A group of young girls playing in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale had no inkling of the deadly sexual predator watching them from a nearby hotel bar. His drink finished, Arnold Sodeman, a 30-year-old family man, approached one of the girls, 12-year-old Mena Griffiths, and proposed that she went for a walk with him. Sodeman took her to an abandoned house, where he raped and strangled her, then stripped her.

That was in November 1930, and two months later he struck again, befriending Hazel Wilson, 16, on her way to a dance. He dragged her into a vacant lock-up, raped and murdered her and then stripped her.

The similarities in the two crimes were widely publicised, and Sodeman hastily decamped to Inverloch, 70 miles away. There, on New Year’s Day 1935, he saw Ethel Belshaw, 12, on the beach and took her for a walk. He raped and killed her in identical circumstances.

Eleven months after that he was working as a road digger near Dumbalk when he raped and murdered Jane Rushmer, six, the daughter of a fellow-worker, after taking her for a bike ride.

When questioned by police he said, “I’ve had enough,” and confessed to all four crimes. He was hanged in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne, on Monday, June 1st, 1936.