Catherine Birni remains in prison

The Prisoners Review Board began the review in January and the final decision was made this week by Attorney-General Michael Mischin.

“The attorney-general has accepted a recommendation from the Prisoners Review Board that Catherine Birnie not be released on parole,” a spokeswoman said.


Under law, Birnie’s life sentence is reviewed every three years, so her next statutory review will be in 2016.

Why is her sentence reviewed every three years? I will never understand why society does that, why we tempt fate by even entertaining the possibility of releasing serial killers.

Former Attorney-General Christian Porter, who last year left state politics for a tilt at the federal arena, in March 2010 decided Birnie would not be placed on parole or put into a re-socialisation program.

WA’s attorney-general in 2007, Jim McGinty, said Birnie should never be freed from jail.


Birnie and her late partner David Birnie raped, stabbed, strangled and clubbed to death four victims in their Willagee house, in Perth’s southern suburbs, in 1986.

They were caught only when a fifth intended victim escaped after they abducted her at knifepoint.

The pair were handed strict-security life sentences for the murders.

David Birnie hanged himself in his protective custody Casuarina Prison cell in 2005. She wasn’t allowed to attend his funeral.

A 2007 review of Birnie, who is serving her sentence at Bandyup Women’s Prison on Perth’s north-eastern outskirts, found she was at low risk of reoffending but her release was rejected because of the extreme nature of her crimes.

Birnie, now 62, left her husband and six children in 1985 to live with David Birnie.

She did not marry him but took his surname.

I can only imagine how Kate Moir feels every 3 years when she has to worry about the woman that abducted and tortured her getting out.

Wikipedia Article

  1. That evil thing is from my neck of the woods. She and her partner David Birnie made eveyone sleep with one eye open. They lured their victims in by placing ads in the local paper. No one had any idea there was a serial killer amongst us.
    A friend of mine was very close to one of the girls who went missing. It destroyed their family.
    If it wasn’t for the brave actions of their last victim, escaping, they would have continued their murderous ways. No one suspected them (though David Birnie had been in jail before). They would rent out Disney cartoons from the local video library.

    As for the review panel in Western Australia. They are currently considering releasing the Greenough Axe murderer despite the court saying he should never be released. His crime was so bad they have never released the full details of what he did to this family.

    The poor sister was threatened by this creep and will live in fear for the rest of her life.

    Our sentencing laws here are a joke.

    • I am so sorry for your friend and for the family.

      I can not imagine the pain these monsters inflict on the families and the communities where they act.

      The review board should only be allowed to release criminals that they are willing to have move into their neighborhoods. I bet is Birni or Mitchell were going to be moving in down the street from them they’d be much more careful about who they let out.

  2. This man is due for parole ….. some justice…. Greenough Family Massacre
    One of the worst crimes in Western Australia

    On February the 21st, 1993, the small community of Greenough was rocked by a horrific tragedy, which became known as the Greenough Family Massacre. Karen MacKenzie and her three children were hacked to death by an axe wielding murderer, William Patrick Mitchell. The crime was one of the worst ever seen in the state and has left a lasting scar on the community.
    Even today the Greenough Massacre haunts the small community of Greenough and the City of Geraldton. It is hard to drive passed the small hamlet without thinking of the unbelievable tragedy that unfolded more than a decade ago. No one was prepared for the horrors that awaited the police on that February day in 1993. In fact the details of the murders were so gruesome that the evidence was withheld from the public as it was deemed far too horrific. The case was so heinous that cries for the return of the death penalty could be heard echoing around the State.
    What Happened

    The first sign of trouble began with the sound of a car arriving at Karen MacKenzie’s house. It was William Patrick Mitchell, a one time friend of Karen MacKenzie whom she had recently rejected. Mitchell had been spending his day getting high on a mixture of cannabis, alcohol and amphetamines. Karen’s sixteen year old son, Daniel, went out to see who it was and was confronted by Mitchell. Mitchell, wielding an axe, killed Daniel and headed for the house. There he found Karen asleep in the lounge room. After taking to her with an axe and killing her, he then raped her. Karen’s two daughters, Amara (7)and Katrina (5), were fast asleep in their bedrooms oblivious to the mayhem outside, when Mitchell turned his attention on them. The details of the girls murders were deemed too horrific to be made public.
    Catching the Killer

    Police and forensics scoured the murder scene collecting evidence but it would be a frustrating five weeks before they finally arrested farm hand Bill Mitchell. When he was brought in for questioning he denied knowledge of the crime. It was only after he attempted to hurt himself and was taken to hospital did he finally confess. A key piece of evidence that linked Mitchell to the crime was the hand lotion used by the killer. Despite denials from the police and family, a psychic, known as Gabrielle, claims she assisted in the investigation and accurately profiled the killer and even gave his name and address. Gabrielle claims she met a leading detective involved in the case on at least 5 occasions in Victoria Park and gave him vital information, including info about a fingerprint that police had missed, leading to a return of forensics to the scene.


    William Patrick Mitchell was originally sentenced to 20 years in jail but due to such a public outcry a Crown appeal saw him his sentence increased to the term of his natural life . Despite a series of Supreme and High Court appeals (including a ruling that Mitchell never be released) another appeal overturned that decision and reinstated his eligibility for parole. He shall be eligible for parole in 2013. In October of 2007 the mother of Karen Mackenzie, Barbara Marchant, received a threatening letter she believed came from an associate of William Patrick Mitchell. The letter read “Found you bitch. Had someone look for you. Got a photo of your little girl – short hair, white shirt and a little skirt. Nice. See you when I get out.” Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk confirmed that the letter had not been sent from the maximum security Casuarina Prison where Mitchell was being held but could not rule out that he got someone else to write and send it.

    Since the beginning of 2009, Mitchell has been held at Bunbury Prison under medium security.

    I can not for the life of me understand why he would ever be even considered for parole.

    On one forum that I found (there is not much information on this animal or his crimes out there) someone who claimed to know the family confided that the older daughter had also been raped.

    I had never even heard of this murder before. It is a shame that a crime this violent and shocking (so much so that the details still can not be released) is almost unheard of even though this monster could get out.

    • I wrote an article about this on another one of my websites and the sister contacted me to say that he was being perpared for parole. She was beside herself. I feel so sorry for the family and the terror, anger and sheer helplessnes they must be feeling. They are the forgotten victims.

  1. March 29th, 2013

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