The Bad Seed
The Leonard Fraser Story
Before he was sent to prison for the rest of his life on September 7, 2000, for the abduction, rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl, Leonard Fraser had spent almost 20 of the preceding 22 years behind bars for a series of rapes.
Leonard John Fraser
While in prison Fraser confessed to four more killings and took police to where the remains of some of his victims were concealed. His subsequent murder trial caused a world-wide sensation when one of his alleged victims, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, turned up alive and well in the middle of proceedings.
Leonard John Fraser was born in the sugar growing community of Ingham, north Queensland, on June 27, 1951. He was the second youngest of four children and when he was six his family uprooted and moved to a brick house in Mount Druitt in the blue-collar outer western suburbs of Sydney.
According to court psychiatrists there was not the slightest indication in young Lenny’s early childhood that he would grow up to be a vicious rapist and killer. While his upbringing, childhood and environment appeared to have been outwardly normal, his schoolwork was poor. By the time he dropped out of second year high school at age 14, Lenny Fraser had learned to read but little else and had trouble writing his own name.
Gosford Boys Home
At age 15 Fraser was sentenced to 12 months in the Gosford Boys Home for stealing. Soon after his release he received a two-year bond for assaulting a railways guard and further convictions for driving without a license, offensive behavior and stealing cars, culminating in twelve months’ hard labor.
Out of jail 6 months later, Fraser was found guilty of transporting stolen goods into Queensland which earned him 2 years’ probation. Five weeks later he was sentenced to 2 weeks in jail in Townsville for stealing. In Sydney in 1972 he was fined $100 for living off the earnings of prostitution and later the same year was given five years’ hard labor in Long Bay Jail for a string of robberies.
But what investigators didn’t know — and wouldn’t find out until almost two years later — was that two months earlier Fraser had raped a tourist in Sydney’s Botanical Gardens. It was to be the first of many in his career as a serial rapist.
She Was Just About To Come Across
Long Bay Jail complex
At 10 o’clock on the morning of July 11, 1974, just three weeks after he was released from Long Bay, Fraser approached a young married woman as she walked along a road in the Sydney outer western suburb of St Mary’s and attacked her from behind. Using what would become his “calling card,” Fraser twisted the woman’s arm up behind her back and forced her down an embankment where he raped her. Under the delusion that the woman had enjoyed him sexually assaulting her, Fraser then walked his victim hand-in-hand back up onto the roadway before taking off.
Six days later at 9 p.m. on July 17, Fraser assaulted a 20-year-old woman who was working alone in a nearby Mt. Druitt dry cleaning shop. Fraser followed her behind the counter when she went to look for his dry cleaning and with her hand held up behind her back, he was about to rape her when he was interrupted and fled when other customers entered the shop.
Three days later at Rooty Hill, again in the same proximity, Fraser spoke briefly to a woman as she walked along a quiet road before he punched her in the face and forced her arm up her back. As the couple struggled toward a small creek, the woman remained calm and talked to her attacker and convinced him that she was indeed in the mood for sex and that she would gladly submit and suggested that they go back to Fraser’s house and do it in his bed.
Fraser walked the woman hand-in-hand back up onto the road and as soon as she saw her chance she broke free and fled to the nearest house and raised the alarm. Fraser wasn’t hard to find. He had left his wallet with his birth certificate in it at the scene of the last attack and was quickly located and taken into custody.
Fraser readily confessed to one rape and the two attempted rapes. He denied that he would have had to force the woman in the dry cleaning shop to have sex with him if they had not been disturbed. “I would not have had to force her,” he told investigators. “She was just about to come across.”
Rape of the French Tourist
And then, much to the surprise of police, Fraser confessed to the rape in the Botanical Gardens in the heart of Sydney in broad daylight almost two years earlier. The victim was a 37-year-old tourist, who, along with her husband and their two infant daughters, was visiting Sydney to attend the husband’s accountants’ convention at the Hordern Pavilion.
