In February 2000, Katherine Knight – a mother of four – stabbed her long-term boyfriend, John Price, in the home the couple had shared in New South Wales. She impaled him approximately 37 times while he was asleep, then used her skills as an abattoir to remove his skin. She dismembered his body and used parts in a dinner recipe. Reportedly, she intended to serve the meal to Price’s adult children. Knights actions shocked Australia, and many drew comparisons between her and some of the most prolific cannibal killers.
In October 2001, Australia’s Supreme Court sentenced Knight to life without parole. Knight’s sentence was unprecedented in Australia at the time, making her the first female killer down under to receive no possibility of parole.
Knight Stabbed Her Boyfriend To Death
On February 29, 2000, 44-year-old Katherine Knight had sex with her de facto husband, 45-year-old John Price, at their home in Aberdeen, New South Wales, Australia. Shortly after the couple had sex, Price fell asleep. Moments later, Knight impaled him repeatedly in the chest.
Despite suffering multiple injuries, Price managed to escape from the bedroom, leaving a bloody trail behind him as he made his way to the front door. Price was unable to the flee the house, and he ultimately died of the 37 wounds Knight had inflicted with a butcher’s knife. Earlier that day, Price had gone to court to file an Apprehended Violence Order against Knight.
She Removed The Skin From Her Victim’s Body
Knight struck many of Price’s vital organs. After he died, she used her experience butchering animals to skin and dismember his body. Knight used a knife to remove the skin from his body and hung it from a meat hook she had previously installed in her living room.
Knight had years of experience as an abattoir, working in Australian slaughterhouses. She used the same instruments on Price as she did on the animals.
She Cooked His Body Parts And Served Them For Dinner
After decapitating the body, Knight placed Price’s head in a pot on her stove and cooked it with a variety of vegetables. She also roasted cut pieces of flesh in the oven. Then, Knight placed the dish – which she served with vegetables, baked potatoes, and gravy – on the dining table.
Reportedly, she wrote place cards with messages for Price’s adult children, which she set next to each meal. The authorities later found an additional portion of Price’s cooked buttocks in the backyard, leading investigators to suspect Knight may have engaged in cannibalism before tossing the remains outside for her dogs to eat
Medical Officials Noted Knight’s Expert Precision
Knight – who had once worked in a slaughterhouse where she dismembered animals – removed Price’s head and skin using the same knives she’d used to decapitate pigs. Knight peeled Price’s body with such expertise and precision that she was able to leave the entire skin intact, including Price’s nose, ears, genitals, mouth, and hair.
Medical officials reported that Knight had removed Price’s skin in an experienced manner, allowing them to later reattach the skin to his body prior to the funeral service.
She Said She Had Amnesia And Didn’t Remember Killing, Skinning, And Cooking Price
When Price failed to show up for work on March 1, 2000, his supervisor sent someone to the home he shared with Knight to check on his well-being. Price’s co-worker immediately noticed blood on the house’s front door, so he contacted law enforcement. When officers arrived at the Aberdeen home, they forced the door open.
In the house, officials also discovered Knight in a coma-like state after taking pills in an effort to end her own life. The authorities rushed Knight to the hospital for medical treatment, and she eventually recovered. When investigators asked Knight why she killed her boyfriend, she initially claimed she had no recollection of the events that took place the night before.
Price Feared For His Life
Just prior to killing her boyfriend on February 29, 2000, Knight impaled Price in the chest, an assault that had caused him to kick his girlfriend out of the home they shared in Aberdeen. Reportedly, Knight had a documented history of domestic violence. Fearing she would harm him again, Price went to a magistrate’s court on the morning of his murder and got a restraining order to keep Knight away from him and his children.
Later that day, Price told his co-workers he was afraid of his girlfriend, even stating that if he didn’t come in to work the next day, it would probably be because Knight had killed him.
She Had A History Of Violence
In 1974, Knight married her first husband, David Kellett. She later hit him in the head with a frying pan, fracturing his skull, because he came home late one night. After Kellett left Knight in August 1976, Knight convinced a neighbor and her 16-year-old daughter to give her a ride, claiming she needed to take her infant, Melissa Ann, to the hospital for medical treatment.
