening of August 24, 1973, Anson was spotted by the gang as he staggered down the street toward his home. They had been cruising the area in a stolen Volkswagen, looking for someone to beat up and rob. Archie was flying high on angel dust.

Anson offered no resistance. He was far too drunk. The gang dragged Anson into a side street. As McCafferty grabbed the older man around the throat, Anson called out: ‘You young cunt’. They were the last words he would ever say. McCafferty went berserk and kicked Anson repeatedly in the head and ribs.

Then Archie heard the voice for the first time. ‘Kill seven. Kill seven. Kill, kill, kill...’ George Anson was kneeling in the gutter when McCafferty produced the knife and plunged it into his back and neck seven times. McCafferty gave the dying man one final kick in the face before running back to the car.

His young disciples were in awe of the blood-soaked McCafferty. All except Rick Webster. ‘Why the fuck did you do that?’ Webster asked.

‘I stabbed him because he called me a young cunt. Now drive, you fucking idiot,’ McCafferty screamed at the terrified teenager. From that instant on McCafferty did not trust Rick Webster. He would have to die.

Archie threw the blood-soaked knife to Julie who hid it under the car seat. So strong was Archie’s spell over his gang that not another word was spoken about the killing of George Anson until they got back to the flat.

On the way the gang went to Hartee’s drive-in fast-food bar where they ordered hamburgers while McCafferty cleaned up in the men’s room. Archie was in the horrors. His son was talking to him from the toilet mirror and beckoning him to go with him. Archie reached out to touch him but he was gone.

‘Kill seven. Kill seven. Kill seven…….’

Back at the flat Julie washed the blood from the murder weapon and returned it to McCafferty. Only then did he talk about the murder. ‘I couldn’t help myself,’ he told them. ‘I couldn’t stop. I can’t understand why I did it. A voice... it was Craig’s voice ... told me to kill, kill, kill.’


Voices From the Grave

Three nights later on 27 August, Archie took his gang to the Leppington cemetery to show them the grave of his son. Archie had been there many times with Carol Howes since the funeral. Howes said that they would sit at the grave and Archie would sob and say things like: ‘The poor little bloke. He never stood a chance. It’s not fair. It's not, bloody fair.’ On one occasion he had promised his son that he would avenge his death.

It was a cold, bleak night and the rain came down in sheets. Small patches of fog gave the cemetery an eerier atmosphere than usual. Archie was off his face on angel dust again. Now the voice was coming from the grave.

‘Kill seven. Kill seven. Kill seven.……’

Archie and his gang stayed at the grave for a while and then went to a nearby hotel where they planned the night’s events. All Archie wanted to do was get back to the grave... and the voice. He instructed his gang to take him back to the cemetery.

Along the way they dropped Julie Todd and Mick Meredith off to hitchhike. The plan was that as soon as a car stopped they would force the driver to the cemetery at gunpoint and the gang would rob him.

Back at the cemetery, Archie was spinning out. He could see a bright light over his son’s grave. There was a figure standing just out of the light. Archie approached the person who said ‘Dad. Is that you Dad?’ Archie knew that it was his son. He had come back from the grave.

‘Is that you, Craig?’ he asked.

‘Yes Dad, it’s me,’ the voice replied.

‘But son, it can’t be. You’re dead.’

‘Do you want me to come back to you, Dad?’

‘Of course I do. But how can you do that, son?’

‘You’ve got to do something for me, Dad. Do this thing and I will come back to you. Do you want me to come back to you?’

‘Yes. Yes. More than anything in the world. I will do anything to have you back. Anything. Anything you ask.’

‘You must kill seven people. As soon as you do, you can have me back. But you must kill seven people.

Kill seven. Kill seven. Kill seven.……’

Moments later a car pulled into the cemetery and stopped about 150 metres from the graveside. In the car were Julie Todd and Mick Meredith. They were holding 42-year- old Ronald Neil Cox at gunpoint. A miner who had just finished his shift at the Oakdale colliery and was on his way home to Villawood in Sydney’s western suburbs, Cox had felt sorry for the two kids hitchhiking in the rain and had stopped to give them a lift. It was a fatal mistake. Meredith had held a gun to his head and forced him to drive to the cemetery.