Sydney Botanical Gardens
The attack took place as the woman was walking through the Sydney Botanical Gardens at 10 a.m. to take some pictures of the Conservatorium of Music while on the way to meet her husband and daughters. As she passed by some banana trees a man emerged from the shadows, put his arm around her neck from behind, punched her in the face many times with his other hand, dragged her into the undergrowth around the banana trees and raped her.
When interrupted by passersby, the rapist took off with her handbag leaving his semi-conscious victim in a serious condition with multiple fractures to the face and severe shock.
Fraser told investigators that he was glad to have the crime off his chest at last. “I don’t know what came over me… I have always regretted it,” he said. He told police that he had had an argument with his flatmate at their King’s Cross residence and he went to the Botanical Gardens where he wandered around for a while until he targeted the French woman and attacked her.
When interviewed by a psychiatrist in Long Bay Jail, Fraser said that at the time of the rape of the French tourist he was living off the proceeds of several prostitutes who worked the streets of Kings Cross and he supposedly handed the bulk of the proceeds over to a “minder.” Fraser claimed to have been involved in numerous homosexual relationships and was not involved sexually with any of his alleged “workers.”
No Conscience at All
Fraser told the psychiatrist that he would be happy if he never saw his brothers or sisters again and hated his father and mother. His main ambition was to become a member of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang.
In December, 1974, at the Sydney District Court, Leonard Fraser pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and two counts of attempted rape. The court psychiatrist’s disturbing assessment was that Fraser was beyond help. “He has no conscience at all,” the doctor warned. “He will use anyone and anything to his advantage without giving a lot of thought to other people’s feelings. He has little or no impulse control. Apart from this there is no real psychiatric disability there is no known treatment for this type of psychopathic state.”
With all of this in mind Justice Wootten sent Fraser to prison for the maximum of 22 years and — reluctantly — set the non-parole period at what the law demanded — seven years. “But I wish to make it clear in doing so that I am not in any way suggesting that you should be released at the end of the period,” Justice Wootten added.
The happiest person in the court when the sentence was handed down was Fraser’s mother, Daphne, who told the Sydney Morning Herald; “I have abandoned him as my son,” she said. “I know it is a terrible thing to say, but I can rest when he is inside. I go to bed at night and when I hear news of an assault or robbery, I know it will not be Lenny.”
Two Months for Aggravated Assault
Map showing Queensland, Australia
Released in 1981 after serving the minimum seven years, Fraser made his way to Mackay in Queensland and took a job as a laborer on the railways. In 1982 Fraser gained entry to a woman’s house by showing interest in a car she had for sale and once inside grabbed her from behind and held her arm up her back as he had done in his previous attacks. To the amazement of investigating officers, the woman said that she talked Fraser into allowing her to ring her husband while the physical assault was taking place and during the call Fraser took the phone and told the man: “I hope you’re not going to kill me. I just wanted to prove a point that somebody could break in and rape your missus.” In the Mackay District Court Fraser was sentenced to two months in jail for aggravated assault on the woman.
Out of jail, Fraser settled in Mackay and late in 1982, he was living with a woman and her son in an old house that had been converted into flats. He had a daughter with the woman and managed to hold down his job as a laborer with the railways for the next two and a half years.
In late 1985, after stalking a 21-year-old woman for several days as she went on her daily walks at an isolated beach at Shoal Point, north of Mackay, Fraser brutally raped her, again by attacking his victim from behind and holding her arm up her back and again in broad daylight.
Given his record and habitual modus operandi, the offender wasn’t hard to find and was sentenced to 12 years in jail. In sentencing Fraser, Justice Derrington said he regarded the prisoner as a dangerous man who preyed on women who were strangers and alone. “They (the victims) would regard you as being the equivalent of a filthy animal,” he said. “It (rape) is one of the worst forms of degradation on another human being you can think of and it deserves no sympathy whatever.”
The judge was also critical of the way Fraser inferred that his victims enjoyed or wanted his sexual attention.
