THE SINISTER CALLER: Who Killed Betty Shanks By Ken Blanch

Posted by Jack Sim on 17 September 2012

Unidentified Male Caller Upsets Victim Days Before Death

On Wednesday 17 September 1952, two days before her death, Betty Shanks received a telephone call at her workplace that affected her demeanor.

John Ducey, Betty’s supervisor at the Commonwealth Department where she was employed, was to say she “was not her usual self” after taking it:

I answered the phone and the caller asked for Betty Shanks. It was a male caller. As far as I could detect, he was speaking in a normal Australian accent. I had no particular interest. I told the caller she was out and that I could get her to call him back, but he said ‘No’ and then he rang off. Shortly afterwards the telephone rang again. I answered the phone and the caller asked for ‘Betty Shanks’. She was then in the building and I handed her the phone and she spoke to the caller. She made no comment to me at all after finishing that call. That was unusual, as in most cases she would make some mention of the nature of the call. It was usual to seek permission to use the phone and to make some record of the call. She was not her usual self after receiving that call. I have no idea who the caller might have been. 

The male caller's identity has never been ascertained. For more than 50 years police sought to find something in Betty's background which may have led to the attack on her.

In 2006 in book WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Brisbane's Greatest Murder-Mystery Ken Blanch was able to show that the killer was not actually waiting for Betty Shanks...

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

Discover Brisbane's criminal history. Buy WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive? 2012 REVISED EDITION by Ken Blanch.

Ken Blanch is appearing at these bookstores over the next few weeks to sign his book:

Dymocks Carindale                            Thursday 20 September 2012     4pm - 9.00pm     

Angus & Robertson - Brookside      Saturday 22 September 2012     10am-12.30pm

Dymocks Chermside                         Saturday 22 September 2012      1.00pm - 4.00pm 

State Library Cafe                              Thursday 27 September 2012      6pm - 7.30pm

Angus & Robertson - Ipswich           Saturday 29 September 2012      11.00am - 2.30pm  

Thomas & Daisy - Wilston                  Saturday 6 October 2012             11.00am - 1.00pm

A Lot of Books - Ipswich                    Thursday 4 October 2012            11.00am - 1.00pm      

 

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

400 POLICE IN MURDER MAN-HUNT: WATCH SEVEN FLASHBACK TONIGHT

Posted by Jack Sim on 16 September 2012
400 POLICE IN MURDER MAN-HUNT: WATCH SEVEN FLASHBACK TONIGHT

Terror Sweeps City

The front page of The Sunday Mail 60 years ago accurately captured the feeling of terror that swept the city of Brisbane. Police threw all their resources at finding the killer.

Sunday Mail crime reporters Pat Lloyd and Win Coates (who was the second journalist to arrive at the crime scene along with his friend Ken Blanch of the rival Brisbane Telegraph) wrote:

Four hundred Brisbane police last night were combing city and suburban street s in one of the greatest manhunts in Australian crime records.
They were looking for the murderer of Betty Thomson Shanks, 23, whose battered and strangled body was found flung over a fence in Thomas Street, Wilston early yesterday.

The coverage in The Sunday Mail unintentionally published many inaccuracies due largely to the reluctance of the police to disclose information to reporters that might play into the hands of the murderer. Some of these errors became facts - such as Betty's age being 23 years (actually 23 years) and were repeatedly replicated for decades. The newspaper’s widespread circulation was more than 250,000 and it sold out early on the Sunday. 

This front page is one of the most infamous in the River City’s history. Copies of this edition survive in households to this day - a macabre souvenir of the terrible crime. 

Although the murder happened on Friday 19 September, it wasn’t until the next morning that the victim’s body was discovered – too late for daily newspapers. Despite this, word spread rapidly through the community of Brisbane by radio and word of mouth that there had been a savage crime committed.

The man-hunt was only eclipsed in scale by the police search for Allison Baden-Clay, 43 year-old, mother, who disappeared from her Brookfield home on 19 April this year.

Watch "Flashback" this Sunday, 16 September, on Seven News. Journalist Peter Doherty will report on the 60th anniversary of the Wilston Murder including a preview of "Betty Shanks:The Wilston Murder" and interviews with Ken Blanch and Jack Sim about WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is The Wilston Monster Still Alive? REVISED EDITION.  

To follow “Betty Shanks:The Wilston Murder” join Bec Newman’s Facebook page.https://www.facebook.com/BettyShanks1952

Join up Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JackSimPresents, Jack Sim’s VIP Mailing List, or follow this blog to be advised of the full screening of “Betty Shanks: The Wilston Murder”  at the State Library soon.

...And dsicover Brisbane's criminal history and buy WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive? REVISED EDITION by Ken Blanch. Betty was one of us. Her story must be told. 

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

STUDENTS RECREATE CRIME: Betty Shanks - The Wilston Murder

Posted by Jack Sim on 14 September 2012

Brisbane Crime Inspires Local Filmakers...

Two young filmmakers have been inspired to document the tragic story of Miss Betty Shanks.

Director, Becky Newman and Producer, Maya Weidner, are studying Advanced Production at QUT under lecturer Dr Sean Maher.

Jack Sim had the opportunity to ask Becky what it was about this case that led her to want to create a documentary:

Well, I live around the area where it happened. My family has always been interested in history. We are members of the local historical society and we all enjoy learning and knowing about the past. A number of years ago my mum bought Ken’s book and she loved reading it. My dad knew all about the crime. When I reached that age when you start going out my father warned me to ‘be careful, you don’t want to end up like Betty Shanks' (common advice given to young women years ago). It was one of those well known stories around Brisbane. When I was looking for idea for my university project I remembered the story and we started putting together a plan, scripts etc. It seemed like the perfect project. I really felt I could relate to Betty - she was close in age to me, was studying, and seemed a very real person, not just someone in the past. She was an average, ordinary girl not unlike myself.

