Katherine Knight butchered her boyfriend and tried to feed him to his kids
Sex-crazed abattoir worker Katherine Knight is the only Australian woman to be jailed for life without parole, and she holds another accolade, she is a very real and very rare female psychopath.
The case of Katherine Knight is quite recent (err, 2000) but it completely passed me by. I only learnt about about her sickening crimes when I bought a book about her to read as I tanned myself on holiday in Lanzarote, and even then I thought I had bought a book about Joanna Dennehy. I obviously really needed that break!
Our romantic island adventure got underway, and as we relaxed, the noises that seemed so alien to us when we first landed on the volcanic island - the chittering of peckish leather-skinned ex-pats cruising the pavements on rented mobility scooters; puce-skinned pensioners discussing the best fry up or prawn vindaloo 'on the island'; lairy teenage boys planning how to lose their V-plates in a fog of cheap booze; and general Brits Abroad shenanigans - faded away, leaving me on a NO HOLD'S BARRED GIRLS' TRIP WITH KATHY CANNIBAL!
I think after reading Man Eater, I understand why people get obsessed with Harry Potter. Some 'characters' never leave you. Although Kath didn't play quidditch or have a magical pet, she has stayed in my thoughts for a long time.
Mostly I am obsessed with how the mum-of-four decorated her living room with farm equipment, rakes, pitchforks, leather jackets, brutal traps, machetes, weapons, skulls and animal parts.
A clip taken from one of the Aussie killer's home movies revealed that she even decorated the ceiling with her arsenal of violent tat. It was like a trip to the Harvester... of sorrow.
As well as having a flair for interiors, Kathy was a crazed sex addict, and on her wedding night to David Kellett in 1974, insisted the marriage was consummated "at least five times" so it matched how many times her mum and dad had had sex on theirs. When he couldn't keep up with her demands she tried to strangle him.
Kellett was an alcoholic, but remembered clearly advice given to him buy his new mother-in-law when he arrived at church for their wedding, riding on the back of his bride-to-be's motorbike.
He recalled: "The old girl [Knight's mother] said to me to watch out. 'You better watch this one or she'll fucking kill you. Stir her up the wrong way or do the wrong thing and you're fucked, don't ever think of playing up on her [cheating on her], she'll fuckin' kill you.'
"And that was her mother talking! She told me she's got something loose. She's got a screw loose somewhere."
Her mum hated men, and apparently was raped in front of her daughter - the youngest of five - repeatedly during her childhood. Kath also claimed that her older brothers assaulted her regularly. The only person who didn't was her dad.
She idolised her dad and all she ever wanted in life was to work in the local abattoir like him. Aged 16 she got her wish, and when she was given her own set of butchering knives, started sleeping with them hung above the bed, so that they "would always be handy if I needed them".
At Aberdeen Abattoir, she was the only woman working on 'the line', and she disturbed her hardened colleagues with her "malevolent pleasure in death".
They would recall that she would nick arteries to watch animals bleed to death, or torture them as she slaughtered them. She appeared to be electrified by their suffering, and got a real thrill from it.
She would watch animals being slaughtered during her lunch breaks, and was feared as much as she was respected for her 'boning skills' - she would dismember up to 600 animals a DAY. At home, she watched violent movies and horror films "like it was pornography".
There's a lot to be explored in Katherine's life up until she murdered her boyfriend John Price, 44.
To this day it is one of the most shocking crimes that has ever happened in Australia, maybe even the world.
In October 1993, Katherine met John Price. He was a truck driver, described as a "lovely man" - and despite his three kids, Jonathan, Rosemary and Rebecca, noticing stab wounds over his body, on the whole they thought they seemed a good match.
Katherine and John had had a tumultuous relationship, which derailed spectacularly when she demanded they get married... and he said he was only in it for the sex.