Lenny the Loon
In Rockhampton’s Etna Creek Prison where Fraser served his time, he became known as “Lenny the Loon” due to his erratic and unpredictable behavior. His violent outbursts would be triggered off for no apparent reason and the prison lore was that it was wise to give Lenny the widest possible berth.
Fraser was forced by the jail management team to serve out every day of his 12 years in the belief that the minute he was let out he would re-offend.
Out in January, 1997, Fraser moved in with a terminally ill woman at Yeppoon, a coastal township south of Mackay after telling her that he was friendless, broke, and had nowhere to live. The woman had corresponded with, and visited Fraser regularly while he was in prison.
The relationship developed into a sexual one with Fraser becoming progressively aggressive and when the woman left the home to go to Brisbane for treatment for her cancer, Fraser followed and after she refused to come home with him he allegedly raped her in the hospital chapel. The woman died six months later of cancer.
Sex with the Landlady’s Dog
Fraser returned to live in Mount Morgan, a mining town of 3500 residents on the Burnett Highway south east of Yeppoon and near Rockhampton. It didn’t take long before the locals were talking about the strange man who had come to live in their quiet little hamlet.
An intellectually disabled woman complained to police that Fraser had annoyed her while she was riding on a bus. Fraser was seen roaming around the town at all hours of the night and every day when the local school came out he was waiting at the front gate where he would try and strike up a conversation with any female, irrespective of age, who passed in or out.
Fraser frequented employment agencies that serviced the intellectually handicapped in search of female partners and he mowed lawns and drove children to school for petrol and beer money. Toward the end of 1998, Fraser moved into a flat in Rockhampton, population 62,000, with intellectually handicapped 19-year-old Cristine Wraight.
By early April, 1999, another woman and her 11-year-old daughter moved into the spare room in the flat to help pay the rent. It didn’t last long. Shortly after the woman moved out, accusing Fraser of interfering with her daughter.
Fraser was kicked out when the landlady caught him having sex with Wraight’s blue heeler cattle dog in the backyard. The dog died several weeks later from rat poison.
Murder of Keyra Steinhardt
On April 22, 1999, 9-year-old Keyra Steinhardt disappeared when she was taking a shortcut through a vacant lot on her way home from school. An eye witness to the abduction, Lynette Kiernan, who lived opposite the vacant lot, told police that she saw a man catch up with the little girl and hit her from behind in the head area. The child fell to the ground and she couldn’t see her in the long grass but she saw her assailant fall on her and move as if he was raping her.
Then the assailant ran away and returned shortly after with a car and lifted the little girl from the ground into the trunk and drove away. Terrified of repercussions, it took Ms. Kiernan a critical 20 minutes to pluck up the courage to make an anonymous phone call to the police. But by then, little Keyra was dead and disposed of.
The following day police traced Fraser through Ms. Kiernan’s description of his early model red Mazda 626 sedan and picked him up. It was two weeks before Fraser broke and confessed to Keyra’s murder and took police to her naked body. He had abandoned it on a thick bed of grass near the Rockhampton racecourse. Her throat had been cut and as if in a belated veil of chastity, Fraser had draped Keyra’s green school jumper over her torso.
When questioned by investigators, Fraser’s flatmate, Cristine Wraight, said that she had gone for a drive with Fraser along a bush track near Rockhampton’s racecourse on the day that Keyra had gone missing. Ms. Wraight said that Fraser stopped the car and told her not to watch what he was doing.
With that she said he removed what looked like a blonde doll wearing a green school uniform from the trunk. Ms. Wraight said that when Fraser saw her looking, he dropped what he was carrying and went back to the car and reached into the window and punched her. She then looked straight ahead and after a little while Fraser got back into the car and drove away. Ms. Wraight said that when they returned home that evening, Fraser washed the trunk out thoroughly.
DNA samples taken from the blood and hair found in the trunk of Fraser’s car matched that of Keyra Steinhardt. There was also another female’s blood on the trunk hinge and on a cigarette paper in the glove box. On 7 May, Fraser was charged with the rape and murder of Keyra Steinhardt.