McCafferty left the graveside and ran over to them. Ronald Cox was forced to lie face down in the mud while McCafferty and Meredith held rifles at the back of his head. Cox begged for his life as the voices urged the murderous McCafferty on.

‘Kill seven. Kill seven. Kill seven…….’

The number bounced around in Archie’s twisted brain.

McCafferty turned to his gang and said. ‘I’ll have to knock him. He's seen all of our faces. Mick ... kill him.’

‘What are you saying Archie?’

‘Fuck you. Kill him’ said the demented Archie.

Again Ronald Cox begged for his life telling them that he was the father of seven children. Although he had no way of knowing, it was a mistake that sealed his fate. At the mention of the word seven McCafferty and Meredith then each shot Ronald Cox through the back of the head.

As they were leaving to drive to Liverpool, Archie looked over to his son’s grave. The light was still shining over it and the shadowy figure was laughing loudly. Archie burst out laughing with his son. He later told detectives that his only regret about murdering Ronald Cox was that he wasn’t closer to his son’s grave so that some of Cox’s blood could have dripped onto the plaque.


Another Senseless Killing

After the killing of Cox, the gang members returned to the McCafferty unit where they drank beer and watched TV. But Archie could still hear the voices telling him to ‘Kill seven’ and he instructed two of his disciples to go and find him another victim. In the early hours of the following morning 24-year-old driving instructor Evangelos Kollias picked up Julie Todd and Dick Whittington as they hitchhiked along Enmore Road. Once in the car, Whittington produced a .22 rifle from under his coat. They forced Kollias into the back seat and told him to lie on the floor while Julie drove the car back to the flat.

McCafferty then took over. With Archie driving, the gang set off for Liverpool on the pretext of looking for a factory to rob. But they knew different. They knew that Archie had murder on his mind. Kollias was told to lie low as they did not want him to see where they were going. Assured that he would come to no harm, Kollias lay on the back floor and went to sleep.

Archie’s plan was to kill Evangelos Kollias then drive his car to Blacktown and kill Janice McCafferty, her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. That would make six. The seventh victim was to be one of his own gang, Rick Webster. Archie felt that Webster was going to betray him to the police.

McCafferty told Whittington to kill Kollias. Whittington wasn’t sure that he could but as Kollias woke from his nap in the back of the car Whittington held the sawn off .22 rifle to his head and pulled the trigger. Evangelos Kollias died instantly.

‘Shoot him again urged McCafferty. Whittington put another bullet into the dead man’s  head. They dumped the body in a deserted street nearby.

When he realised that Kollias’ car didn’t have enough petrol to get him to his wife’s house, Archie abandoned the plan to murder Janice and her family. For that night at least. He still intended to make them the next three victims. And if Rick Webster hadn’t lived up to Archie’s suspicions and gone to the police, there is no doubt that Archie would have killed them. The voice kept telling him to.

When detectives arrested him, Archie told them: ‘I was going to Blacktown to kill three people ... I was going to go into the house and just start blasting away until they were all dead. They are very lucky people that the car didn’t have enough petrol.’

Then Archie had intended to cut off his wife’s head and send it in a box to the chief of the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

When one of the gang members told Rick Webster that he was on Archie’s hit list, Webster decided to tell what he knew to the police. McCafferty, Whittington and Meredith followed Webster to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper building where he worked as an apprentice compositor. They sat in a stolen van out the front of the Herald building with loaded rifles, ready to kill Webster when he came out.

Webster saw them waiting and had a reporter call police. Detectives arrived at the Herald, where Webster told them he was too terrified to leave the building. When they heard his story about the three murders they called for reinforcements and the area was sealed off. Heavily armed detectives surrounded the vehicle while Detective Sergeant K. Aldridge approached it and pointed his revolver at Michael Meredith. Other detectives rushed the vehicle and apprehended McCafferty and Whittington. They took possession of two loaded and cocked rifles.

On the way to the police station, McCafferty told police: ‘All right, I knocked the bloke at Canterbury. I knocked the bloke at Leppington. And I knocked the bloke at Merrylands. I knocked all three of them.’ He made no less a secret of the fact that he would kill again.


"I'd Like To Cut Your Head Off"

At his sensational committal hearing leading up to his trial in February 1974, McCafferty pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder on the grounds of insanity. His five co-accused - Todd, Howe, Meredith, Whittington and Webster - all pleaded not guilty to the same charges.

