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Name: Catherine Birnie

Age: 62 yrs old (2013)

State:WA

Sentence: Sentenced in WA, to life in jail - 20 yrs non parole - Eligible for parole in 2007.

Offence/Other: Catherine Birnie and her de facto David Birnie were sentenced to a minimum 20 years in jail for kidnapping, sexually abusing and murdering 4 young women in Perth in 1986..Their fifth victim, a 17 yr old girl,managed to escape.. David Birnie hanged himself in his protective custody Casuarina Prison cell in 2005.



"The young woman who escaped the Birnies and stopped their evil spree has this week sought a personal assurance from the Attorney-General that serial killer Catherine will never be released" - Read more below.

Catherine Birnie




QC Tom Percy wants serial killer Catherine Birnie released

Reviled West Australian serial killer Catherine Birnie has become a ``church mouse'' working in a prison library and should be released from jail, one of the state's high-profile lawyers says.
Earlier this week, WA Attorney-General Michael Mischin accepted a recommendation from the state's Prisoners Review Board and kept Birnie behind bars for a further three years.
Birnie, and her partner in crime David, were jailed for 20 years for raping, stabbing, strangling and clubbing to death four victims in their Willagee house, in Perth's southern suburbs, in 1986.
They were caught when a fifth intended victim, a 16-year-old girl, escaped after being abducted at knifepoint.
Under law, Birnie's life sentence is reviewed every three years, and her latest review was turned down in January.
But high-profile QC Tom Percy, an STM columnist, says the notorious killer, now 61, is unlikely to be a risk to the community and should be freed from Bandyup Women's Prison.
``She has been there 30-odd years and you would think it might be time for us to say she has done her time, she has done her statutory minimum prescribed by the court, which was in possession of all the facts,'' Mr Percy said.
``I am not sure she could really be a threat to anyone any more, and all my information from Bandyup prison is that she is a little old granny that goes about her work in the library like a church mouse.
``You can't think there is any point in keeping her in there.''
In March 2010, former attorney-general Christian Porter decided Birnie would not be given parole or put into a re-socialisation program.
WA's attorney-general in 2007, Jim McGinty, said Birnie should never be freed.
A 2007 review found a low risk of Birnie reoffending but her release was rejected because of the extreme nature of her crimes.
The pair were handed strict security life sentences for the murders. While incarcerated they exchanged more than 2600 letters, but were not allowed any other form of contact.
When David Birnie hanged himself in his protective custody Casuarina Prison cell in 2005, she wasn't allowed to attend his funeral.
Birnie's next statutory parole review will be in 2016, but Mr Percy feared she would never be released.
``We parole all sorts of murderers on a daily basis,'' Mr Percy told 6PR radio.
``This one just so happened to be one that caught the public attention, even though she was not the prime mover in it. He (David) is now dead.
``What's the point of keeping her in there? Sadly it looks like she will never get parole, but I think she probably deserves it.''


AAP (4-4-2013)
Tim Clarke
http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/release-serial-killer-catherine-birnie-says-qc-tom-percy/story-e6frfkp9-1226612649117


Catherine Birnie waits for WA election to learn fate

A sentence review for serial killer Catherine Birnie is expected to be completed in early March but a decision can't be made until after the State Election.
The Prisoners Review Board began the review today and is scheduled to hand its report to Attorney General Michael Mischin around March 2.
But with the Government in caretaker mode at that time, Mr Mischin can't make his final decision on Birnie's future until after the State Election on March 9.
Under law, Birnie's life sentence is reviewed every three years.
Former Attorney-General Christian Porter, who left State politics for a tilt at the Federal arena, in March 2010 decided Birnie would not be placed on parole or put into a re-socialisation program.
WA's Attorney-General in 2007, Jim McGinty, said Birnie should never be freed from jail.
Birnie and her late partner David Birnie raped, stabbed and clubbed to death four victims in their Willagee house, in Perth's southern suburbs, in 1986.
They were caught only when one of their intended victims escaped after they abducted her at knifepoint.
The pair were handed strict-security life sentences for the murders and David Birnie hanged himself in his protective custody Casuarina Prison cell in 2005.
She wasn't allowed to attend his funeral.
A 2007 review of Birnie, who is serving her sentence at Bandyup Women's Prison on Perth's north-eastern outskirts, found she was at low risk of reoffending but her release was rejected because of the extreme nature of her crimes.
Birnie, now 60, left her husband and six children in 1985 to live with David Birnie.
She did not marry him but took his surname.


