Australian News - Bandali Michael Debs
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Brother of murder victim Sarah MacDiarmid writes to cop killer Bandali Debs
for answers in her disappearance
Sarah MacDiarmid’s brother has written to four-time killer Bandali
Debs in the hope he knows something about her disappearance.
In an open letter to Debs, to be delivered through the Herald Sunon Friday, Alisdair
MacDiarmid made an emotional appeal to the cop killer.
Mr MacDiarmid offered to visit Debs in jail to talk to him “face to face”.
The Herald Sun this week revealed Debs had emerged as a suspect in the baffling cold case.
Ms MacDiarmid, 23, disappeared from Kananook railway station, near Frankston, on July 11, 1990.
Blood was found near her red Honda civic but no trace of her has ever been found.
“I’m not sure what name you were known by within your family, but I will address you as
Bandali,” Mr MacDiarmid said in his letter to Debs.
“My name is Alisdair. My sister is Sarah MacDiarmid.
“I don’t know what makes you tick, any more than you know what makes me tick.
“Neither you nor I have a rosy coloured view of the world.
“Forrest Gump was wrong. Life is not a box of chocolates. There is plenty of rubbish in that box too.
“The fortunate have many chocolates in there. Some have a good number, others are grateful for the
few they find - no matter the flavour.
“So Bandali, this is just a straight forward request. If you know where Sarah is, please say so.
“Tell someone. Tell me.
“Bandali, I am willing to visit you if you wish to tell me face to face.”
Debs, 60, is serving two life jail terms for the 1988 murders in Moorabbin of Sergeant
Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rod Miller.
He has also been found guilty of the 1995 murder of Sydney sex worker Donna Hicks, 34,
and killing 18-year-old Melbourne prostitute Kristy Harty in 1997.
Ms MacDiarmid’s father Peter said he hoped the letter to Debs would result in Debs telling
somebody if he knows anything about his daughter’s disappearance.
“I would also like to remind anybody who knows anything about Sarah’s disappearance that
there is a $1 million reward available,” he said.
Alisdair MacDiarmid had just celebrated his 21st birthday the week before his sister disappeared.
He said he hoped that if Debs did know where his sister’s body was he would have the
decency to tell somebody, even if it was anonymously so he couldn’t be implicated.
“Even if the letter just results in us finding Sarah that would be great,” he said.
“If there is more beyond that then so be it.
“It would mean so much to us to identify where Sarah is.”
Police killer Bandali Debs suspect in cold case over disappearance of Sarah MacDiarmid
Four-time killer Bandali Debs has emerged as a suspect in one of Victoria’s most baffling cold-case murders.
Homicide detectives are investigating cop-killer Debs, who executed two police officers in Moorabbin in
1998, over the 1990 disappearance of Frankston woman
Sarah MacDiarmid, 23.
It is unclear whether he was able to help investigators or what has rejuvenated the inquiry.
Today, Victoria Police Commissioner Ken Lay said multiple murderer and cop killer Bandali Debs was a
person of interest in a number of unsolved murders.
He said Debs, who the Herald Sun revealed today emerged as a suspect of the 1990 disappearance of
Sarah MacDiarmid, was one of the worst criminals and “most despicable human beings in Victoria.”
“We will continue to look at a whole host of issues around this man and I suspect work around him
will continue for many years to come,’’ Mr Lay said.
“There is certainly people with significant interest in Mr Debs.
“He has been convicted of a number of murders, he is a person with absolutely no regard for
human life, there are murders going back many, many, many years in this state which some of my
people will look at and think this fits the Debs profile.”
Victoria Police has confirmed the homicide squad is “currently pursuing active lines of
inquiry” in relation to Ms MacDiarmid’s disappearance.
“The case remains unsolved and a $1 million reward for information still exists,” a spokeswoman said.
“Detectives have spoken to a number of persons of interest throughout the course of
the investigation. It’s not appropriate for us to comment on individuals. As this is
an active investigation, it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment further,” she said.
Debs, 60, is serving life in prison for the murders of police officers Gary Silk and
Rod Miller. He has also been convicted of murdering Melbourne teen Kristy Harty in 1997
and Sydney mother-of-three Donna Hicks in 1995.
Ms MacDiarmid disappeared from Kananook railway station, near Frankston, on July 11, 1990.