The press had labelled the murders as ‘thrill killings’ and everyone wanted to know about the Charles Manson-like cult figure who had led his followers into an orgy of senseless killings. Archie didn’t let the packed courthouse down.

On the fourth morning of the committal hearing Archie asked the judge if he could make a statement. Although it was an unusual request, the judge allowed it.

McCafferty said: ‘Excuse me your worship, before the court starts, for the last four days I’ve sat here and listened to Mr Bannon criticising me on things that I’ve done. Now I've been wanting to say this for a long time, and I’m going to say it this morning. Mr Bannon, if you’re listening, Id like to cut your head off.’

It was not so much what McCafferty said that put a chill through the courtroom. It was the cold, methodical way in which he said it. McCafferty had already murdered three innocent people. The voice from the grave of his dead infant son had told him to kill seven. Then his boy would come back to him. Archie McCafferty had four to go, and the decapitation of Mr Bannon would put him one closer to his target.

The Mr Bannon in question was a barrister acting for one of McCafferty’s five co-accused. The shaken Mr Bannon proceeded with his case, safe in the knowledge that McCafferty was handcuffed and heavily guarded as he glared down from the dock. Archie McCafferty was also heavily drugged. Before the start of the committal hearings each morning and throughout his following trial at the Central Criminal Court he was given a heavy dose of tranquillisers to subdue his uncontrollable outbreaks of violence. The dosage was enough to bring a race-horse to its knees, yet in Archie’s drug-soaked system it barely pacified him.

But the drugs did have some of the desired effects. During the twelve-day trial Archie McCafferty had been alert and attentive. He listened closely to the evidence and made notes. He certainly didn’t look like the deranged murderer who had been labeled “Australia's Charles Manson”.

In fact McCafferty often winked at the court reporters and joked with his co-accused. He fingered the bench in the dock as though it were a keyboard and played tunes for the gallery. When the proceedings became tiresome, he deep-etched his name in the bench with a pen. Archie was having a ball. But without his medicinal straitjacket, the 25-year-old Scotsman was a violent man who could kill without question.


The Trial

While awaiting trial in Long Bay’s remand section Archie had nearly killed another prisoner with his slops bucket. The only way to calm Archie down was with sedatives. At first, normal doses had no effect. So prison doctors kept increasing the dosage until they took effect. His daily dosage of 1500 milligrams of the potent tranquilliser Largactil was almost four times the normal dose of 400 milligrams. Prison psychiatrists agreed that McCafferty’s incredible tolerance to massive doses of tranquillisers was in itself evidence that he was insane.

At the trial, three psychiatrists gave their opinions of Archie’s mental state. Dr William Metcalf, a Macquarie Street specialist, was called to give evidence on behalf of the defence. He said that in his opinion McCafferty was insane at the time of the killings because he did not know what he was doing was wrong. Dr Metcalf pointed out that Archie was mentally ill and his mind was not in tune with reality. He was a paranoid schizophrenic at the time of the killings.

A completely different opinion was given by the prosecution’s psychiatric adviser, Dr Oscar Schmalzbach, also a Macquarie Street specialist and consultant psychiatrist to the state government. Dr Schmalzbach said; “In my view McCafferty knew at the time that what he was doing was wrong. He may have had an isolated schizophrenic reaction at the time of the second killing but this did not make him a paranoid schizophrenic. Such an illness does not exist one day and disappear another day and come back the third day.”

A third psychiatrist who examined McCafferty after the killings did not give evidence. He took the middle view that McCafferty was insane but he knew what he was doing at the time of the killings.

Although they could not agree on Archie’s sanity, the three psychiatrists were united in the opinion that, no matter what, Archie McCafferty could never again be set free. They all agreed that he was an extreme danger to the community.

Then it was Archie’s turn and the hushed courtroom was captivated as he told of the voice from the grave and how he had been told that seven must die if he wanted to see his son again. He maintained that he was completely insane at the time of the murders. The press lapped it up and Archie didn’t disappoint them. At last he was getting the recognition that he so desperately craved. Even if he had to kill three people to get it. And in true trouper fashion, Archie saved the best bit until last, his statement, which he read from the dock:

“Your Honour and gentlemen of the jury. Firstly, I would like to say that at the time of these crimes I was completely insane. The reason why I done this is for the revenge of my son’s death. That is what made me do it.