Eye Witness to Rape
Brisbane Supreme Court
In September 2000, prosecutor Paul Rutledge told the Brisbane Supreme Court that Fraser, who had pleaded not guilty to the charges, had attacked the little girl for nothing other than sexual gratification. Mr. Rutledge put it to the court: “Why did he (Fraser) follow a nine-year-old into the lot and hit her so hard she dropped to the ground? Why did he strip her naked?’
Eye-witness Lynette Kiernan, who had seen the assault from her house, told the court that she had also seen Fraser standing next to Keyra at the traffic lights the day before the little girl was murdered.
The court heard evidence that Keyra was excited that for the second week her parents had allowed her to walk the 30-minute route from their North Rockhampton home to school and that she had left her friends outside the school gate at 3 p.m. to make her way home alone.
On the day she was murdered, Keyra turned off Robinson Street and as she was walking through a vacant lot on the fringe of the bush, Fraser attacked her from behind, knocked her to the ground and set upon her and raped her. Finished, Fraser hid the little girl’s naked body behind a tree and threw her school bag into the bush in the opposite direction. He returned a short time later in his red Mazda sedan, bundled the body in the trunk, and took off.
The court heard that due the advanced decomposition of her body, it was impossible to determine how Keyra died or if she had been sexually assaulted. But, Mr. Rutledge pointed out, there was no escaping the damning tape recording of a conversation Fraser had in the Rockhampton watch house in which he asked another prisoner to dispose of a knife he had hidden in a peg box in his apartment. Mr. Rutledge told the court that the simple explanation of the facts were that Fraser plunged that same knife into the neck and upper body of the little girl.
A Predator of the Worst Kind
Fraser remained stoic throughout the trial and neither called for nor gave any evidence on his own behalf except to steadfastly deny at the start that he had neither abducted, raped or murdered Keyra or that he was in or near the lot on the day in question.
Yet, when police had originally charged Fraser with the crimes, he had offered an apology to Keyra’s parents: “I’d like to say to her mother and father and I know a lot of people won’t believe me but, if you check my background, it’s not my go to harm a child,” he said. “I’m just sorry this is happening and I don’t know what made me do it; at least I can try to… I’m going to try and get help after I get sentenced and all, so that’s a good step.”
In the light of the overwhelming evidence, Leonard Fraser was found guilty of the abduction and murder of Keyra Steinhardt at Rockhampton on April 22, 1999. At Fraser’s sentencing on November 9, 2000, Justice Ken Mackenzie labeled him a sexual predator of the worst kind. “Lone females in a public place, as is present in this case, were compelled by force and threats to go to a place where the risk of disturbance was less,” Justice Mackenzie said. “The offence involved severe, indeed extreme, violence on a child. Fraser’s story is that of a sexual predator of the worst kind.”
Justice Mackenzie said that he could see no reason to suppose Fraser had any prospect of rehabilitation and sentenced him to an indefinite life sentence. Under new Queensland legislation enacted in 1997, an indefinite life sentence means that unlike a life sentence where the prisoner could automatically apply for parole after 15 years, he must not only apply to the Parole Board but also to a Supreme Court judge before he could ever be released. Both would have to be satisfied that Fraser no longer posed a threat to the community before the indefinite order was lifted. This sentence virtually slammed the cell door behind Fraser for the rest of his life.
Four More Victims?
But that was not to be the end of it. Police had very good reasons to believe that Fraser had also murdered another schoolgirl, Natasha Ryan, and three women, Julie Turner, Bev Leggo and Sylvia Benedetti, who had all gone missing in Rockhampton between September 1998 and April 1999.
Natasha Ryan, 14, had disappeared on September 2, 1998, while on her way to a north Rockhampton school in the same area where Keyra Steinhardt was killed.