AAP (25-1-2013)
Staff Writers
http://www.news.com.au/national/catherine-birnies-sentence-up-for-review/story-fndo4e3y-1226561921150


Catherine Birnie jail sentence up for review

Catherine Birnie, jailed for life over four horrific murders which shocked Perth in the 1980s, will have her life sentence reviewed tomorrow by the Prisoners Review Board.
Birnie, who is now aged in her early 60s, was jailed for a minimum 20 years for the murders of four young Perth women she committed with her de facto husband David Birnie in 1986.
The pair had known each other since childhood, before beginning a love affair a year before the murder spree in which they killed Mary Frances Neilson, 22, Susannah Candy, 15, Noelene Gladys Patterson, 31, and Denise Karen Brown, 21.
The couple were sentenced to strict-security life sentences with 20-year minimums.
David Birnie was found dead in his cell in 2005.
Under law, Catherine Birine must now have her jail sentence reviewed every three years.
Three years ago, the then Attorney-General Christian Porter rejected Birnie's release and any change in her status.
Tomorrow, the Prisoners Review Board will again review Birnie's jail sentence before providing a report on their recommendation to current Attorney General Michael Mischin for a final decision.
"I can confirm that the Prisoners Review Board will be reviewing Ms Birnie's matter tomorrow (Thursday) for her three-yearly statutory review," a Prisoners Review Board spokeswoman said.


PerthNow (24-1-2013)
Phil Hickey
http://www.news.com.au/national/catherine-birnies-sentence-up-for-review/story-fndo4e3y-1226561203069


Victim of Birnie Serial Killers says: "Don't Let Her Free"

NEVER RELEASE HER: The fifth and only surviving victim of Catherine and David Birnie, who murdered four young Perth women, has urged authorities never to release her. Source: PerthNow
THE young woman who escaped the Birnies and stopped their evil spree has this week sought a personal assurance from the Attorney-General that serial killer Catherine will never be released.
A week before Catherine Birnie's life sentence is reviewed again - the second time in 23 years behind bars - her last victim, and only survivor, has demanded to be told by WA Attorney General Christian Porter if he will ever grant her parole.
The woman's plea comes amid calls from victims' rights campaigner and former parole board member Georgia Prideaux for the WA Government to stop or delay regular parole reviews for serious murderers and sex criminals because of the impact it has on victims and their families.
In a letter faxed to the Attorney-General's office on Friday, the woman, who has asked not to be named, told Mr Porter she had been informed by all his predecessors that Birnie would never be set free.
"I have asked Christian Porter what his position is on it (Birnie's release), given the fact that I have been assured by attorneys-general previously that she will never be released," she told The Sunday Times.
"I faxed him a letter on Friday afternoon, so I will expect a response next week."
The woman, who has left Perth but remains in WA, was abducted at knifepoint by the Birnies as a 17-year-old while walking along Stirling Highway, Nedlands, on November 9, 1986, after leaving a hotel.
She was kept at their house in Moorhouse St, Willagee, and raped repeatedly until she managed to escape.
Birnie and her de facto David were sentenced to a minimum 20 years in jail for kidnapping, sexually abusing and murdering three women and a teenager.
After Birnie's parole was first considered and rejected in 2007, former attorney-general Jim McGinty announced she would never be released while he was in office.
But last month, Mr Porter stopped short of giving a complete guarantee, saying: "I will consider the Prisoners Review Board report on Ms Birnie when it arrives in due course, but to date nothing has come across my desk to make me take a different view to the previous attorney-general."
When asked if he would give the woman his assurance that Birnie would not be freed, his spokeswoman yesterday declined to comment further.
She would not confirm whether the letter had been received.
The Prisoners Review Board will meet on Friday to discuss Birnie's case. A review must be made every three years for life and indefinite sentence prisoners after they become eligible for parole.
The board will consider psychiatric, psychological and behavioural reports on Birnie and her own written submission before handing a report to Mr Porter within six weeks.
Mr Porter will make the final decision.
Ms Prideaux, who ended her term on the Parole Board a year ago, said the reviews created great stress for people who suffered at the hands of criminals.
"Parole reviews are a constant reminder for victims," Ms Prideaux said. "Each time they are notified about the upcoming review and have to go through the same pain.
"In cases when there is hope that the person can be released, then every three years is a good time frame, but in cases where there is still too much risk and release is very unlikely, especially with sex offenders, these decisions should be delayed for longer or not at all."
Mr Porter said he did not support the idea of scrapping the reviews for indefinite prisoners.
"While I am sympathetic to the impact review processes have on victims, I consider that reviews every three years is about right, so long as they are done with the victims' interests being strictly observed," he said.
David Birnie was found dead in his cell in 2005.