“Before this I had stated to a doctor that I felt like killing people, but up until my son’s death I had not killed anyone.

“My son's death was the biggest thing that ever happened to me, because I loved him so much - and he meant the world to me and after his death I just seemed to go to the pack.

“I feel no wrong for what I have done because at the time that I did it I didn't think it was wrong. But after my son was killed I tried to kill my wife and I was admitted into Parramatta Psychiatric Home because I knew I needed treatment. So I signed myself in and I was there for a number of weeks.

“I think, if given the chance, I will kill again, for the simple reason that I have to kill seven people, and I have only killed three, which means I have four to go, and this is how I feel in my mind, and I just can't say that I am not going to kill anyone else, because in my mind I am.

“Whether you think I am sane or insane is up to youse [sic] but I would say that I was definitely insane at the night of these murders. The day of my son’s inquest at the Coroner’s Court happened to be the day that I stabbed Mr Anson. The reason why I killed this man was because I heard my son’s voice tell me to do so. The same with the second and third person.

“Each time I went to the graveyard to visit my son’s grave a violent streak would come over me and I wanted to be so violent I wanted to kill people. I kept hearing voices, not only my son’s voice, but other voices as well, which I don’t know whose they are.

“On the Thursday that I was apprehended I had every intention of killing Rick Webster as I heard the voices to tell me to do so and anyone else that the voices tell me to kill I would kill until I reached the figure seven.

“I still say I felt no wrong in what I have done and I am still willing to kill anyone else that I am told to kill. At the time of my son’s death I took it pretty hard and since then I have not been the same because I loved him so much and I believe in my own mind that my wife murdered him on purpose and that is why I killed these men, for the revenge of my son's death.

“And this is the honest truth. So I hope that the jury and Your Honour will believe what I said. That’s it.”

Mick Meredith and Dick Whittington were found guilty of the murders of Ronald Cox and Evangelos Kollias and each sentenced to 18 years in prison. Richard Webster was found guilty of the manslaughter of Cox and sentenced to four years in prison.

Julie Todd was found guilty of murdering Cox and Kollias and sent to prison for ten years. On May 20, 1974 she was found hanged in a bathroom at Silverwater Detention Centre. She had just turned 17.

Carol Howes was found not guilty on all counts. Eight months pregnant with McCafferty’s child when the verdict was handed down Howes made a passionate promise from the dock to McCafferty. “I’ll wait for you Archie,” she sobbed. “No matter what, I’ll always be waiting for you with our child.” She immediately moved into the Blacktown house of Archie McCafferty’s parents to have their grandchild.

The jury chose to believe that Archie was not crazy and returned a verdict of guilty on all counts. Nobody shed a tear for the remorseless killer as the judge handed down the three life sentences. As he was led back to prison, McCafferty swore he would kill again. And there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that given the chance, he would.

There was no such lenient sentence for Archibald Beattie McCafferty. He was sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment. Even as he was being led from the courtroom he shouted that he would kill four more to avenge the death of his son.
 

Australia's Worst Prisoner

Archie proved to be a handful for the authorities and he was shuffled around to the toughest gaols in the state. Prison officers and psychiatrists regarded him as extremely dangerous. His one consistent and predominant thought was the killing of four more people.

A television crew allowed into the notorious Katingal section at Long Bay Jail interviewed Archie who told a stunned audience that there was nothing that anyone could do to stop him from murdering another four people should he be let out.

Placed on massive doses of tranquillisers to keep him under control, by 1978 Archie had done time in almost every maximum security prison in the state and was considered to be a gaol ‘heavy’ and an associate of the hardest criminals in the penal system. In April 1980 warders foiled an escape attempt by Archie at Grafton gaol. He had loosened bricks in his cell before prison officers were tipped off and his escape route was discovered. At the time prison officers said McCafferty was probably the worst criminal in the state’s gaols.

Police believe that Archie McCafferty was a member of the secret ‘murder squad’ that was judge, jury and executioner behind the walls of Parramatta Jail in 1981. They believe that the group was responsible for four murders within the prison. In September 1981 Archie was charged with the murder of Edward James Lloyd, who was stabbed to death in his cell. Archie’s co-accused, Kevin Michael Gallagher, was eventually found guilty of the murder.