Julie Dawn Turner, 39, had worked with Fraser for a couple of months in 1998 at the Rockhampton abattoirs. On December 28, 1998, Julie left Rockhampton’s Airport Liberty Nightclub in the early hours of the morning in an intoxicated state. Apparently broke, she had asked around for enough money to get a cab home and when none was forthcoming she started walking. From there she disappeared. Julie had previously told friends that she was moving in with a guy named “Lenny,” but hadn’t elaborated further.
Beverly Doreen Leggo, 36, met Fraser at a Mount Morgan hostel where he was staying in 1997. Ms. Leggo was last seen on 1 March 1999, at a bank in the CBD near the East Street Mall.
Sylvia Maria Benedetti, 19, disappeared on April 17, 1999. Six days later while police were searching for the body of Keyra Steinhardt, who had disappeared the day before, they were led to the derelict Queensland Hotel by its wreckers who had made a horrific discovery. In room 13 the carpet was soggy with blood and there was blood sprayed all over the ceiling and walls. There were bone fragments in the carpet. In a downstairs freezer police found a pair on women’s shoes submerged in filthy water.
A forensic examination revealed that the blood was human and given the spate of missing women in recent months, police had good reason to believe the blood to be that of Sylvia Benedetti. By now they also believed that there was the distinct possibility that there was a serial killer in their midst.
The attack had been so savage that the victim had lost about four liters of blood, which was about as much as a woman the size of Sylvia Benedetti would have in her entire body. Police believed that Sylvia Benedetti was known to Fraser and was seen with him on the night before she disappeared. DNA tests of blood found in the trunk of Fraser’s car matched that of the blood found in the room.
But while police believed that Fraser had murdered all four women, without their bodies or a confession they couldn’t pin a thing on him. Not until he started talking to his cellmate, that is. “What I have gone through has caused me to kill these people,” he allegedly told the cellmate. “All the hate over the years came to the fore and ended with the murder of the people.”
When confronted by detectives about the confessions, Fraser shocked them by offering to take them to where the bodies were concealed. In a top secret operation, that could have fallen apart at any time as Fraser said that he “hated the media and did not want any coverage,” homicide detectives took him out of prison and flew him on the Premier’s private jet to Rockhampton and secretly video and audiotaped him as he led them to the remains of Ms. Leggo and Ms. Turner.
Partial remains of Sylvia Benedetti had already been discovered by surfers in bush land near Sandy Point Beach but Fraser had been unable to lead police to the rest of the remains. But what they found was all the evidence detectives needed to charge Fraser with multiple murders.
Brisbane Supreme Court
At his trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court held in April, 2003, before Mr. Justice Brian Ambrose, Fraser pleaded not guilty to the murders of Natasha Ryan, Julie Turner, Bev Leggo and Sylvia Benedetti.
The jury was told by prosecutor Paul Rutledge that Fraser had boasted to his cellmate that he killed Natasha Ryan by knifing her because she was pregnant by him. He then placed her body in a grave he had dug on a property outside of Rockhampton.
Bled Her like an Animal
Fraser also said that he murdered Sylvia Benedetti and “bled her like an animal” in a disused hotel and made a bloodied hand mark on the wall before smearing over it. Fraser also alleged that he had met Julie Turner in a shopping mall and was giving her a lift home. He then “flogged into her” after she had slapped him when he put his hand on her leg.
In the secret tape recorded on the day Fraser took detectives to the victims, the court heard that when he showed them where Ms. Leggo’s body was buried at Nankin Creek, 20 km outside of Rockhampton, Fraser says he couldn’t remember whose body it was because his mind had become “scrambled” and that it didn’t matter because he was going to spend the rest of his life in jail anyway.
The jury then saw the secret audio tape detectives took when Fraser showed detectives where to find the remains of Ms. Turner which he had dumped near the Yeppoon Refuse Dump.
The court heard that Sylvia Benedetti was last seen on April 18, 1999, sitting in the Rockhampton City Mall with Fraser. Her blood was found in Fraser’s car together with that of Keyra Steinhardt. It was Ms. Benedetti’s blood that was found splattered all over the derelict hotel room.