She had caught a train to Kananook after playing tennis with friends in the
city and intended to pick up her car there.
Witnesses saw Ms MacDiarmid get off the train, walk along a ramp and into the station car park at about 10.20pm.
Blood was found near her red Honda Civic but no trace of her body has ever been found.
Police were called in the next day and more than 250 officers made a three-week
air, sea and land search, one of the biggest in the state’s history.
There have been numerous suspects over the years.
Frankston serial killer Paul Denyer proclaimed his innocence to investigators in
2011 after being approached in jail, where he is serving time for three murders.
A 1996 inquest into Ms MacDiarmid’s death heard that Jodie Jones, a local heroin
addict with a criminal history, was looked at after claiming to have been
involved, but there was not enough evidence to charge her.
Coroner Iain West found that Sarah had met her death by foul play.
A $1 million reward posted in 2004 remains in place for anyone able to help police crack the case.
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The making of a monster
New photographs show the transformation of Bandali Debs from young idealist to notorious multiple murderer
Serial killer Bandali Michael Debs was a master at hiding his inner deadly demon.
But take a close look at this picture obtained exclusively by the Herald Sun and a
hint of malevolence can be seen in his steely glare.
Not even a suit with soft-pink bow tie and cummerbund can hide what appears to be an
evil predisposition lurking behind his eyes.
Debs, 58, was yesterday sentenced to his fourth life sentence without parole - for the
slaying of Sydney prostitute Donna Hicks.
He picked up Ms Hicks, 34, in Sydney in April 1995 and shot her in the head after unprotected sex.
Debs dumped her body naked - save for a dog collar around her neck - near a quarry.
Two years later, Debs picked uo teenage prostitute Kristy Harty in Melbourne's southeast,
near his home, and shot her in the head after unprotected sex.
The following year, in August 1998, he gunned down Sen-Constable Rod Miller and Sgt Gary Silk
who were on a robbery stakeout operation in Moorabbin.
"It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the murder of Ms Hicks was carried out as an
exercise of power or for some thrill or satisfaction ... or a combination of these factors," Justice Robert
Shallcross Hulme told Debs yesterday in the NSW Supreme Court.
"(The circumstances of the Hicks murder) demonstrate, particularly when combined with the circumstances of
the death of Ms Harty, a complete - I emphasis that word - lack of humanity.
"The maximum penalty for murder is life imprisonment. Such a sentence, if imposed, means precisely
that - without the prospect of parole.
"(The community's) only protection is to have you locked up for the rest of your life."
A veteran detective who investigated the bandit turned serial killer says police could never have
estimated Debs's rat cunning and passion for killing.
Ray Watson, a former armed robbery squad senior sergeant, said Debs was an "evil sociopath".
Not a recognised criminal, Debs hid behind the facade of a self-employed family man as he committed
restaurant hold-ups and the four murders between 1991 and 1998.
"I wonder now if we underestimated Debs and his rat cunning," Mr Watson said yesterday.
"I think at the time (in the 1990s) we thought these bandits were relatively low on the criminal
pecking order, and in a way we were right.
"What we didn't foresee was the pure, evil sociopath that Debs turned out to be. If there was ever
a model to be used to rediscover the death penalty, then Bandali Debs is that model."
Herald Sun (25-2-2012)
Bandali Michael Debs found guilty of fourth murder
A Victorian man in jail for murdering two policemen and a prostitute has now been found guilty of murdering a NSW sex worker in 1995.
In the NSW Supreme Court today, a jury found Bandali Michael Debs, 58, guilty of murdering Donna Anne Hicks in western Sydney in April 1995.
Debs is serving a life sentence for the shooting murders of police Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior constable Rod Miller at Moorabbin in Melbourne's outer east in 1998.
He's also been convicted of murdering 18-year-old sex worker Kristy Harty, who was found with a gunshot wound to the head in bushland at upper Beaconsfield, southeast of Melbourne, in 1997.
The NSW jury was not told of the previous convictions, but was told that Debs' DNA profile matched semen taken from both women.
Ms Hicks, a 34-year-old mother of three, was shot dead and left near a quarry wearing nothing but a dog collar.
Justice Robert Shallcross Hulme adjourned his sentencing for the latest conviction to February 24.
The Australian (12-12-2011)
Police killer Bandali Debs among thousands linked to unsolved crimes
Bandali Debs is one of more than 7500 people Victoria Police's DNA database has matched to unsolved crimes they weren't even suspects for.
