Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Is A Serial Killer Posting Comments About A Murder Investigation On An Australian Crime Blog?

By Darryl Mason

This is pretty weird. Gary Hughes writes an excellent crime blog for 'The Australian' newspaper. He has written a number of stories about the 'Claremont Murders', a series of unsolved slayings of young women, back in 1996 and 1997, that are believed to be the work of a serial killer.

Somebody calling themselves 'Dr Phibes' has been posting comments about the case on Hughes' blog, and the person appears to be either providing clues as to where the bodies of two other missing girls can be found, or trying to taunt the apparently baffled Perth police 'Zodiac' style.

Gary Hughes explains :

Has WA’s Claremont serial killer been contributing to this blog while police continue their unsuccessful hunt for him? According to a new book on the long-running saga by crime author Debi Marshall, it’s possible. She quotes Robin Napper, a lecturer at Perth’s Centre for Forensic Science and a former police detective, as describing the contributions to Gotcha from a mysterious figure using the name “Dr Phibes” as “seriously spooky”. “Whoever this blogger is, he has more than a passing interest in the subject and is teasing us with his knowledge of all three victims,” says Mr Napper.

Dr Phibes started contributing his detailed knowledge about the Claremont killings after we posted on the saga in October last year. In one comment he revealed how he had met one of the victims, Sarah McMahon, and claimed police had bugged his phone and flown a helicopter over his property with heat-seeking ground radar in the search for her body.

Dr Phibes has continued contributing to the blog, along with others for the past eight months. His most recent comment was just 10 days ago.

'Dr Phibes' also appears to have a deep interest in what he calls the "satanic" involvement and influence of Freemasonry in Perth, and the various pyramids that can be found in the city :
There is a recurring theme with Compass bearings etc with the bodies etc. Sarah Mc Mahon, Claremont girls, Freemasons involvement & satanic circles reaching into High Govt. in Western Australia. You can see that by the Pyramid shaped water feature at perth`s Belltower, as well as the Pyramid conservatory nearby. Even a former Perth premier has been involved in the Satanic,lay lines/come Secret circle Buildings about the place.

'Dr Phibes' is, probably, just be a true-crime enthusiast who pretends to know more about the case than he/she actually does.

In any event, and as numerous commenters to Gary Hughes' blog have pointed, there is something uniquely creepy and unnerving about the comments 'Dr Phibes' is leaving.

'Dr Phibes' also has the curious ability to be able to post comments in completely different writing styles, as though there were more than one person leaving comments under this moniker (see quotes below).

And this person is not just posting comments at Hughes' blog. A 'Dr Phibes' has been posting cryptic comments all over Australian news websites when the 'Claremont Murders' case comes up for discussion.

Some examples of 'Dr Phibes' comments at Gary Hughes' blog :
I believe Sarah Spiers is in water either in Ankatel (south)or north of Wanneroo.And Sarah Mc Mahon is near Mundaring Wier.Just a feeling i get.

I met Sarah Mc Mahon in early nov 2000. She came to my place for a visit with 2 friends on a Friday.I saw her on the Sunday afterwards. She disappeared on the day after Melbourne Cup in Nov 2000. The Police flew their chopper (Polair 61) over my 1/2 acre place near the Swan Valley, as cause i had met her. They bugged my phone for a while. I have had a woman giving me probs for ages. Don`t ya hate that, ppl accusing ya of bopping sum 1 off then annoying ya to hell thinking they can do that & sleep ok
Some more comments at PerthNow by somebody posting as 'Dr Phibes' :
you said Julie Cutler`s car was found in Swan View,It wasn`t !!; it was found in cottesloe in the surf. Sarah Mc Mahons car was found in Swan Districts Hosp near here. I met her twice in the w.end b4 she disappeared.I know the aunt of Deborah Anderson. I have been working on both cases albeit coincidental linkages re myself in both cases...

this lance character is way too stupid to be the Claremont Serial Killer. Any 1 who drives past a woman 20 to 30 times is definately asking to be caught. He needs some excitement in his life. The young woman attacked in Karrakatta Cemetry, the woman attacked at coles loading dock, another in Davies Rd on the other side of the Railway stn... these could all be by the same person.
And another one here :
The Claremont Serial Killer is not able to abduct women for some time due to illness. The position of the bodies was deliberate to within 10 to 15 metres.They indicate to where Sarah Spiers can be found.
The lovers of crime fiction would naturally conclude that as 'Claremont Murders' took place in 1996 and 1997, the uncaught killer would be both bored and surprised to find the police still can't track him/her down, and would presume that this 'Dr Phibes' is the person responsible and is now trying to revive interest in the case, and themselves, by coming over all cryptic and mysterious.

Or 'Dr Phibes' could be a private investigator or undercover detective trying to flush out some more facts from the public by purposely stirring up comment.

Anyway, the WA police claim they are still investigating the murders, and plenty of Perth locals cry out "what investigation", while other locals say they have tried to give police information that might be helpful and gotten no response at all.

The 'Claremont Murders' remains unsolved a decade later, and police still refuse to release information about how two of the victims were killed.

Note : A 'Dr Phibes' showed up in May on a Vogue discussion board, under the topic 'Perth Girls : Where Do You Go Out?' That Dr Phibes provided some advice to Perth women about how to get into a nightclub for free, and appears to have an interest in women's jewelry.

Interview With The Author Of A New Book On The Claremont Murders

Darryl Mason is the author of the free, online novel ED Day : Dead Sydney. You can read it here