THE COPPER DID IT - LOCAL SUSPECT IS THE POLICE MAN: The Betty Shanks Murder

Posted by Jack Sim on 24 September 2012
THE COPPER DID IT - LOCAL SUSPECT IS THE POLICE MAN: The Betty Shanks Murder

"The Copper Did It. I know that for a FACT"

Guilty of no more than failing to take the screams he heard on the night of Friday 19 September more seriously, Constable Alex Stewart, traffic officer, is one of five persons accused by locals for six decades of murdering the young Commonwealth Government employee Betty Shanks.

In an era where local events were spread by gossip and word-of-mouth, scores of theories were generated by those who lived in the suburb of Wilston and surrounding neighbourhoods, desperate to find someone guilty.

A number of persons became "the killer" in people's minds and today many cannot be told otherwise. Their theories have become "fact".

Alex Stewart did not kill Betty Shanks; his alibi was unquestionable but this did not stop the theories. His alibi will be revealed in another publication, to be released at a later date through Jack Sim Publications.

Please join us at the screening of BETTY SHANKS: The Wilston Murder this Thursday at the State Library Queensland at 6pm for the official launch of Ken Blanch's book.

Posted in: True Crime Stories The Betty Shanks Murder Murder Trails Series Ken Blanch  

MEMORIES OF BETTY: Who KiIlled Betty Shanks?

Posted by Jack Sim on 23 September 2012

Brisbanites Share Memories of Crime

Over the past week, as part of the 60th anniversary, Ken Blanch has been appearing instore across Brisbane to sign copies of his book on the Wilston Murder - including Dymocks Carindale, Angus & Robertson Post Office Square and Angus & Robertson Brookside bookstores. 

Ken spoke to more than 150 people over four instore signings - not bad for a writer who is 84 years young! 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to come and purchase a book, meet the author and support Jack Sim Publications. We work hard here to try to publish the best books on Brisbane's criminal past. Photos of some of those who bought a book and got their picture taken will be posted on Facebook this week.

The impact of the crime on Brisbane became rapidly evident with virtually every customer commenting that their parents or themselves knew about the case.

The theories came thick and fast - everyone had a view as to who did it  - ranging from the police officer who heard the screams, to the most common, local chemist Mr Huxham -  a good samariton guilty only of driving his customers home after he closed his shop. All of these local thoughts will be explored over the next few weeks in this blog.

Many people purchased the book as a present for their parents who lived through the era and still talk about the crime as if it were yesterday. Indeed for generations of Brisbane folk, the date and year of the crime is something against which they come to measure their lifetimes.

At Dymocks Carindale, Neil Carter and his wife came to meet Ken - Neil and his brother are the son of the Ipswich doctor Detective Ted Chandler was certain killed Miss Shanks. Ipswich locals spread the story that Dr Carter and Betty Shanks were linked. Dr Carter's mysterious death, and the claims of a link to Betty's murder, was to cause the sons of  the man a lifetime of anguish.  

Angus & Robertson - Brookside was where Ken got to meet a lady related to Betty's mother through marriage and indeed several people who actually knew the young woman. Several people who bought books went to Wilston State School across from the crime scene. One woman said that growing up in the 1960s when they walked past the crime scene they  crossed themselves; another reckoned one day there was some melting asphalt near the spot and her and her friends said it was blood and they all screamed! 

A reminder of the nation-wide coverage the murder received was heard at Dymocks Chermside on Saturday 22/9. One customer told of how her parents heard about the crime in Perth on the other side of the country. Her parents has migrated from Greece in 1950 to Australia and spent two years awaiting transfer to Queensland. In September 1952 they heard of the dreadful attack and wondered if they had made the right decision in leaving war-torn Europe. She was reluctant to buy a copy, but eventually did - worried whether her parents would want to read it about it. Sixty years later the crime is still impacting.

A number of people will be formally interviewed and their stories recorded for prosperity. Read this blog for details over the next few months.

Several people provided information about possible suspects, details long kept quiet. This information will be advanced to police homicide.

What was particularly wonderful was the reaction and support by young people - not only for Ken's book, but their sympathy and empathy for Betty Shanks and her family.

During the marketing of the revised edition, Ken and Jack aimed to try to reposition Betty as a real person, not just some historical murder victim; this seems to have worked.

If you haven't yet purchased your copy of Betty's story please do so through this website or Dymocks bookstores or Angus & Robertson.

Please attend the Official Launch of WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? at the State Library Thursday, 27/9/2012 at 6pm.

RSVP essential at: http://whokilledbettyshanks.eventbrite.com.au/

 

 

Posted in: True Crime Stories The Betty Shanks Murder Ken Blanch  

THE FUNERAL

Posted by Jack Sim on 21 September 2012
THE FUNERAL

Bettys funeral was felt across the city...

More than three hundred people attended the funeral of Betty Shanks at the Mount Thompson Crematorium on 23 September 1952.

