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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.














Author:Jack Sim
Tags:True Crime StoriesThe Betty Shanks MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen Blanch
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