Audrey Marie Hilley killed her husband, Frank, in 1975, and attempted to kill her daughter, Carol, three years later. Her choice of victims, which probably included her mother and mother-in-law, were the people close to her. Her motive was money. What makes her case extraordinary is how she managed to elude arrest for three years while on the run as a fugitive, and then, while serving a 20-year-to-life sentence, managed to obtain a prison furlough and disappear into the woods of Alabama.
Her story begins in May 1975 when Frank Hilley visited his doctor complaining of nausea and pain in his abdomen. His doctor diagnosed a viral stomach ache. The condition persisted and Frank was admitted to a hospital for tests that indicated liver malfunction. Physicians then diagnosed infectious hepatitis.
Because the symptoms closely resembled those of hepatitis, no tests for poison were conducted. After he died, the cause of death was listed as infectious hepatitis. Frank had a life insurance policy that Audrey cashed in for $31,140 (about $150,000 in 2018 dollars).
Slightly over three years later, Audrey took out a $25,000 life insurance policy on her daughter, Carol. Within a few months, Carol began to experience nausea and was admitted to the emergency room several times. A year after insuring her daughter, Audrey gave Carol an injection that she said would help with her nausea. But her symptoms only worsened.
Audrey Marie Hilley was arrested for the murder of her husband and the attempted murder of her daughter, Carol. But what if Carol had died? Would she have continued killing family members? All signs point to yes.
Today’s quiet end discussion, Poisonous, covers the twisted life and outrageous crimes of a woman to appeared to be a normal, 1960s housewife. Audrey Marie Hilley kept a home, raised her children, and just happened to commit murder when she was short on funds.
Just before dawn on Saturday July 30, 2011, Lisa Harnum moved quietly into the marble covered bathroom of her luxury Sydney apartment, picked up the house phone and called her mother Joan in Toronto, Canada. The terrified young woman, in a controlled panic, said she was preparing to leave her fiancé, Simon Gittany, an emotionally abusive and controlling man who was lurking on the other side of the door.
She whispered that if anything was to happen to her, her mother should contact Michelle Richmond, the life coach in whom she had been confiding for the previous three weeks.
This was the last time Joan Harnum spoke to her only daughter. A little over four hours later, Simon Gittany picked up his fiancée and dropped her from the balcony of the apartment they shared on the 15th floor of Sydney’s fashionable apartment block The Hyde.
Before she even knew that Simon Gittany was monitoring her emails and text messages in the weeks before her death, Lisa had confided in the only two women in Sydney that her controlling fiancé allowed her access to outside of his family: her personal trainer, Lisa Brown, and Michelle Richmond. She told them that Simon had cut her off from her friends, dictated what she wore, where she went and to whom she spoke.
Simon Gittany’s threats during the couple’s regular explosive arguments included that he had the power to have Lisa’s visa cancelled and have her deported, destroying her dream of making a life in Australia. Her life coach told Lisa what support services were available and what her legal rights were and the safest way to leave. With the help of her personal trainer, Lisa secretly began removing some of her things from the apartment. Simon Gittany somehow found out.
But tucked into the pocket of the jeans Lisa was wearing on the morning of her murder was a crumpled note that had been torn into little pieces. When police put it together, they found a chilling message: “There are surveillance cameras inside and outside the house.”
Simon Gittany’s claim that his unstable girlfriend had committed suicide was about to unravel. Criminal records would reveal that he was a violent, vengeful man and a cocaine dealer who once spent time in prison for biting off part of a policeman's ear. It also came to light that he was the target of a police investigation into his business dealings with two convicted methylamphetamine dealers who ran a secret drug laboratory in Sydney. Of much more significance was a witness who came forward claiming to have seen Gittany drop Lisa from his apartment window.
Today, in Fallen, we are covering a case of domestic violence which ended in murder. Each time we talk about a case like this, we have to consider how the murder, which could have been predicted, could have been prevented. We’ll talk about the life of Lisa Harnum and what brought her into the relationship with the man who killed her.
29-year old Jill Meagher was going about her daily life on September 22, 2012 when a man with a lengthy criminal record took it all away from her. That night, she had gone out with some friends after work for drinks. On the short walk back to her apartment, she encountered serial rapist Adrian Bayley.
CCTV would capture Bayley approaching Jill on the street at 1:40am. She had her mobile phone in her hand. His face was obscured by the blue hoodie he was wearing. When Jill didn’t make it home that night, her husband began to search for her, eventually contacting the police. She was officially a missing person at that point, but soon the awful truth would become clear: Jill had been brutally assaulted and murdered by a repeat offender out on parole.
On top of the horror of Jill Meagher’s rape and murder at the hands of Adrian Bayley, one other disturbing fact was exposed: the state’s parole system was broken. How could a man found guilty of 20 rapes in a 23-year time span be allowed to roam the streets of Melbourne’s suburbs after smashing the jaw of another man while on parole?
At the time of Jill’s murder, Bayley was on parole after serving eight years in jail for 16 counts of rape against five women. He had already served time before for rapes committed from the time he was just 18. It made the tragedy of Jill’s murder even more senseless.
At the quiet end today, we’re talking about a beautiful person whose life was violently taken by an evil, repeat offender. Jill spent her last day doing what many of us do—working in a job she loved, enjoying a few drinks in the company of friends, and making her way home on a well-traveled street just blocks from her home. So, what went wrong?