The Sunday Times (20-1-2010)
Todd Cardy


Killer Catherine Birnie Given no Hope of Parole

Serial killer Catherine Birnie's hopes of freedom have been dashed, with Attorney-General Christian Porter saying she will never be released.
Mr Porter said yesterday he had the same views on Birnie as former attorney-general Jim McGinty, who said in 2007 that Birnie would never be released under his watch.
There have been reports that Birnie, 58, who is in Bandyup Women's Prison, is preparing for a new parole hearing in nine months.
Birnie, who has been behind bars for 22 years, claims to have found God in prison and is telling people she is a changed person.
A prison source confirmed that Birnie was spending time preparing her case. But he said Birnie had told other prisoners that she did not expect it to be successful.
"Catherine said she knows that no politician would ever agree to it because it would end their political career," he said.
"She seems resigned to the fact that the appeal will fail."
Birnie was refused parole by the Prisoners Review Board two years ago and is hoping she will be freed when she fronts the board again next year.
Mr Porter gave Birnie little hope. He said her offences were among the most serious in WA history.
"Nothing has come across my desk to suggest that I would take a different position to the previous attorney-general in relation to Catherine Birnie," he said.
Birnie and her husband, David, kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered four women in the 1980s.
They were caught when a fifth kidnapped teenager escaped from their Willagee house.
David Birnie hanged himself in his cell in 2005.


Perth Now (14-3-2009)
Nick Taylor


Serial Killer Found Hanged in Cell

One of Australia's most notorious serial killers, David Birnie, has been found dead in his cell in a maximum security prison.
Birnie, 55, was serving a life sentence in Casuarina prison, south of Perth in WA, for the abduction, rape, torture and murder of four women in 1986.
The offences were committed in partnership with his de facto wife Catherine Birnie, 52, who is serving a life sentence in Bandyup women's prison, in Perth's north-east.
Police this morning confirmed the prisoner's identity as David John Birnie.
Birnie's body was found hanging in a cell about 4.30am (WST) today.
The prison squad and forensic police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.
The Birnies embarked on a five-week killing spree in October and November 1986, luring the women to their house in suburban Willagee or abducting them, before raping them and stabbing, strangling and clubbing them to death.
The spree ended when a fifth rape victim managed to escape and alert police.
Catherine Birnie left her husband and their six children in 1985 to live with David Birnie. She never married Birnie, but took his surname.
The pair were due to be eligible for parole in 2007.
"Police can confirm that sentenced prisoner David John Birnie, 55 years, was found deceased in his cell at Casuarina Prison at approximately 4.30am (WST), this morning," police said in a statement.
"The police investigation into his death will be coordinated by the Police Prison Unit, on behalf of the coroner.
"At this point in time, the circumstances do not appear to be suspicious."

AAP (7-10-2005)






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