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Archive for the ‘ESCAPES’ Category

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.

‘We’ll only rape you if you’re good,’ her attackers told Kate Moir. Picture Channel 7 image www.crimefiles.net

‘We’ll only rape you if you’re good,’ her attackers told Kate Moir. Picture: Channel 7

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.

Serial killer David Birnie in a mustard-coloured robe image www.crimefiles.net

Serial killer David Birnie in a mustard-coloured robe. Picture: Channel 7

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.

Catherine Birnie was ‘the puppeteer’ giving ‘the tick of approval’ to the pair’s sick crimes, says survivor Kate Moir.image www.crimefiles.net

Catherine Birnie was ‘the puppeteer’ giving ‘the tick of approval’ to the pair’s sick crimes, says survivor Kate Moir. Picture: Channel 7

‘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.”

David Birnie forced Kate to dance with him ahead of the first rape image www.crimefiles.net

David Birnie forced Kate to dance with him ahead of the first rape. Picture: Channel 7

“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.

They didn’t.

The Moorhouse Street home in Perth, which became known as the death house, where the Birnies lived and killed.image www.crimefiles.net

The Moorhouse Street home in Perth, which became known as the death house, where the Birnies lived and killed. Picture: Channel 7

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 image www.crimefiles.net

Kate Moir as a teenager in Perth. Picture: News Corp

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guzman drug baron arrested image www.crimefiles.net

Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escaped through a lengthy tunnel under his prison cell’s shower, authorities have said, marking his second jail break and an embarrassing blow to the government.

A massive manhunt was launched after Guzman vanished late on Saturday from the Altiplano maximum-security prison, some 90km west of Mexico City.

The Sinaloa cartel kingpin, whose empire stretches around the globe, had been in prison for 17 months after spending 13-years on the lam.

After security cameras lost sight of Guzman, guards went into the cell and found a hole 10m deep with a ladder, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said.

The gap led to the 1.5km tunnel with a ventilation and light system, Rubido said, adding that its exit was in a building that was under construction in central Mexico State.

A motorcycle on a rail system was found in the tunnel and is believed to have been used to transport tools and remove earth from the space, which was 1.7m high and around 80cm wide.

Rubido said 18 prison guards will be interrogated by prosecutors in Mexico City.

Until Guzman escaped, Rubido said, “the day had gone on normally and at around 8:00 pm he was given his daily dose of medicine.”

Some 250 police and troops guarded the outskirts of the vast prison, surrounded by corn fields, while a helicopter hovered overheads.

Soldiers manned checkpoints on the nearby highway, using flashlights to look at the faces of car passengers and searching car trunks and the backs of trucks.

Flights were suspended at the nearby Toluca airport.

The Altiplano prison in central Mexico State houses the country’s most notorious drug lords, murderers and kidnappers.

Guzman’s first break from prison was in 2001, when he slipped past authorities by hiding in a laundry cart. He had been arrested in Guatemala in 1993.

Marines had recaptured him in February 2014 in a pre-dawn raid in a condo in Mazatlan, a Pacific resort in Sinaloa state, with the help of the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

Authorities had already investigated a strange prison visit to Guzman in March, when a woman managed to see him by using a fake ID to get in.

His second escape is sure to embarrass the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto, who was flying to France for a state visit when Guzman fled.

Pena Nieto’s government had won praise for capturing the powerful kingpin, a diminutive but feared man whose nickname means “Shorty.”

After his last capture, the government had paraded Guzman in front of television cameras, showing the mustachioed mafia boss being frogmarched by two marines before taking him to prison on a helicopter.

The US government had hailed his capture as “landmark achievement” while some US prosecutors wanted to ask for his extradition, but Mexican officials insisted on trying him first.

Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel empire stretches along Mexico’s Pacific coast and deals drugs to the United States and as far as Europe and Asia.

His legend grew in the years that followed his first escape.

The United States had offered a US$5 million reward for information leading to his arrest, while the city of Chicago — a popular destination for Sinaloa narcotics — declared him “Public Enemy Number One,” joining American gangster Al Capone as the only criminal to ever get the moniker.

Folk ballads known as “narcocorridos,” tributes to drug capos, sang his praises.

He used to be on Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires until the US publication said in 2013 that it could not verify his wealth and that it believed he was increasingly spending his fortune on protection.

He married an 18-year-old beauty queen, Emma Coronel, in 2007 and is believed to have 10 children with various women.

Coronel was with him when he was arrested last year. His capture sparked small protests by supporters in Culiacan, Sinaloa’s capital, where Guzman nurtured a Robin Hood image.

In Culiacan, authorities found a home with a bathtub that rose up electronically to open a secret tunnel that he used to escape the authorities before being caught in Mazatlan.

His cartel became entangled in brutal turf wars against the paramilitary-like Zetas cartel and other gangs for years.

More than 80,000 people have been killed in drug violence in Mexico since 2006.

