18 classic true crime cases from around the world, including;
Best Friends Forever:Two 16-year-old girls decide to get rid of an unwanted friend in this barely believable tale of teenaged friendship gone horribly wrong.
Irresistible Impulse: A troubled young woman finds the burden of caring for her five children too much to bear. Her solution to the problem will shock you to the core.
Guilty of Suicide: Can a man really be put to death when even the prosecution agrees that his victim probably took her own life?
Countess Dracula: The quite incredible tale of a Hungarian countess who enjoyed taking long baths … in her victims’ blood.
The Axe Man Cometh: A young man with money problems decides to claim his inheritance early, via familial slaughter.
Night of the Slasher: A killer is loose on the streets of Windsor, Ontario, his savage M.O. drawing comparisons with Jack the Ripper.
Don’t Talk to Strangers: The Hasidic Jewish community of Borough Park, New York looked after their own and kept strangers out. But what if one of their own was a depraved child killer?
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Murder Most Vile Volume Eleven
Few murders have touched the heart of the Australian nation as much as that of Ebony Simpson. Ebony was a pretty 9-year-old, living a happy life in the town of Bargo, just outside of Sydney, with her parents and two brothers. It was a safe environment in which to raise a child, a place where few of the 3,000 inhabitants even bothered locking their doors at night. But unfortunately, no place on earth is safe from a determined predator and when Ebony alighted from her school bus on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 19, 1992, just such a creature was watching.
It was pleasantly warm on that late winter afternoon, with a gentle breeze that ruffled Ebony’s hair as she stepped from the bus at the corner of Bargo and Arina Roads. This was her usual stop and on this day she was the only one that took it. Not that that bothered her in any way. Her route home was a straight 400-yard stroll down Arina Street. She’d walked it a hundred times before. Barely paying attention to the familiar surroundings, she began walking, her blonde ponytail bouncing gently against the schoolbag on her back with each step.
But not all was normal along the familiar stretch of road on that particular day. There was a light-colored car pulled over to the sidewalk with both its hood and trunk flipped open. A long-haired man stood bent over the engine, his brow furrowed into a frown, fingers caressing his stubbled chin in a contemplative pose. Ebony noticed him, of course, but averted her eyes and hoped that the man wouldn’t try to talk to her. Quite obviously, he had car trouble but her parents had instructed her never to talk to strangers. Aside from that, there was the “Stranger Danger” program they were being taught at school. The rules were explicit – don’t talk to strangers; don’t get into a stranger's car; don’t take anything offered to you. And so Ebony stepped up the pace and looked straight ahead as she walked. She was passing the car now, a few more steps and it would be behind her, a few dozen more and she’d be home where a cool drink and a sandwich awaited her. That was when the man reached out and grabbed her.
Ebony was caught totally by surprise. One moment she was walking along, the next she was plucked into the air, a rough hand clamped over her mouth. Then, she was dumped roughly into the trunk of the car and the lid was slammed shut enveloping her instantly in darkness. Moments later, she heard the engine roar into life and the car lurched forward. Now she found her voice, screaming and thumping with her fists against the inside of the trunk, begging to be let out. It did no good. The lid held firm and no one was around to hear her cries for help. The abductor had chosen his route carefully. The roads he now traveled were all but deserted.
Ebony Simpson had just fallen into the hands of a sexual psychopath named Andrew Garforth, who had only recently moved to Bargo from Western Australia. Unbeknownst to her, he’d been watching her for a while, just waiting on his moment. Now, as he raced his car along a dirt road towards a remote reservoir near the Wirrimbirra Sanctuary, Garforth could hardly contain his excitement. He’d done it, carried out his plan to perfection, plucked the girl right off the street without a soul there to stop him. Now she was in his power.
A glint of sunlight off water told him that his destination was near. He slowed the vehicle, bringing it to a crawl, then to a stop, just a few yards from the water’s edge. The girl had stopped screaming now, not that it bothered him either way. He got out of the car, walked around to the back and flipped the trunk. Ebony Simpson was dragged, terrified and crying, into the light.
