IT’S the painstaking, stark detail in her police statement that speaks volumes.
Kate Moir was just 17, had endured three rapes, hours of terror, frantically calculating her odds of living through being in the clutches of Australia’s worst serial killers, David and Catherine Birnie.
Later as she sat with police, she clinically detailed the shininess of the chains with which she was shackled to the bed, the cold feel and weight of them as they went on, the “mustard-coloured robe” her rapist wore as she was used as a plaything.
The marijuana they shared with her. The showers they made her take before and after she was raped.
The movies they made her watch. The one left in the video player when she escaped.
The clues she left in what became known as the death house in Perth: a lipstick stashed in the couch; a slip of paper with her phone number; the sleeping pills she wouldn’t swallow stuffed under the mattress … anything that would leave a trail to help someone discover the truth about what had happened and who had done it when she wound up dead.
This is the story of the woman who survived by her wits, and a stroke of luck, and ended a four-week killing spree at the hands of monsters that left four other women dead.
And 30 years since escaping the clutches of the Birnies the memories remain clear, and Ms Moir has finally shared the full details of that night, and her escape, in her first television interview.
Her story, and that of that then rookie police officer who took that statement — it was Constable Laura Hancock’s first day on the job — are the centrepiece of the first installment of Channel Seven’s new crime show Murder Uncovered.
The investigative series revisits some of Australia’s worst crimes, with those who were there telling their stories, as well as uncovering new evidence.
The first episode traces the horrific killing spree of the Birnies, revisiting the police investigation, the four murders they were jailed for and the chilling ways they finetuned their rituals and lured their victims.
It speaks with the families of the killers, as well as investigating another three disappearances many believe came at the evil duo’s hands.
“I asked ‘Are you going to rape me or kill me?’ Ms Moir tells Murder Uncovered of that night on November 9, 1986, when she had accepted a lift from a harmless-looking couple after a night out with friends in Perth.
The reply was: “We’ll only rape you if you’re good.”
What the “very drunk” Ms Moir could not know when she accepted the lift home was Catherine and David Birnie were four murders into a four-week killing spree.
Outside Ms Moir’s family home, she tried the car door, but there was no interior door handle.
They told her to use the outside handle. It wasn’t there.
The butcher’s knife flashed out of his ugg boot and against her throat.
‘I’VE GOT THE MUNCHIES’
“I remember hearing, ‘Have you got the munchies?’,” Ms Moir recalls.
Those words were Catherine Birnie’s sick sign to her husband they’d found their latest target.
“David was the puppet, Catherine was the puppeteer.
“She gave the tick of approval. She would say ‘I’ve got the munchies’, which meant ‘you can have this one’.
“You know you’re gonna die but you don’t acknowledge that to yourself, you just live it,” she says, as she relives the two hours that led up to the first rape.
They quizzed her about who she was, put on a video of the movie, Rambo, made her shower.
“I remember thinking it was weird to make me shower before they raped me,” she says.
“They made me dance in front of them to (Dire Straits song) Romeo and Juliet. It was two hours of mental torture. I cried when I danced.”
“I had a 200 per cent chance of dying and 5 per cent chance of getting away,” she says.
He raped her the first time, not long after midnight. Catherine Birnie watched. And took notes.
Another shower. Chained to a bed.
Sometime during the night, she convinced them to give her a pen and paper, and wrote “goodbye letters” to her loved ones.
When she began screaming, he told her the “sleeping arrangements have changed” and moved her to their master bedroom, where the rapes continued.
‘I THOUGHT IF I WENT TO SLEEP, I’D NEVER WAKE UP’
He handcuffed by her foot to his, told her to take the pills he offered and go to sleep.
She hid them under her tongue, then stuffed them under the mattress.
“I thought if I went to sleep I’d never wake up.”
In the morning, she was ordered to call her parents. She told them she’d got really drunk, in the hope they would be furious, not having previously known she drank, and start searching.
When David Birnie went to work, Ms Moir says, she changed her odds of surviving to “50/50” — she just had to get away from Catherine, try to befriend her, get her to drop her guard.
A knock on the front door distracted her captor, who forgot to secure her victim, and Ms Moir saw her only chance.
“The (bedroom) window must have been locked. I got the courage to break the lock and push it open,” she says.
She fell out the window onto the driveway, struggled up, bolted across the road to the nearest house. She tried three doors with nobody home, and got attacked by a dog before, hysterical, barefoot, wearing only black leggings and a singlet, she saw a store opposite.
She ran to the man standing outside it.
“I said ‘Help I’ve been raped. Please take me inside and call the police’,” Ms Moir says.
“If a woman comes here and says I’ve had a fight with her and I’m her daughter, don’t believe her. I’ve been raped.”
He sped with her to the local police station. They screeched to a stop in a cloud of dust.
Now she had to make police believe her.
And with that, the Birnies had lost their serial killer script.
David Birnie hanged himself in prison. Catherine Birnie is eligible for parole this year.
Murder Uncovered premieres on Wednesday, February 8 at 9pm on Seven
Kate Moir as a teenager in Perth. Picture: News Corp