It was proved that McCafferty was present while the murder took place and, though he strenuously denied the charges, McCafferty was found guilty of manslaughter and given a further fourteen years.

Archie protested vehemently against the sentence, claiming that he had been framed. To prove it he named those who were responsible to the authorities. Archie McCafferty automatically became an outcast within the system that had been his home for the best part of his life.

He was now the biggest headache within the New South Wales penal system. For his own protection he was transferred from one jail to the next in search of a permanent home. In November 1981 Archie was caught-red-handed in his cell with 10 foil-wrapped packages containing heroin. The judge sentenced him to another three years imprisonment.

During 1983 and 1984 Archie was moved repeatedly between Maitland, Long Bay and Parklea prisons under the unofficial, but reprehensible practice called ‘Shanghaiing’ whereby senior prison staff were able to pass the responsibility for dealing with difficult prisoners on to others.

It was noted in official records that Archie suffered fits of mental disturbance during this period and he was said to be ‘off his rocker’. After giving further information to authorities about serious criminal conduct by various prison officers within the prison system, Archie was eventually moved to the Long Bay Witness Protection Unit in 1987.

By now a price had been placed on his head and he was classified as a ‘supergrass’. It was in the Witness Protection Unit that Archie was revisited by delusions concerning his dead son. Prison psychiatrists put it down to the fact that he had been sniffing solvents and petroleum and was extremely depressed by the lack of prospects for his future release.

As no parole period had been given it was clear to Archie that he would spend the rest of his life behind bars. But he kept applying for parole. In October 1991 Archie McCafferty’s application for parole was heard before Mr Justice Wood. The judge granted him a 20-year parole period dating from 30 August 1973. Archie became eligible for release on parole on 29 August 1993.

Over the years Archie’s anger subsided until he was considered safe enough to be placed at the Berrima minimum security prison south of Sydney. But each year when he applied to be released on parole it was rejected.


Parole and Deportation

And so, Archie McCafferty, serial killer and arguably the most violent prisoner the Australian penal system had ever seen, became a model prisoner and for the last four years of his incarceration was allowed to visit and stay with the family of his brother and his wife and children from Friday nights to Sunday nights without supervision.

This position of trust developed to the stage where Archie was allowed to leave the prison each day for six days a week on work release until the parole board agreed that he was indeed a changed man who was no longer a danger to society and decided that he would be released on parole. The only condition of the parole was that Archie would be deported.

When Archie heard that he was to be deported to a Scotland that he hadn’t seen in almost four decades and, even worse, to a hostile community that wanted nothing to do with a vicious serial killer, he did everything within his limited powers to stave off the inevitable but his pleas fell on deaf ears and amid protests from the Scottish authorities he was put on a plane on May 1, 1997 and sent back to his birthplace.

Off the plane back in Scotland Archie was reunited with Mandy Queen, a woman he had married and then divorced while in jail in NSW.

Interviewed by Australia’s current affairs program {Witness} shortly after his arrival back in Scotland, Archie told presenter Paul Barry; “I’ve come out of the system a good person. A changed person. I believe that people change.”

He then toasted his freedom with a glass of champagne with Mandy Queen and said; “This is my first drink since 1973. But now there is no need for alcohol in my life. It is a thing of the past. I don’t need it.”

In October, 1998, Archie McCafferty was put on two years probation after threatening to kill police officers. McCafferty threatened the police after a car chase near Edinburgh following a drinking session and argument with his de-facto wife, Mandy, who complained he had left home with their four-month-old baby.

In the Edinburgh Sheriff Court McCafferty also pleaded guilty to careless driving, driving with no license or insurance, failing to provide a breath specimen and breach of the peace. The court did not take into consideration Archie’s previous convictions because they were considered foreign offences which did not occur in Britain.  

Archie and Mandy Queen were remarried in a secret ceremony in Scotland in October 1998.

CrimeLibrary


SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: T MOTIVE: PC-nonspecific

MO: Killed four men, allegedly on orders from his dead son; killed fellow prison inmate

DISPOSITION: three life terms, 1974; released and deported, 1997

 

 

 
 
 
 
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