A man who owned a shop opposite the Queensland Hotel told the court that he had mentioned to Fraser on April 21, 1999, that the hotel was about to be demolished and Fraser had become angry and red in the face, had clenched his fists and said “they can’t do that.” Two days later the wreckers discovered the blood-soaked room.
A Sensational Turn
On Thursday, April 10, 2003, the case took a sensational turn when one of the alleged victims, 18-year-old Natasha Ryan, was discovered by police hiding in a cupboard at the home of her boyfriend, 26-year-old Scott Black, a kilometer from her mother’s home in Rockhampton. Police said that they acted on a tip-off arising from the trial.
But despite media frenzy, there was no forthcoming explanation for Natasha Ryan’s disappearance and re-emergence four-and-a-half-years later. Instead the story was put up for grabs to the highest bidder and it was being brokered by Sydney celebrity public relations agent Max Markson who had flown to Rockhampton to keep his latest acquisition under tight wraps.
Now living back with her bewildered mother, it was rumored that Natasha Ryan wanted $250,000 for her story. All that her father, Robert Ryan, who was separated from Natasha’s mother, could tell the local press was that after believing his daughter to be dead for all that time; “I couldn’t stop cuddling her. It was like I saw a ghost.”
The detective in charge of the case, Detective Senior Sergeant David Hickey, told Fraser’s lawyer, Mr Adrian Gundelach, that when Natasha Ryan went missing in 1998, they searched Scott Black’s home but couldn’t come up with the slightest indication that a female lived there.
Detective Hickey said that a surveillance team was assigned to Mr. Black’s house and also to observe his comings and goings and the people he associated with but there was nothing whatever to connect him with the disappearance of Natasha Ryan.
Detective Hickey did not indicate if any charges would be laid against Natasha Ryan or Scott Black.
The court immediately declared Fraser not guilty of Natasha Ryan’s murder and his lawyers applied to have the whole trial cancelled. The court was then adjourned to consider the ramifications of the new turn in events.
Much to the relief of the victim’s parents, after a four day adjournment Justice Ambrose ruled that the trial would resume on the remaining charges. Mr. Gundelach indicated immediately that he intended to call Natasha Ryan as a witness when the occasion arose.
When the trial resumed on April 15, 2003, the jury heard evidence from Fraser’s former cellmate, Allan Quinn, who said that Fraser often boasted to the other inmates, saying with bravado “they’re trying to get me on these murders… but they won’t be able to pin them on me.”
Quinn went on to say that Fraser had falsely confessed to him of killing Natasha Ryan, saying that the murder weapon, a knife, would never be found. Fraser said that Ms. Ryan had asked him for a lift to the beachside township of Yeppoon and was knocked out after falling asleep on his shoulder in the car. Fraser had also said that he had disposed of her body underneath a mango tree and that it had been removed by a mystery man named Casper who had moved it to Yamba.
But that was just one of a multitude of lies among the truths that Fraser had told Quinn who relayed them back to police who acted on every one. Another fantasy was that he (Fraser) had murdered a female backpacker and had dumped her body in a crocodile pond in an abandoned wildlife park north of Rockhampton. Only after police had dug up the pond and searched the farm extensively did they put it down as a hoax.
Quinn also said that Fraser also boasted about how he drove his ute (pickup truck) with the body of one of his alleged victims, Julie Turner, in the back after he had covered it with a tarpaulin, past a police car in Rockhampton. Fraser also said that he had used the ute before.
Caught on Tape
On a listening device, Quinn recorded Fraser telling him of the murder of Beverly Leggo after he had taken her for a swim at Nankin Creek, outside of Rockhampton. “And I smashed her across the jaw… she was semi-conscious. I pulled the rope that is used for a swing… over and put it around her neck twice and tucked the end through the loops and pulled it tight.”
Fraser then laughed as he said “You should have seen her kick when I let the rope go… I heard her neck break… and then she stopped kicking and her legs dangled in the water. It didn’t take much to kill her… because she was really skinny. I took the rope off her and dragged her through the waterhole into the long grass where I put her on that ditch. I made sure that I pulled the tall grass back up as I went… so there was no trail left behind in the grass.