Miss Newman hopes that viewers of the documentary, to be screened in full at a special event at the State Library soon, will learn of a tragic moment from Brisbane's past, now largely forgotten. 

Becky would particularly like the crime to become known to a new generation of Brisbanites:

Up until recently Maya and I were just about the only people our age who knew about the crime. We realised we were the only ones. We learn so much about other crimes, in other places, but little about our own town. I hope that people around my own age will see our work and that it will spark an interest in our own local history and why we are important, explain where we came from, and why we are the way we are.

Miss Weidner enjoyed producing the documentary, which included nighttime shooting at the Brisbane Tramway Museum. 'It has been a great experience, to try to accurately recreate an era long gone, but still ensure a story that connects with a modern-day audience, especially people our age.'

Author Ken Blanch is eagerly looking forward to meeting the two young women whom were in part inspired by his book:

I am 84 and have spent my career trying to impart to others the importance of documenting facts, and passing on the past - both the good and bad aspects of it. It makes me very pleased that these talented young students see the value of our past, and in particular, want to bring a tragic yet important event to new audiences, through the latest technology.

Watch "Flashback" this Sunday, 16 September, on Seven News. Journalist Peter Doherty will report on the 60th anniversary of the Wilston Murder including a preview of "Betty Shanks:The Wilston Murder" and interviews with Ken Blanch and Jack Sim about WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is The Wilston Monster Still Alive? REVISED EDITION.  

To follow “Betty Shanks:The Wilston Murder” join Bec Newman’s Facebook page.https://www.facebook.com/BettyShanks1952

Join up Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JackSimPresents, Jack Sim’s VIP Mailing List, or follow this blog to be advised of the full screening of “Betty Shanks: The Wilston Murder”  at the State Library soon.

...And please support our historical research and buy WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive? REVISED EDITION by Ken Blanch. Betty was one of us. Her story must be told. 

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

AN OBSESSION WITH BLOOD: The Betty Shanks Murder

Posted by Jack Sim on 13 September 2012

Locals become obsessed with Blood...

During the research of WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? numerous people contacted Ken Blanch and Jack Sim to report relatives, friends and local people who they claimed were wearing, in the possession of, or were observed destroying bloodstained garments – most commonly shirts.

For reasons which remain obscure, Brisbanites have been obsessed with linking their relatives to the Shanks murder. Also strange has been the number of individuals who seem to have delighted in claiming that bloodstains on their clothing were from their involvement in the murder of Miss Shanks.  As well as those possessing bloodstained garments, literally dozens of people claimed to have possessed letters detailing confessions from members of their family, estranged husbands and jilted lovers. What is truly bizarre is that most of these people who claim to have possessed such documents chose instead to burn, tear-up or destroy material which could have helped police solve this dreadful crime.

The murder of Betty Shanks was the crime which turned Brisbane into a big city, where violent crime was "normal".

One of the three oldest cold cases under investigation in Australia, and Brisbane’s greatest unsolved murder-mystery, the brutal killing of Betty in 1952 has baffled generations of detectives and locals alike.

Ken Blanch is appearing at several bookstores over the next few weeks to sign his book:

Dymocks Carindale                            Thursday 20/09/2012     4pm - 9pm     

Angus & Robertson - Brookside      Saturday 22/09/2012     10am-12.30pm

Dymocks Chermside                         Saturday 22/09/2012      1.00pm - 4pm 
   
Angus & Robertson - Ipswich           Saturday 29/9/2012       11.00am - 2.30pm      

A Lot of Books - Ipswich                    Thursday 4/10/2012      11.00am - 1.00pm      

 

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

LOCALS FASCINATED WITH CRIME - FILMING FOR FLASHBACK: Sunday 16 September 2012

Posted by Jack Sim on 12 September 2012
LOCALS FASCINATED WITH CRIME - FILMING FOR FLASHBACK: Sunday 16 September 2012

The crime which is still remembered ...

Watched by locals, parents and children, Seven News Brisbane Journalist Peter Doherty today interviewed author Ken Blanch about his recollections of The Wilston Murder at the place where the tragedy happened.

Several people were eager to share their own versions of what happened in the quiet suburb six decades ago, telling Ken and Jack Sim who was also interviewed, who they thought responsible. It seems everyone has their own belief as to who committed the unthinkable in such an unlikely location.

Sixty years ago, Ken, then a journalist at The Brisbane Telegraph newspaper, attended the now infamous crime scene soon after the discovery of the body.

During his interview Ken explained how the cowardly attack on a beautiful young person changed Brisbane forever.

Peter Doherty presents his popular weekly “Flashback” segment during Seven News every Sunday evening - raising awarness of Queensland's fascinating past. The segment filmed today will air this coming Sunday, 16 September 2012.

Watch “Flashback” Sunday, 16 September 2012 to mark the 60th anniversary of the crime that changed Brisbane...

WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive? will be officially released on Wednesday, 19 September 2012 and launched live on Brisbane’s 4BC radio at 2pm by Ken Blanch

Click here to purchase Ken's book WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive?- $27.95 RRP

Live on the Northside of Brisbane? Support your local retailer and buy it from these recommended book sellers:

Angus & Robertson - Brookside - Brookside Shopping Centre

Dymocks - Chermside - Chermiside Shopping Centre

Thomas & Daisy Boutique - Shoes, Fashion, Gifts & Coffee - 1 Daisy Street, GRANGE 3856 2226

 

 

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