In the past decade the force's database has linked possible offenders to more than 100 murders and rapes, and thousands of less serious crimes.
Debs was convicted of the 1997 sex slaying of 18-year-old prostitute Kristy Harty as a result of the database matching his DNA with the unsolved murder. His DNA profile was loaded into the database after he was convicted in 2003 of murdering Sgt Gary Silk and Sen-Constable Rodney Miller.
That meant he was automatically compared with DNA profiles obtained from crime scenes going back decades. His profile matched DNA taken from Ms Harty's body.
Debs might never have been considered a suspect were it not for the DNA database linking him to the crime scene where Ms Harty's body was found.
He is one of thousands of Victorian prisoners who have been matched to unsolved crimes.
The database also discovered 2123 cases where the same person committed multiple offences, including serial rapists and burglars.
And it has helped solve hundreds of interstate crimes by linking Victorians with offences.
All those matches were cold hits since 2000-01, as opposed to hot hits where police have a particular suspect for a specific crime and compare the suspect's profile with DNA obtained from the crime scene and get a match.
The advantage of cold hits is that it is the database that makes the link between a person and a crime.
It does so by comparing every sample obtained from criminals and suspects with every DNA sample collected from unsolved crimes, such as semen from a rape, blood from an assault or saliva left on cigarette butts.
That automatic comparison is done every time a sample is added to the database, which now contains the DNA profiles of 25,976 known people and 24,708 unknown people, whose profiles were obtained from evidence left at crime scenes.
Those routine comparisons have thrown up 9697 cold hits in the past decade and almost 500 since July this year.
Most of the DNA database's successes come from the fact almost all convicted criminals in Victoria are forced to provide their DNA so it can be added to the database to be automatically compared with DNA obtained from the scenes of unsolved crimes going back decades.
During the past 10 years those routine checks have resulted in 6673 prisoners being linked to unsolved crimes they were not suspects for -- there were 950 such matches of
prisoners to unsolved crimes in 2009-10 and there have been 353 since July this year.
Victoria Police's new director of forensic services, Karl Kent, provided the DNA figures to the Herald Sun to demonstrate what a powerful crime-fighting tool DNA is.
He also wanted to demonstrate that despite a few DNA failings there continued to be far more DNA positives than negatives and that Victorians could have confidence in the reliability of the state's DNA processes.
Mr Kent was recently brought in from the Australian Federal Police to implement changes to Victoria's DNA and forensic services system after a succession of bungles and damning reports.
First there was the withdrawal of murder charges against Russell John Gesah in August 2008 after he was wrongly linked by DNA to the 1984 murders of mother and daughter Margaret and Seana Tapp.
It was discovered after he was charged that an unrelated exhibit containing DNA from Mr Gesah was tested at the Victoria Police laboratory on the same day and in the same place as material from the Tapp crime scene, leading to contamination. Further tests revealed his DNA did not match DNA left at the Tapp crime scene and the charges were dropped.
That was followed in 2009 by a damning Ombudsman's report that found the Victoria Police forensic services centre was plagued by poor management, industrial disputes and incorrect procedures.
Then 22-year-old Farah Jama was freed from jail in December 2009 after another DNA bungle.
The mistakes caused a major loss of confidence in the reliability of DNA evidence.
Herald Sun (20-12-2010)
Cop killer Bandali Debs to face questions in NSW over woman's death
COLD blooded cop-killer Bandali Michael Debs will be extradited to a New South Wales prison to face questions
over the murder of a prostitute 13 years ago.
Debs, who is serving life imprisonment for the murders of Sgt Gary Silk, Sen-Constable Rodney Miller and
teenage prostitute Kristy Harty, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court via videolink today.
NSW detectives want to question Debs, 57, about the murder of Donna Anne Hicks at Minchinbury, in Sydney's
west, in 1995.
In a 2008 hearing, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court was told Debs' DNA matched DNA collected from the scene
and a car he owned at the time was similar to the one Ms Hicks was last seen getting into.
The court was also told mobile phone and banking records showed Debs was in Sydney's west around the time of the murder.
Today, lawyer Michael De Young, for Debs, told the court his client would fight any charges.
"Not only does he maintain his innocence, he's convinced he won't be convicted,'' Mr De Young said.
