- Former abattoir worker Andy Albury confesses to 14 unsolved murders
- Albury, dubbed Australia’s Hannibal Lecter, serving life in prison
- He was convicted in 1984 for killing Aboriginal woman Gloria Pindan
- Albury allegedly confessed to police officer who arrested him, Les Chapman
- Confession comes after family of missing hitchhiker claimed a ‘thrill killer’ was responsible
03:22 GMT, 24 February 2014
03:25 GMT, 24 February 2014
Gone without a trace: Former abattoir worker Andy Albury has confessed to 14 unsolved deaths along the Flinders Highway, including hitchhiker Tony Jones (pictured)
A former abattoir worker dubbed Australia’s Hannibal Lecter has been named as the prime suspect for as many as 14 unsolved murders, with at least 11 of them young people who disappeared along an 800km outback highway.
Andy Albury, already serving a life sentence for the 1983 murder of an Aboriginal woman in Darwin, has allegedly confessed in prison to a killing spree along Queensland’s desolate Flinders Highway during 1970 and 1982.
At least 11 people disappeared from that stretch of road during that time period – including hitchhiker Tony Jones, whose family last week said they believed an outback ‘thrill killer’ was responsible for his death.
Jones vanished without a trace on the night of November 3, 1982 while walking along the Flinders Highway – last seen in Anthill Creek, known as Townsville’s killing fields, about 26km out of town. He was the last to go missing on that stretch of road.
Queensland Police reopened the 32-year investigation last week after Albury’s confession, which led detectives to the abattoir where he used to work in outback Hughenden, 1400km north-west of Brisbane.
Stewart Christensen, who now owns the abattoir, said someone could have easily been killed, chopped up and fed to the pigs without anyone noticing.
“You’d never find a body or DNA,” he told the Times.
“There are old pits full of bones all over that ridge line.”
The now-retired Northern Territory police officer, Sergeant Les Chapman, who arrested Albury for killing Gloria Pindan in 1983 – the one murder for which he has been convicted – said he had confessed to killing 14 others.
Albury was convicted of using a broken bottle to mutilate and murder Ms Pindan – cutting off her breasts and gouging out her eyes after killing her.
He was sentenced to life in jail in 1984. In 2004, he said told the Supreme Court via video link from Darwin’s Berrimah jail he had ‘no interest’ in parole.
A psychiatric assessment found he suffered a mental disorder causing him to have ‘a casual disregard for the act of killing’.
The report also stated: ‘Albury is an extremely dangerous man. He has a fantasy about terrorising a town by committing casual, motiveless murder for the purpose of making people frightened that they may be the next to be killed.’
The alleged confession could finally bring about some closure to the families of at least 11 other who disappeared from the Flinders Highway, also known as the ‘highway of death’.
Highway of death: At least 12 people vanished without a trace from the Flinders Highway, an 800km stretch of road that links Queensland to the Northern Territory
The body of Catherine Graham, 18, was found raped and slain on the highway in 2007.
In October 1978, Karen Edwards, Gordon Twaddle and Timothy Thompson were found shot in the head near Mt Isa, about 250km west of Julia Creek.
Hitchhikers Robin Hoinville-Bartram, 18, and Anita Cunningham, 19, also disappeared along the Flinders Highway several decades ago.
Robin was shot twice in the head and her skeletal remains were found west of Charters Towers in July 1972.
Anita was listed as missing but police believe she was killed with her friend.
Police also found the bodies of Mackay sisters Judith, 7, and five-year-old Susan along the highway. Both were found to have been sexually abused.
Outback murders in Australia were arguably made infamous by road worker, Ivan Milat, who killed seven young backpackers he picked up on highways south of Sydney in the 1990s, including two young British women.
In 2001, another British traveller, Peter Falconio, 28 was murdered by a lone marauder, Bradley Murdoch, who also kidnapped and terrorised Mr Falconio’s girlfriend, Joanne Lees, before she managed to escape.
Cold blooded serial killer: Ivan Milat is serving life in prison after he was found guilty of killing seven young backpackers in the Belanglo State Forest in New South Wales, Australia
Murderer: Bradley Murdoch (right) is serving life in prison for the murder of English backpacker Peter Falconio
Lucky to be alive: The girlfriend of English backpacker Peter Falconio, Joanne Lees, escaped while being tortured by Bradley Murdoch in July 2001