"The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness."
It was the 27th of November 1987. Twelve year old Sian Kingi lived with her parents Barry and Linda in Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia. Noosa Heads is a coastal town of the Shire of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. Sian was a popular girl in the area. Her striking good looks made her stand out. She was tall for her age with long blonde hair and big dark eyes.
Sian loved sport and enjoyed playing netball in school and with friends and she loved cycling around Noosa Heads. Sian was a quiet and a shy girl but loved spending time with her friends and in a few days time, she was due to go to a party with friends. Due to that, after school, she met her mother Linda in a fabric shop. They bought some fabric so that they could make an outfit for Sian to wear. It was around 4.30pm when they finished shopping and Linda and Sian headed home.
As Sian was cycling , she took a different route to Linda and cycled through the park while Linda walked around it. It would take Sian just four minutes to cycle past the tennis courts. They should have arrived home within minutes of each other but when Linda got back, Sian was not home.
Linda presumed Sian must have met up with a few friends in the park but as time went on, she became concerned and called some of Sian's friends. They had not heard from or seen Sian. When Barry got home from work, he went out with Linda to search the park. By that stage, it was around 8pm. They found Sian's bicycle in the park and went straight to the police to report her missing.
Police appealed for information and followed up a few different leads. But six days later, the search of Sian ended when a fruit picker found her mutilated body in a creek. She was still wearing her school uniform. Sian had been raped, assaulted, stabbed twelve times, strangled and thrown into the creek.
Police received a tip off that a white station wagon was in the area and a member of the public remembered the license number as the person driving the car made them feel uncomfortable and they took it down. They traced the car to Valmae Fay Beck. A forty four year old mother of six children.
When police went to Valmae's house, they discovered she left the area when Sian's body was found. She left with her husband , thirty four year old Barrie John Watts. Valmae and Barrie had been married for a year. There was evidence in the house that they tried to change their appearance by changing their hair style and colour. They were traced through a money order used to pay rent.
When they were arrested, Barrie refused to speak but Valmae gave police a detailed confession.
The day had started as a normal day for Sian but that wasn't the same for Barrie and Valmae. Earlier that day, the 27th of November, Barrie told Valmae that he wanted to be the first and last sexual partner of a young girl, a virgin. He told her:
"Today is the day."
Valmae helped him achieve his fantasy. She went to the park that Sian was cycling through and asked Sian for help. Sian was such a kind person that she was more than willing to stop to help Valmae especially when she heard Valmae had lost her poodle. This was a complete lie and as she spoke with Sian about the poodle, Barrie sneaked up behind Sian and grabbed her. He threw her into the station wagon and taped her hands and mouth.
With Sian tied up and trapped in the station wagon, they drove to Tinbeerwah Forest which was around 12 km away. Barrie raped and beat and strangled Sian before viciously stabbing her twelve times in the chest. He cut her throat. As he did this, according to Valmae's own confession, she just watched.
After they dumped Sian's body, they drove back home to spend the evening watching TV. Valmae told police that they were having marital problems and as she was older than Barrie was, he wanted to find someone younger. Valmae said that Sian:
"never cried, never shed a tear, a brave little girl, she never uttered a peep, she just did everything he told her."
They were both convicted of Sian's murder and sentenced to life in prison.
That day, back in November 1987, just a few weeks before Sian's 13th birthday, Sian was doing something she did most days. Cycle through the park in a quiet area. The park was in an area where people knew each other. Children all played out and people felt safe. She was chosen entirely at random by two people who went to the area that day with the sole purpose of finding a young girl. In a matter of minutes, they abducted Sian and subjected her to a terrifying and horrific ordeal. Even after the brutal rape and torture, they made the decision to murder her and dump her body. Their actions that day were purely evil and their life sentences were needed to prevent them from hurting others. A question remains though as to whether they were involved in other missing person cases. In August 1995, Barrie was acquitted of murder and a lesser charge of manslaughter in relation to the death of Helen Mary Feeney whose body has never been found.Helen was a thirty one year old student who went missing in 1987.Valmae testified that Barrie had dumped Helen's body and burned it at a rubbish tip near Lowood, west of Brisbane. He denied it and no evidence has to date been found.
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
"The effects of abuse are devastating and far reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities."
- Sandra Pupatello
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