Australia Australia - Elizabeth 'Beth' Barnard, 23, Phillip Island, VIC, 22 Sep 1986

CatMama3

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Wow. Did I read this story correctly? Maybe the wife killed the girlfriend then committed suicide, or maybe someone else killed the girlfriend and the wife. And if the second scenario is true, maybe the unknown killer made it look like the first scenario, or maybe the locals chose to see it that way rather than consider a double homicide. I wonder how far the wife's truck was found from the bridge where she supposedly committed suicide. If the first scenario is true, why would her truck be found someplace other than where she died? Did she drive it there, park it and come back to the bridge to jump? That alone sounds weird. Unless I mis-read or missed something.
 

Alice253

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Wow, what a story! Personally, at first glance, I lean toward Fergus as the perp - both his women getting ready to leave him. I know he supposedly had an alibi, but so do lots of other perps. This is one mystery I would like to see WS's dig their teeth into and see what scenarios we can come up with. I'll be back tonight after work.
 

curious1

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FFWifey said:
Wow. Did I read this story correctly? Maybe the wife killed the girlfriend then committed suicide, or maybe someone else killed the girlfriend and the wife. And if the second scenario is true, maybe the unknown killer made it look like the first scenario, or maybe the locals chose to see it that way rather than consider a double homicide. I wonder how far the wife's truck was found from the bridge where she supposedly committed suicide. If the first scenario is true, why would her truck be found someplace other than where she died? Did she drive it there, park it and come back to the bridge to jump? That alone sounds weird. Unless I mis-read or missed something.
Whoa FFWifey! Switch to decaf!! :crazy: Just kidding. When I read it I was reading it like 'what if, but then what if oh but what if'...only 3 times faster. I felt like my dog chasing her tail. I get like that sometimes myself. One theory comes to you and the all the others just start coming at you at the same time and it alls just goes very fast. Very good points you made.
 

OkieGranny

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From January 2015:

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/la...emains-a-mystery/story-fnat7jnn-1226505503291

Beth worked as a farmhand on the Cameron family property. The Camerons were wealthy, having once owned the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and large tracts of land. Just hours before her death, 23-year-old Beth had said good night to her lover and boss, married father-of-two Fergus Cameron... Later that morning, he would wake to news that his mistress had been brutally murdered.

The attack on Beth was “horrific”, says former homicide squad detective Rory O’Connor, who headed the investigation... She had been stabbed repeatedly and her throat had been cut... “It was personal all right. There is no doubt about intent whatsoever. Even Beth’s fingers were all cut up because she was trying to hold the blade back.”

Most shocking was the large letter “A” carved into Beth’s chest. “You’re talking about four slashes one way, ten slashes the other and five across. That’s not just someone gently carving an A,” O’Connor said.
 
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PoisonIvy

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31 years cold

It amazes me that a case as bizarre as this one is so low profile. This can surely be solved.
 

The Odd Sock

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I'm enthralled by this case. What strikes me as odd is that we cannot get any information on it. Vicki Petrakis (Sorry Vicki for spelling your name incorrectly) wrote a book on it and we can no longer get it as it is not in print. So frustrating.
 

PoisonIvy

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I agree, this is a very interesting and mysterious case that was somehow swept under the carpet and that is where it has remained. The book is really good, definitely worth the read. I got my copy off ebay years ago and if you keep an eye out there, you should be able to pick up a copy. Completed listings shows there were 4 copies available and sold in the last 3 months.

<modsnip: Not an approved source>
 
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BoysTown

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I'm enthralled by this case. What strikes me as odd is that we cannot get any information on it. Vicki Petrakis (Sorry Vicki for spelling your name incorrectly) wrote a book on it and we can no longer get it as it is not in print. So frustrating.

I just downloaded the ebook of it on Kobo :)
 

Gem.F

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I grew up on Phillip Island (aged 1-20yrs), and this case was rarely spoken about. I was handed down my Mum's copy of the book, which amazed me, because I've spent my entire childhood and adolescent years in the same places mentioned in the book. I crossed the bridge every day on my way to high school, my friend lived on the same road as Beth's house, and I frequented the milkbar across from where Vivienne's car was found.
The most suspicious part to me, is that Viveinne supposedly jumped to her death that night on the bridge. As far as I know, no one has EVER died on that bridge. In fact, I know plenty of people who would jump off the bridge, just for a thrill. Groups of boys would take turns jumping, to prove their masculinity, before swimming back to shore completely unharmed.
Also, according to Vivienne's friends, she had known about the affair for some time (and it wasn't even his first affair), so why was this time so different? Why would she suddenly snap, drive all the way to Beth's house, brutally murder her, and carve an A into her body? If she had managed to ignore (and not murder) Fergus' previous love interests, why would she murder Beth?
As for the crime not being solved, or even thoroughly investigated- its quite sad that these small town murders are so easily looked over. I always got the feeling that no one really wanted to talk about it, because it was so awful, and basically considered unsolved.
 

islandJake

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Hey Gem, im just curious as to where the barnard house was? Im relatively new to the island and was blown away when i did some research on where i live. I drove down McFees rd and it looks like it might have been number 128 which would have probably been demolished and rebuilt if it was there, and recently sold too. Any info would be appreciated!
 