Wearing a green prison-issue tracksuit and glasses, a balding Debs flicked through paperwork during the brief hearing.
Magistrate Jon Klestadt approved the application for transfer by the Victorian Government Solicitor's Office.
The application was not opposed or consented to by Mr De Young.
Debs, who is currently at Barwon Prison, has not been charged.
Herald Sun (24-9-2010)
Bandali Debs Loses Appeal Over Conviction for Murder of Teenager
DOUBLE police killer Bandali Michael Debs has lost an appeal against his conviction
and sentence for the murder of a teen prostitute.
Debs was given his third life imprisonment term in June last year after a jury found him
guilty of the cold-case murder of Kristy Harty on a bush track at Upper Beaconsfield in June 1997.
The sentencing judge said Debs was beyond redemption and would be a danger to the community if released.
The court heard Debs, 54, had sex with the 18-year-old before shooting her in the back of the head at close range.
Walkers later discovered her body dumped in rugged bushland.
Court of Appeal Justices Frank Vincent, Marcia Neave and Mark Weinberg unanimously
dismissed Debs' appeal.
They found it was clearly open for the sentencing judge not to set a non-parole term
for Debs in what they described as an appalling crime.
"The victim was a defenceless young woman who was shot and killed for no apparent
reason," the judgment said.
"Ms Harty's family will suffer the life-long effects of knowing that heir mentally
ill daughter, and sister, died a senseless and humiliating death, simply because she
had the misfortune to encounter someone as cruel, vicious and malevolent as the applicant."
Debs was sentenced to two life sentences in 2002 for the murders of Sgt Gary Silk
and Sen-Constable Rodney Miller.
Herald Sun (3-12-2008)
Police-Killer Guilty Of Sex Worker Murder
DOUBLE police-murderer Bandali Debs has been found guilty of murdering
an intellectually disabled sex worker 10 years ago.
Kristy Mary Harty, 18, was shot in the back of the head in Victoria's
Upper Beaconsfield on or about June 17, 1997.
During a trial lasting almost four weeks, a Victorian Supreme Court jury
was told Ms Harty's semi-naked body was found in undergrowth, with a
bullet, a bone and an unused condom nearby.
Debs, 53, pleaded not guilty to murdering the woman, who at the time was
working as a masseuse. She was working as a prostitute on the Princes
Highway in Dandenong the day she died.
Prosecutor Andrew Tinney had told the court police uncovered a gun and
ammunition buried in the garden of a house owned by Debs's mother at
Epping in Sydney. He said it was the same type of gun used to kill Ms Harty.
Debs's barrister Christopher Dane QC had argued that even if the jury
accepted the prosecution's DNA case, there was nothing linking his
client to Ms Harty within 24 hours of her death.
During the trial before Justice Stephen Kaye, the jury was told that
bodily fluid found on Ms Harty was 370 billion times more likely to
be Debs's than any randomly selected Caucasian man in the state.
Debs's lawyers argued the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence
and evidence from unrelated criminal investigations involving their client.
Justice Kaye adjourned the case for sentencing on June 8.
Outside court, Ms Harty's cousin Mary Hamilton described Debs as an
immoral, "cruel, nasty, horrible man".
She said Ms Harty should have had a much nicer life.
"She was just an average kid, very naive and this was not what was meant
to happen to her - she should have had a much nicer life than this, she
had much more potential," she said.
"She was a beautiful girl, just like anyone else's 18-year-old daughter
that maybe had done something wrong in their lives and things hadn't gone
the way they wanted them to go."
Detective Senior Sergeant John Kearney, formerly of the homicide squad,
said he was happy with the verdict.
"This is a very callous murder - a young girl for no apparent reason was
shot through the head in circumstances that were very, very chilling," he
"She was a young troubled girl and I think it was good she had her day
today, it was a very pleasing result."
In February, 2003, Debs was jailed for life and his co-offender Jason Joseph
Roberts given a minimum non-parole period of 35 years for murdering Sergeant
Gary Silk, 35, and Senior Constable Rodney Miller, 34.
The pair was gunned down while on an undercover operation to track down two
armed robbers after midnight on August 6, 1998, in Moorabbin, in Melbourne's
Debs was matched to Ms Harty's murder after a blood sample was taken from him
during his arrest in 2000 over the shootings.
Melissa Iaria/ Mariza O'Keefe
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