Rev S.Summers, of the Valley Presbyterian Church, conducted the service and told mourners who overflowed the small chapel: 

Betty stood out as an example to all young women. She was a young woman of culture, and for the defence of her honour and virtue was done to death.

David and Elizabeth Shanks went on with their lives supported by many friends and neighbours. Both were destroyed by the loss of their daughter. 

Elizabeth suffered a series of strokes before her death. Mrs Shanks died on 29 July 1962 aged 62 years. David Shanks died on 18 November 1966 aged 74 years.

Memorials to her parents stand beside hers in a garden plot in the grounds of Mt Thompson. Allan, Betty’s younger brother, pursued his sister’s wishes and gained a higher education.

 

Posted in: True Crime Stories The Betty Shanks Murder Murder Trails Series Ken Blanch  

TRAM RIDE TO DEATH:Who Killed Betty Shanks? By Ken Blanch

Posted by Jack Sim on 20 September 2012
TRAM RIDE TO DEATH:Who Killed Betty Shanks? By Ken Blanch

TODAY BRISBANE'S INNOCENCE WAS LOST...

Sixty years ago, on Saturday 20 September 1952, Brisbane awoke to the news of the brutal murder. It is still regarded as the crime which changed Brisbane from a sleepy town to a modern city, with modern crime.

In the photo above detectives examine the spot where the murdered girl lay, after the body was removed.   

Writer Ken Blanch along with his friend, Win Coates from the rival newspaper The Courier Mail, were the first journalists at the crime scene. Today, six decades later, Ken is amazed to think that the case has never been solved and is more adament than ever that it can be. Speaking with customers at Dymocks Carindale this evening where he was signing copies of his book, Ken summed up where things stand:

If I am alive at 84 then the killer could be too. The perpetrator has every reason to still be fearful. The police have scientific evidence which can solve this case. The killer could be, and likely is, still alive.

There is absolutely nothing that can stop the police from solving this crime even at this late stage. All they need is a sample and Betty's murderer can be put on trial. 

Ken and Jack went on air yesterday on Brisbane radio station 4BC and reiterated this message. Ken called on one person of interest that he refers to in his revised book to come forward to police to clear up his involvement in the case once and for all. 4BC provided extended live coverage to the case yesterday given the significance of the 60th anniversary. Presenters Murray and Sally asked a series of questions focused on the subject of Ken's book - Is The Wilston Monster Still Alive? Several listeners called in with their thoughts and questions; incredibly, one of which believed he had information as to the killer. His contact details were collected and will be passed on to detectives.

Ten years ago, on the 50th anniversary, Merve Chalmers, one of the last original investigators, went on air with Jack Sim and 4BC presenter Ian Maurice to appeal to the killer to come forward. Merve, then in his nineties had this to say: 

If the person who committed this murder is out there then he should hand himself in to police and end decades for anguish to those who knew Miss Shanks. It is not too late to confess and clear your mind, so you can go to your grave with a clear consience. Go to your local station and give yourself in. You cannot keep this secret.

Someone in Brisbane knows, or knew the killer. It would be highly unlikely that the person who killed Betty did not tell someone. If you have information about this crime please contact Crime Stoppers or Police Homicide.

Ken Blanch will be instore signing at:

Angus & Robertson - Post Office Square Friday 21/9 11.30am - 1.30pm

Angus & Robertson - Brookside Saturday 22/9 10am-12.30pm  

Dymocks Chermside   Saturday 22/9 1.00pm - 4pm

Betty was one of us. Her story must be told.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: True Crime Stories The Betty Shanks Murder Murder Trails Series Ken Blanch  

LAST PHOTO TAKEN: Who Killed Betty Shanks?

Posted by Jack Sim on 18 September 2012
LAST PHOTO TAKEN: Who Killed Betty Shanks?

LAST PICTURE TAKEN OF BETTY SHANKS...

dressed formally for a cousin’s wedding weeks before her death.

This rare photograph, originally published in The Courier Mail, captures a happy, vivacious young woman, who loved life.

Raised by loving and proud parents, had she lived, Betty would have gone on to contribute a great deal more to society.

Her callous, cold-blooded murder sixty years ago tomorrow, was without reason or justification.

As Ken Blanch and I research and promote this case, we do so with the constant hope that Betty's murderer will eventually be brought  to justice, or may yet confess to his evil crime.

Though that a coward has managed to elude capture for six decades is disheartening, his act in no way diminishes what Betty brought into this world.

Tomorrow, 19 September, will mark the anniversary of her death. As such, I will not be posting a blog tomorrow. Ken and I will be on air on 4BC radio at 1.05pm to talk about this anniversary and his revised book.

We ask that everyone reading this blog please spare a thought tomorrow for Betty Shanks, her parents, brother, friends and family - all the victims of this tragedy. 

For more than 60 years this crime has been an open wound on our city.

Ken Blanch and I dedicate his book to all the women of the world who have suffered or died at the hands of brutal men.

Thank you for your ongoing support of my books and publications.

Jack

Posted in: The Betty Shanks Murder Murder Trails Series Ken Blanch Jack Sim  
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