FiveOClockSomewhere

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Hi,

I have Vikki Petrakis’ & Paul Daley’s book, it’s a good read, though very limited in information. It leaves you questioning why the murder was so easily dismissed as the scenario commonly accepted, when there were at least a couple of feasible alternatives. I’m only guessing here, but the authors would probably have been heavily impeded by the, ‘No one talks about that’ attitude towards it that the long-time locals of Phillip Island have, (I lived there for a couple of years, and like you I was curious). Though the authors remain impartial in their presentation of the information they managed to gather, reading between the lines leaves you with the feeling they felt there was a lot more to the story, but that anyone who might know the truth wouldn’t be sharing it in this lifetime.

To me the idea of Vivienne jumping off the San Remo bridge is, whilst not impossible, a bit too simplistic and convenient, and probably not what happened. I say ‘probably’ because there are a lot of variables which would suggest that, even in a post-psychotic state, it’s unlikely a person would have chosen this place to suicide. Kids jump off, (or used to), the San Remo bridge in hot weather. It’s not a suicide leap. There are far more suitable places on Phillip Island to commit certain suicide. I think it’s more likely that someone picked Vivienne up in the early hours of the morning, at the point where the Cameron’s ute was found parked on the Newhaven side of the bridge. She had made a ‘phone call to her brother early on the day of the murder, arranging to stay with him, arriving the following day. There used to be a ‘phone box near where the ute was found, but nothing mentioned in the book about call records for the relevant date being investigated by police, or of any other telephone calls made from the various locations involved. Could just be an author’s oversight, restriction of information, or maybe it just wasn’t considered necessary to the investigation. But it does beg the question, was this thoroughly investigated?

The other potential scenario that’s logistically possible, (according to the book only), would involve Fergus Cameron doing something horrendous, but I just don’t see it. I think he was just a dumb-*advertiser censored* philanderer, maybe even a covert narcissist, (which would explain Vivienne’s pent-up rage), with no insight into his own behaviour. I don’t think for a minute that he murdered anyone. If he was a murderer he would have got rid of Vivienne much earlier than this, because his behaviour during events leading up to the murder suggested that, despite his friendly, calm exterior, he had little regard or consideration for other people.
 

FiveOClockSomewhere

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Hey Gem, im just curious as to where the barnard house was? Im relatively new to the island and was blown away when i did some research on where i live. I drove down McFees rd and it looks like it might have been number 128 which would have probably been demolished and rebuilt if it was there, and recently sold too. Any info would be appreciated!

It's the property with the post and rail fencing, which is No.128
 

k-mac

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so many cases here in Australia where whatever the cheating lying husband says......that's it...good enough for law enforcement.
ESPECIALLY WHEN MONEY OR SPORTING IDENTITIES ARE INVOLVED.

two women are dead imo and they didn't kill themselves.
 

Intriguedbyintrigue

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I've read Vikki Petrakis' book and listened to a couple of podcasts about the Beth's murder (Australian True Crime and Casefile). Its a most fascinating case, made more so by all the unanswered questions! I find it so strange that the only source of information about the case is Vikki and that there are no Where is Vivianne/What happened to Beth type campaigns. I know the coroner made a finding but with so many unanswered questions it amazes me that there isnt a push to clear Viviannes name because she could just as easily be a second victim as the person of interest.
 

Intriguedbyintrigue

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Late to the party, but I am fascinated by this and looking to discuss.

With Beth being an employee of the Cameron's it may not be unusual to find a document of hers at Fergus house (the podcast/book dont say what the document actually was). If Fergus sustained his injuries killing Beth her blood may have been in his hair when he arrived home which then transferred to the documents when he sat on the bed.

Fergus travelled from work to Beth's and then home in the sedan. It was also the sedan Vivianne used to take Fergus to the hosptial but it doesnt seem as though the sedan was forensically examined (for Beth's blood). Which seems a huge oversight.

Both crime scenes (Beth's house and the 4wd) were also discovered and interacted with by the Cameron family before being reported to police. The 4wd left at the bridge seemed staged prehaps to divert attention from the sedan (the actual vehicle involved) and also to focus the search for Vivianne away from the farm/cliffs.

As a theory I think that Beth gave Fergus the ultimatum she planned and he killed her sustaining his injuries in the process. He went home and told Viviane that Beth had injured him (perhaps he said he was ending the affair). They go to the hospital with the bogus wine glass story to avoid embarrassment. Vivianne didnt know Beth was dead but was resolved to leave Fergus and take the kids, an attitude which is supported by Viviannes eagerness to have Fergus stay in hospital (she wanted him out of the way so she could leave with her kids). When they get home Fergus convinces Vivianne to sleep on it. Possibly due to the threat of the scorned mistress Vivianne goes to one inlaw for the night and Fergus the other which leaves Fergus free to return to Beths and stage the body/crime scene. The kids go to Robyn because Vivianne wanted the kids somewhere neutral (so she wouldnt be stopped leaving with them). This explains why Viviane doesnt answer the phone next day, she wasnt home yet. When she does return home she waits for Fergus to come and discuss their separation and while waiting makes the call about the pattern (unaware of Beths murder). The Cameron family houses are walking distance apart. The timing of the 'discovery' of Beths murder and notification to police could have been timed with Fergus walking home to meet Vivianne in order to keep the only police officer on the island occupied. The Cameron family had several interactions with the car before it was secured by police also giving opportunity for it to be staged (handbag/towel).
 

TootsieFootsie

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Just listening to the Thursday 30th January 2020 episode of Nightlife on the ABC

One segment was an interview with Vicki Petrakis who revisits this case in her new book, Inside The Law, 25 Years of True Crime Writing.

Nightlife episodes are on the website for about a week after they air.


The interview is at the 1:15:40 mark

Nightlife featuring Motortorque with Toby Hagon
 
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