All of Kathy's previous partners said her horrific temper, violence and jealousy issues were worth putting up for as she was so good in bed (wtf did she do to them!?) and cooking. A skill that would later be put to use in the most horrifying way...
John's rejection made her go ballistic. She cruelly told one of his daughters (then aged 13) that she wasn’t his and that her mum had slept around. She also refused to leave his house, claiming it was hers. She went through his belongings, found his will and when she saw that he had left everything to his ex-wife, demanded AUD$10,000 (£5,200) to leave. He refused, so to punish him, she filmed all the first aid kits he had stolen from work and sent it to his boss, leaving him unemployed.
But Katherine hadn’t given up on her happy ever after with John, and told her daughter Natasha that if they reconciled, “it would be to the death.”
She somehow managed to win him back, but on February 29, 2000 the fiery, 6ft tall redhead, snapped - and it made previous incidents including leaving her own baby on railway tracks; hitting a lover in the face with a hot iron and stabbing him in the stomach with a pair of scissors as punishment for coming home from the pub late; and kidnapping a child and teenage girl and holding them hostage at a petrol station, look tame.
The Sunday prior to his death, Katherine had stabbed John in the chest. The final straw, he had kicked her out, and then spent the next few days pleading with authorities to place a restraining order on her. It wasn’t a quick job, the soonest it could happen would be three weeks.
Hours before his death, John told his colleagues about the situation. They begged him not to go home. But he told them that if he didn’t, jealous and possessive Katherine would punish him by going after his kids.
On March 1 they called police when he didn't show up for work. He had said if he didn't come to work that morning "Kath had probably killed him" - and he was right. Police were confronted with a scene so gruesome that a lot of them quit their jobs, or had nervous breakdowns.
In the hallway was a 1m x 2m pool of blood, with gore splattered against the walls. In the living room a skinned and decapitated corpse, the perfectly removed skin hanging from a meat hook in the middle of the room. In the kitchen they found his head simmering in a pan on the stove, and what looked like two perfectly made 'steak dinners' left on the table. They each had a nameplate with Jonathan and Rebecca's names, and photos of them were found stabbed and torn nearby. The steaks were their dad's buttocks.
In the bedroom was Katherine Knight, not quite dead after taking an overdose - but not on an empty stomach. Police claimed that there was evidence that she had eaten some of his cooked flesh before her dramatic finale.
The night of his murder, Katherine had let herself in to his home at 84 St. Andrews Street at around 11:30pm. John was asleep, so she watched a bit of TV before having a shower and slipping in to a sexy black negligee - and waking him up for a final sex session.
It was here she struck, stabbing him at least 37 times with her prized knives. Forensic scientists would reveal he had tried to escape, running through the house, chased by his furious lover armed with her butchering kit.
Australia's 7 News reported that when the case went to trial, NSW Supreme Court Justice O’Keefe commented it "was carried out with considerable expertise and an obviously steady hand so that his skin, including that of the head, face, nose, ears, neck, torso, genital organs and legs, was removed so as to form one pelt.
"So expertly was it done that, after the post mortem examination, the skin was able to be re-sown onto Price’s body in a way which indicated a clear and appropriate, albeit grisly, methodology.”
Another witness who saw the police video said that "the skin looked like a wetsuit", and that in one scene, a gloved hand of a forensics officer lifts the lid of a pan to see John Price's head staring back at the camera.
Knight was in a coma from her overdose, but on March 4 was interviewed by police.
She told them: “The last time I recall was, I don’t know about your dates, but I went inside and watched a bit of TV.”
It later emerged that after killing John she drove to an ATM and withdrew AUD$1,000 from his account before returning home to the blood soaked lair.
And her brother told police that three weeks before murdering John, she bragged she had a plan to kill John "and get away with it" by doing it in a way to make people think she was crazy.
On 18 October 2001, she was found sane enough to stand trial, and pleaded guilty to murdering John Price. She was sentenced to life imprisonment, and is the only female criminal in Australia who will never be released.