Once inside the vehicle, Knight pulled a knife on the woman and her daughter, demanding that they take her to find her estranged husband in Queensland. A struggle ensued, and Knight ended up slashing the woman underneath her eye, an incident that resulted in Knight spending time in a psychiatric hospital.
She Killed A Former Boyfriend’s Puppy
After her marriage to her first husband ended, Knight met David Saunders in 1986 and the couple quickly moved in together. However, like with her past and future relationships, Knight became violent and jealous shortly after they started dating. During their reportedly tumultuous relationship, Knight impaled Saunders with scissors and hit him with an iron – causing him to require stitches and suffer broken ribs. She later killed his two-month-old dingo puppy.
While Knight later said she cut the puppy’s throat with a knife because Saunders had punched her in the stomach while she was pregnant, Saunders claimed she hurt the baby dingo simply to upset him.
She Strangled Her First Husband On Their Wedding Night
From the very beginning of their marriage, Knight subjected her first husband Kellett to domestic violence. On the couple’s wedding night, Knight choked Kellett, allegedly because he fell asleep after intercourse. Knight and Kellett, who had started dating in 1973, were together until 1984, and their union produced two daughters – Melissa Ann and Natasha Maree.
After their relationship ended, Knight went on to have two more children. In 1988, Knight had a baby, Sarah, with David Saunders. In 1991, she had a son, Eric, with John Chillingworth.
She Left Her Baby On Railroad Tracks
Soon after Knight gave birth to her first child in 1976, witnesses reported seeing her push her newborn around town in a stroller, purposefully slamming the baby carriage into the fences that lined the streets. Kellett had recently left Knight, who then put the infant on railroad tracks. A nearby resident saved the child.
Following this incident, authorities placed Knight in a psychiatric hospital for treatment. Psychologists diagnosed her with post-partum depression.
She Said She Was Sexually Abused As A Child
After authorities arrested Knight and charged her with killing Price, Knight claimed she’s been subjected to repeated violence and sexual assaults. Knight – who was one of eight children – said her brothers had sexually assaulted her. She also alleged her parents routinely beat her and her siblings with a dog leash and an electrical cord. According to Knight, her father – who worked at a slaughterhouse – frequently hit her mother, leaving her with black eyes.
The forensic psychologists who evaluated Knight remained skeptical of her accounts.
She Was Diagnosed With Borderline Personality Disorder
Two psychiatrists examined Knight and diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder. BPD is a serious mental disorder that can cause sufferers to have unstable behavior and moods, and people with this disorder are prone to impulsivity and often experience intense anger and depression.
Although multiple psychiatrists diagnosed Knight with both BPD and PTSD, mental health professions deemed her sane and fit to stand trial. While the judge who sentenced Knight accepted that she had BPD, he said that the diagnosis did “not explain the time and the full circumstances of the killing, which come from factors not associated with the borderline personality.”
She Was The First Woman In Australia To Get Life In Prison
Knight initially told the authorities she was willing to plead guilty to manslaughter for killing Price, but prosecutors refused to accept her offer. Shortly before her trial was scheduled to begin in October 2001, Knight pled guilty, although she has never explained publicly why she decided to forgo a trial.
The courts sentenced Knight to life in prison without the possibility of parole, making her the first woman in Australia’s history to receive a true life sentence. Five years later, in 2006, Knight filed to appeal her sentence, claiming it was too severe a punishment, but the Supreme Court of South Wales dismissed her appeal.
She’s Never Expressed Remorse
While she reportedly became upset when the prosecution read the details about the dismemberment of Price in court, Knight has never repented. The judge who imposed the life sentence without the possibility of parole maintained that “[Knight] has not expressed any contrition or remorse and if released she poses a serious threat to the security of society.”
Knight is incarcerated at the Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre, a maximum-security facility in New South Wales that is home to some of Australia’s most dangerous female offenders.
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