The drug war began to escalate after former president Felipe Calderon sent the army and navy to rein in the cartels in 2006, a deployment that analysts say exacerbated the violence.

More than 10,000 were killed in Ciudad Juarez alone in violence attributed to battles between Sinaloa and Juarez cartel members for supremacy in the key drug corridor at the border with the US state of Texas.

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YOUNG USA MAN ESCAPES FROM ARMED KIDNAPPERS

An American teenager abducted by Islamist militants in the Philippines five months ago fled barefoot through the jungle after telling his captors he was going for a bath in a stream.

Kevin Lunsmann, 14, tricked his four armed Abu Sayyaf kidnappers on Friday.

He evaded their clutches, then followed the stream down a mountain and walked for two days without shoes before he was found by villagers on the island of Basilan.

Great escape ... Kevin Lunsmann, right, a kidnapped American teenage boy, talks to Zamboanga city mayor Celso Lobregat.Great escape … Kevin Lunsmann, right, talks to Zamboanga city mayor Celso Lobregat. Photo: AP

At first he feared they might be sympathetic to his captors and fled. But after a brief chase, the villagers convinced the boy, who was exhausted, hungry and in shock, that they meant him no harm, and his ordeal was finally over late on Saturday.

“He was in fear, so there was a bit of a chase before the villagers convinced him that they were friends,” said police Senior Superintendent Edwin de Campo, adding that Kevin had bruises on his arms and feet but was otherwise fine.

Harry Thomas, the US ambassador to the Philippines, said that Kevin had talked to his family by phone and would be reunited with them shortly.

He added: “In this holiday season nothing makes me happier than knowing that an innocent victim is returned to his family in time for the holiday celebrations.”

Kevin was seized with his Filipino-American mother, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, 50, and a Filipino cousin, Romnick Jakaria, 19, while they were on holiday with relatives on an island near Zamboanga city on July 12.

In a carefully co-ordinated raid at 3am more than a dozen armed men stormed the resort on Tictabon Island, off Mindanao, and overpowered the guards.

Police said that Mrs Lunsmann, who grew up on Basilan and changed her name from Jerpa Usman, was visiting relatives and had intended to return with Kevin to her husband in Virginia.

Their captors took the hostages to Basilan island and called the family in the US to demand a ransom. Mrs Lunsmann was freed two months ago, but it is unclear whether a ransom was paid.

Mr Jakaria escaped last month when special forces from the Philippines army got near an Abu Sayyaf mountain redoubt.

Kidnapping for ransom has long been a problem in the impoverished southern Philippines where most of the seizures are blamed on Abu Sayyaf, which has fought a decades-long insurgency.

Troops hunting the militants had engaged one Abu Sayyaf group in a firefight near Lamitan town where Kevin was eventually found. This may have distracted his captors and allowed him the chance to escape.

But Philippines army Colonel Ricardo Visaya said he asked the boy if he had been set free, suggesting a ransom might have been paid.

The boy replied: “No, I really did it myself.”


Six inmates in freedom bid 95 kilometres off coast of Mexico


Six inmates have been recaptured after a daring escape from an island penal colony off Mexico that was like a replica of the 1973 film Papillon, starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.

The prisoners were fleeing from Islas Marias, home to the last island penal colony in the Americas, and attempted to swim to freedom using an assortment of empty plastic containers to keep themselves afloat in the Pacific.

They made it 95 kilometres before being spotted by a passing boat. A Mexican naval unit was tipped off and water patrol vessels were dispatched to fish the men out of the water and take them back to the colony to face yet more time in the colony.

Hit film ... Steve McQueen, left, and Dustin Hoffman starred in Papillon.
Hit film … Steve McQueen, left, and Dustin Hoffman starred in Papillon. Photo: AP

 

Photographs released by the Mexican navy showed them topless and sunburnt.

The penal colony is 110 kilometres from the coast of Mexico at the shortest crossing point, but instead of heading due east the group swam south into open water.

Maybe they wanted to swim to Australia and become the new boat people without a boat.

It is thought they were either dragged by currents, or were heading for the resort of Puerto Vallarta further down the coast [or Australia]. They were 90 kilometres from Puerto Vallarta when found.

The penal colony was founded in 1905 and was intended to be an escape-proof prison, using the Pacific as a security barrier. The colony was taken out of use in the 1990s during a modernisation programme.

But due to overcrowding elsewhere, in 2004 it was reopened and hundreds of inmates from across Mexico were transferred there.

Over 1000 inmates are held at the facility. They are not normally locked up and reside in small houses, tending gardens and growing their own food.

The escapees, who ranged in age from 28 to 39, were taken by boat to Puerto Vallarta to be medically checked and were deemed to be in good health.

Mexico’s interior department said they would be returned to the penal colony ” in a matter of hours”.

Papillon was based on the memoir of the killer Henri Charriere and tells the story of an escape from a penal colony in French Guiana.


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