Garforth had rehearsed this moment many times in his mind. The tears and the begging, the pleas to be let go, had been expected. They didn’t bother him. In fact, they only served to heighten his excitement. He shushed her now, told her that it would all be okay if she did what she was told. His first instruction was for her to put her hands behind her back. That done, he bound her hands with a length of electrical cord he’d brought along for that purpose.
The child now entirely under his control, Garforth dragged her to the ground, ripped at her clothes and raped her on the dusty ground. He’d repeat that act several more times over the hours that followed, feeding like a scavenger on the little girl’s hysterical cries, her pleas for mercy, her screams of pain. Finally, his vile lust sated, he rolled away from her. He’d already destroyed Ebony’s young life. Now he was about to snuff it out completely.
It is hard to conceive of a person stooping to a greater depth of depravity than what Garforth had already achieved. But the heartless psychopath had thought this through at great length and the plan he’d concocted was evil in its purest form. First, he gathered up a pile of rocks and began filling Ebony’s schoolbag with them. Then he tied her feet together and strapped the weighted bag to her back. Finally, he threw the helpless girl into the water, watched for a moment as she thrashed around, and then turned and walked away as she sunk to the depths. He drove away even as Ebony Simpson’s lungs filled with water and her life was snuffed out. Later that night, he’d sit down to dinner with his wife and two young sons.
Ebony Simpson was reported missing that night and by the next morning, the news was everywhere. A child had disappeared. Police and emergency services launched a massive search with most of the town’s residents mobilizing to help. One of those who volunteered for the search party was Andrew Garforth.
While that search was ongoing, detectives were trying to trace the movements of the missing girl. It was soon apparent that Ebony had disappeared along the short stretch of road between the bus stop and her front door. Several people, including the bus driver, testified that she’d definitely gotten off the bus at her usual stop. One witness added another important detail. He said that he’d seen a light-colored Mazda 808 sedan parked near the bus stop with its hood up.
The description of that vehicle caused the detectives to sit up and pay attention. They’d heard this car described before. In fact, teachers at the local school had reported several times that a man driving just such a vehicle had been lurking around the schoolyard. The same vehicle had been seen following school buses on their routes. This was a promising lead, so the investigators went back to the original complaints and pulled a description of the suspect. He was said to be about 5-foot-8, thin, and with shoulder-length, dirty blonde hair. It wasn’t much to go on until police pulled over a vehicle matching the description of the one seen near the abduction site. Behind the wheel was Andrew Garforth, who matched the physical description of the suspect almost exactly.
Garforth was taken into custody and quickly offered up a fanciful story. He admitted abducting Ebony but said that by the time he reached the reservoir, he’d had a change of heart and decided to let her go. He’d then driven off and left her behind. Later, when he’d heard that she was still missing, he’d assumed that she’d fallen into the water and drowned.
How Garforth ever thought that this absurd story would fly, is a mystery. On Friday, August 21, 1992, he was driven to the reservoir and instructed to point out the spot where he’d left Ebony. There, within feet of the shoreline, the police recovered Ebony Simpson’s body, still weighed down by its bagful of rocks. Later, at the police station, Garforth eventually came clean, describing with no emotion whatever how he’d abducted, raped, and drowned the little girl.
“She shouted for help as I walked away,” he said. “When I left she was trying to get back to the bank. I believed she could have possibly drowned or maybe made it to safety.” It was a pathetic attempt to justify a horrendously cruel act.
Later that day, Garforth was taken to the Picton Courthouse where he was charged with the murder of Ebony Simpson. A large crowd had gathered while Garforth was being arraigned and he was forced to run the gauntlet of enraged local residents when he left the court. He’d later plead guilty at his July 1993 trial, receiving a life sentence with the judge stipulating that he should never be released.
Garforth has remained a controversial figure behind bars. As a child killer and rapist, he is universally despised by other prisoners and has suffered a number of attacks. His response was to lodge a claim, via his lawyer, for victim’s compensation, although this was later withdrawn after public outrage.
Then, in July 2015, Garforth was in the news again when it was revealed that his prisoner status had been downgraded by the Serious Offenders Review Council, entitling him to a number of new freedoms and privileges. That decision had barely been announced when Corrective Services Minister David Elliott stepped in to quash it.
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