“To make sure she was dead… I placed her black sporting briefs around her neck and pulled them tight… so if she woke up she wouldn’t breathe, she would die.”
The tape also recorded Fraser telling of how on April 18, 1997, in the Rockhampton Mall, he met Benedetti at a time when she was unhappy with where she was living and was going through a bad time with her boyfriend.
“I took Benedetti to a disused hotel… to Room 13… I told her that I had drugs stored there… I tried to kiss her… she didn’t like it,” he said. “I hit her and knocked her out. I went downstairs to check if anyone had heard her scream.
“I went back upstairs and she was just lying there staring at me. When they are unconscious they always stare at you. I knew I was going to be in trouble. So I picked up a block of wood. I thought that it was a block of wood. It could have been a window counterweight, I don’t know… but it had serrated edges.”
Having sold her story to 60 Minutes and Woman’s Day magazine for an undisclosed sum, Natasha Ryan appeared in court as a defense witness and told a packed gallery that she had never seen the accused man, Leonard Fraser, before in her life. She said that her mother had dropped her off at school on August 31, 1998, and after having gotten into trouble with a teacher she decided that it (school) was the last straw. She decided to run away and stay with Scott Black and she had been with him ever since.
According to the police investigation into her disappearance, the last time Natasha had been seen by anyone was by two friends near a Rockhampton cinema several days later.
As the trial drew to a close it was revealed by the prosecution that Fraser had sent police a “press release” from a “Mr. Squeaky” in an attempt to throw them off his trail. “I want you to understand that I am responsible for all the murders in the Rockhampton area,” Mr. Squeaky said in the release produced by Fraser in prison (unbeknownst to Fraser, detectives were recording his and Quinn’s conversations about the release through a listening device in Quinn’s cell) on January 18, 2001, three weeks after he had led police to the graves of three of his victims. “You will never know my real name, you can refer to me as Squeaky,” it read.
Mr. Squeaky’s release said the information it contained about the murders was only known to him, obviously Fraser’s alter-ego. But the plan failed miserably as it contained intimate information that only the killer — and not yet even the police — knew.
Press Release Trick Backfires
One admission was that Beverly Leggo was strangled with her black panties and a bra. The admission was made three days before forensic scientists revealed that that was indeed how she had died.
Mr. Squeaky also said that where Julie Turner had been murdered near a Police Boys Club, he had abandoned a pair of her sandals near an electrical box. A subsequent search found a sandal and Julie Turner’s bra.
In the press release Mr. Squeaky also admitted to committing many other crimes in the Rockhampton district including many rapes that had never been reported to the police.
The prosecution pointed out that all Mr. Squeaky’s confession did was incriminate Fraser further.
On May 9, 2003, after a little more than a day’s deliberation, the jury convicted Fraser of the murders of Sylvia Benedetti and Beverly Doreen Leggo and the manslaughter of Julie Dawn Turner.
The verdict of manslaughter meant that the jury believed that Fraser did not intend to kill Julie Turner. Fraser stood silent and red-faced in the dock and then yawned and stretched his hands behind his head as the verdicts were handed down.
Leonard John Fraser
On May 28, 2003, Fraser lodged an appeal against his conviction for the killings.
On June 13, 2003, Justice Brian Ambrose sentenced Leonard John Fraser to three indefinite jail terms for the two murders and one manslaughter and described Fraser as an “untreatable psychopath” with a brutal desire for middle-aged women down to children.
Justice Ambrose said that Fraser was motivated to kill because of his “unusual sexual desire.” He said that Fraser would not be eligible for parole, which was all but impossible anyway, until he was 81. Even then, should he live that long, the most likely scenario was that he would die in jail.
On December 31, 2006, Leonard John Fraser, 55, died in his sleep in the secure unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital. He had been in the hospital since Boxing Day, December 26,2006, when he suffered cardiac arrest.