Posted in The Betty Shanks Murder


Posted by Jack Sim on 21 September 2012

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 StoriesThe Betty Shanks MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen 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


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 StoriesThe Betty Shanks MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen Blanch  

LAST PHOTO TAKEN: Who Killed Betty Shanks?

Posted by Jack Sim on 18 September 2012
LAST PHOTO TAKEN: Who Killed 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.


Posted in:The Betty Shanks MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen BlanchJack Sim  

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 MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen BlanchJack Sim  


Posted by Jack Sim on 16 September 2012

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.

Join up Facebook, 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 StoriesThe Betty Shanks MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen Blanch  
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