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True Detective March 1998
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This month sees the start of a great new series – Classic Australian Murder Cases and we begin with the burglar turned killer Ronald Ryan, convicted of the murder of a prison officer during a daring jail break from Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison in 1965. Found guilty of the murder, Ryan was sentenced to death, but it was widely felt – particularly in the Australian media at the time – that although Victoria State wanted to hang Ryan he would probably be reprieved because of mounting public opposition to the death penalty. On a historical note, the gallows was the same one used to dispatch Jean Lee in 1951, the last woman hanged in Australia, and Ned Kelly back in 1860, the Robin Hood of Outback outlaws.
Staying in an Australian vein, the two stories that start this month’s issue are the harrowing, but true accounts of two couples whose lives were fated by a man’s so-called best friend. "Killer Dogs Took Our Baby!" tells how Alice Lynn Chamberlain, portrayed by Meryl Streep in the hit film A Cry In The Dark, saw her nine-month-old baby carried off by a wild dog while on a family camping holiday. Seventh Day Adventists Alice and Michael Chamberlain’s ordeal began on the evening of August 17th, 1980, in the shadow of the celebrated landmark Ayers Rock in Australia’s Northern Territory. Then nine years later, and the other side of the world, John Miller and his common-law wife Debbie Loveless found themselves in a similar situation…