Australia Australia - Betty Shanks, 23, Brisbane, 20 Sept 1952

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by nicbok, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. nicbok

    nicbok New Member

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    This case has always fascinated me, and it remains unsolved. I'm posting it today because Brisbane detectives have received a deathbed confession from an 80 year old man, confessing to Betty's murder. They have taken DNA from this man and are reopening the case. Fingers crossed that this 53 year old murder will be solved!

    At about 5.35am on 20 September 1952, Betty Shanks' body was found in the front yard of a residence at the corner of Carberry and Thomas Streets, Grange, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. She had been violently kicked and beaten. She was last seen at 9.32pm on 19 September 1952, when she left the tram terminus at Days Road, Grange.

    This is a great account of the case, an official QLD police media release -

    and here's today's report about the new confession -,5744,15048290%255E1702,00.html
  2. Loading...

  3. VespaElf

    VespaElf Little Miss Showcase(runner-up)

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    OOohhh thank you very sharing!!!!

    Please keep us updated on the DNA status! I doubt we'll get any news from Oz here about it.

    Wouldnt that be something if there is a match?? It'll be very bittersweet I guess.
  4. Jenn

    Jenn Inactive

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    That is a very interesting development! Please keep us posted!! :D
  5. Bluecat

    Bluecat New Member

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:

    Luckiest woman alive

    A LOOK-ALIKE Betty Shanks could be the key to the 54-year-old mystery, according to a new book on Brisbane's most infamous murder.

    The woman, now 89 and still living in Brisbane, left work unexpectedly early that September night in 1952. That might have saved her life and cost Betty hers.

    Respected journalist Ken Blanch, who covered the awful crime from the beginning, tells the story of the extraordinary luck of Ena Ellen Betty Hamilton in his book Who Killed Betty Shanks: The Wilston Murder-Mystery, which will be released this month on the anniversary of the event said to have changed the character of easy-going Brisbane.

    Every older Queenslander knows the Betty Shanks story: a thoroughly decent girl, 23, who was murdered walking home at night from Grange tram terminus.

    Her body – she had been strangled and suffered terrible head injuries – was found the next morning in a back yard near her home.

    Blanch writes: "Ena Hamilton lived into her old age in Brisbane. She might have been the luckiest woman in Queensland.

    "Miss Hamilton lived with her parents two blocks from Betty Shanks. In her mid-30s, she worked as a hairdresser, and 'doubled' three nights a week as receptionist for Dr Leonard Knott at his surgery at the Grange terminus in Days Rd.

    "Notwithstanding their age disparity, Miss Hamilton looked like Betty Shanks, particularly in build. She was the girl tram conductor Reginald Walsh mistook for Betty during the fatal tram journey; and she walked down Thomas St through the darkened gauntlet of death created by the bauhinia trees 12 minutes ahead of the murder victim. Only a strange quirk of fate prevented the two women from reaching the scene of Betty's frightful murder at the same time."

    Blanch explains how Miss Hamilton normally ceased duty at 9.30pm. She worked as usual that Friday night, but left the doctor's surgery 10 minutes early.

    "Miss Hamilton walked across Carberry St, through the shadow of death cast by the three bauhinia trees, and on to her parents' home 200m away at the corner of Thomas and Daisy streets.

    "Twelve minutes later after the receptionist's departure from the tram terminus, her look-alike, Betty Shanks left tram 434 there at 9.32pm and walked the same route to encounter a savage killer.

    "Was Betty Shanks mistaken a second time that night for Ena Hamilton?"

    As for motive, Blanch suggests what has become the world's most common – drugs. Had the killer stalked her and ambushed her for the keys to the doctor's surgery? That might explain the ferocity of the attack: anger and frustration at not finding what he was after. The motive certainly was not sex.

    Blanch tells the stories surrounding all the usual suspects: The Man at the Terminus, The Bloodstained Man, The Ipswich Doctor (who committed suicide two days after Betty's death), the Man in the Brown Suit.

    He speculates on the strange pattern marks on Betty's forehead: "The marks touched off a forensic guessing game that has gone on ever since. Suggested causes of the patterned bruises have ranged from bludgeoning with a shotbag cosh to simple post mortem discolouration."

    Another theory was it came from the pattern of a stick-on shoe or boot sole.

    "Magnification of a photograph of the marks on Betty's forehead studied during the preparation of this book disclosed that not all the dots were round. Some appeared to be square or rectangular; others were of regular shape, and the abrasions contained groups of smaller dots."

    Blanch claimed to have found something that left an identical pattern – the canvas gaiters then worn over the tops of army boots.

    Investigators were "aware of the possibility" a serviceman could be the killer, and all military establishments were checked for personnel on leave or AWOL.

    • Who Killed Betty Shanks: The Wilston Murder-Mystery (Jack Sim's Publications) will be launched at the Brisbane Writers' Festival next Sunday.
  6. OkieGranny

    OkieGranny New Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:

    From October 2014:


Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice