I’ll never forget the day more than 35 years ago when Elouise Morse arrived at my school. It was memorable, not only because she was starting mid-term, but because she wore a non-regulation white scarf. She told me her mother had knitted it, the same mother who had been kidnapped, raped and shot between the eyes by Allan Baker and Kevin Crump.
Virginia Morse was snatched from her Collerenabri farmhouse by Baker and Crump in 1973. They had already shot and killed seasonal worker Ian Lamb, a thrill kill with no apparent motive, and after murdering Mrs Morse, shot a policeman in the face while trying to escape.
So what do you say to a 13-year-old whose mother was ripped from her life, tortured and killed in unspeakable circumstances?
Nothing much. It was up to the law to have the final say, and the law got it right, stamping the files of these heinous scumbags “never to be released”. However, Crump, now 62, is appealing to the High Court tomorrow to be allowed to apply for parole. Legal Aid, yes, paid for by us, is arguing his life sentence is unconstitutional, while Crump wants to prove he is a changed man.
Well, you know what Mr Crump? I don’t give a toss if you’re a changed man! I don’t give a damn if you’ve found God, donated your kidney, or been declared a Saint. Just zip it and cop the same compassion you gave Virginia Morse when she begged and sobbed for her life.
What’s unconstitutional Crump is you torturing and raping a woman just for kicks.
Meanwhile, lawyers are losing their wigs over the NSW government’s proposed legislation for mandatory life sentences for criminals who kill police. Waving their tomes and their pompous degrees, the pin-stripes have branded the proposed laws unjust as they don’t take into account the “myriad” of circumstances surrounding an officer’s death.
Hello? What circumstances? The ones where a thug leaves home armed with a gun and `oops!’, accidentally kills a cop along the way? Those ones? Gee, I leave home every day and don’t manage to find myself in circumstances where I’m forced to kill a police officer with a gun.
Apparently crooks also don’t think about the consequences of their crimes when caught up in the moment. Aaaaah, so that makes it all right , does it? They couldn’t have thought through the possible consequences before they entered the bank armed with a sawn off shotgun? Consequences are basic life lessons most five-year-olds understand. If you pull the dog’s tail he’ll bite, if you put your hand on the stove it will hurt, if you kill a police officer you go to jail … for life.
The legal eagles go on to argue an offender who has murdered one police officer wouldn’t hesitate to murder another if he was going down for life anyway.
Uh huh. So, we can’t go hard because they will only behave more appallingly. Imagine applying that rule to the five-year-olds! Then there’s the argument that a jury would be reluctant to convict if a life sentence was the only option. Silly me! I was under the impression Australians were screaming for harsher penalties.
Still pontificating, the lawyers contend that singling out the murders of police officers for life sentences could result in calls for similar sentences for other murders.
And the problem with that …. is?
Sure, sometimes there are mitigating circumstances, and everyone’s side deserves to be heard. But if someone’s illicit actions result in murder, whether it be of a police officer or anyone else, throw the book at them. The violent bullies living among us have to learn that if you do bad things, bad things will happen to you.
It’s as simple as that my learned friends.
Do you think mandatory life for murder is too harsh?