Snowtown Murders - The Victims Timeline

The Victims Timeline

  • Clinton Trezise, 22 (d. Aug 1992): Nicknamed "Happy Pants", Trezise was involved in a sexual relationship with Barry Lane which infuriated Bunting. He was visiting Bunton's housing trust home in Waterloo Corner Road in Salisbury North when he was killed in Bunting's living room by being bludgeoned with a blunt object. Bunting then rang Wagner and Lane who helped dispose of the body. Tresize was found buried in a shallow grave alongside Middle Beach Road at Lower Light, South Australia in 1994 but his identity was to remain unknown for another five years.
  • Ray Davies, 26 (d. Dec 1995): Davies was a mentally handicapped man who frequently accompanied Lane in picking up men at the local "beats" and was well known locally for exposing himself to school children. He began a relationship with Suzanne Allen and, following their break-up, he moved into a caravan in Allen's back yard in Ghent Street, one block from Bunting's home. On December 26, 1995 Allen's grandson told her that Davies had been sexually abusing him and Allen and her daughter Annette left home to report it at the local police station. While they were gone, Bunting and Wagner picked Davies up and drove 127 kilometres (79 mi) to a property Bunting was renting at Bakara in the Riverland near Nildottie where they beat him, particularly in the genitals. They later drove Davies back to Bunting's home and invited Elizabeth Harvey to join them in torturing him. Harvey stabbed Davies in the legs several times after which Harvey and Wagner strangled him while Bunting watched. The body was buried in a 3.5 metres (11 ft) deep hole in the backyard. Bunting later told Harvey's 15-year-old son James Vlassakis that his mother had killed Davies. Davies was never reported missing.

In 1996 Bunting, Harvey and her sons had moved to live in Bakara. Allen was infatuated with him and followed to spend a weekend at the Bakara house. After sleeping with her, he told her there was nothing between them and she returned home. She was devastated and started writing emotional letters to him. Bunting stayed in Bakara for several months before moving to live in Murray Bridge.

  • Suzanne Allen, 47 (d. 1996): According to Vlassakis, Bunting had told him that he and Wagner had traveled to Adelaide to visit Allen and found her dead from a heart attack in her bathroom. They had then conducted what Bunting called a "slice and dice" operation. Her remains were later found wrapped in 11 plastic bags, buried 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) above Davies remains in the garden of the house at Salisbury North. Her death was concealed and the group continued to collect her pension. Based on the evidence presented at trial, the coroner could not rule out death by natural causes and the jury was unable to decide without doubt that she had been murdered.
  • Michael Gardiner, 19 (d. Sept 1997): Gardiner was a cross-dressing openly gay man who was a friend of Wagner's then girlfriend's cousin. One day Gardiner was babysitting Wagner's girlfriend's children when Wagner returned to find Gardiner with his hand over one of the children's mouths as part of a game they were playing. Wagner misinterpreted the situation and flew into a rage. Sometime later, the cousin went away for a holiday and Gardiner agreed to house sit, informing her that he intended to move to Goolwa when she returned. Bunting and Wagner picked him up and drove to Bunting's Murray Bridge home where they strangled him. Gardiner was not missed as everyone assumed he had moved to Goolwa and Bunting had Frederick Brooks call friends of Gardiner and impersonate him.

Barry Lane was a "pre-op" transsexual who went by the name of Vanessa. He was in a relationship with Wagner at the time Bunting first moved into their neighborhood and met them in 1991. Bunting had accepted Lane into his circle of friends because Lane kept him informed of the activities of local paedophiles. He put all this information on a chart on a wall in a spare room with the names of actual or suspected paedophiles written on Post-it notes connected with bits of pink and blue wool. Bunting called it "The Wall of Spiders", rock spider being Australian slang for a paedophile. After Lane was accused of molesting a local boy, someone firebombed Lane and Wagner's Bingham Road house and Bunting told him never to come around again and made other threats. Wagner left Lane and acquired a girlfriend while Lane became engaged to a woman who had several children and moved into her Hectorville home. He also formed a relationship with Thomas Trevilyan who moved in with Lane in April 1997.

  • Barry Lane, 42 (d. Oct 1997): Lane was traumatized by the killing of Tresize and had told his mother and Bunting's former girlfriend about it. The former girlfriend questioned Bunting about Lane's claims and he admitted they were true. Around the same time Trevilyan told Bunting that Lane had been sexually abusing him. On 17 October, Bunting, Wagner and Trevilyan picked up Lane. Early the following morning Lane's mother received a phone call from him. On orders from Bunting, Lane verbally abused his mother who could hear Trevilyan in the background prompting him with what to say. After telling his mother he was going to Queensland she hung up. They now took Lane to his fiancée's home where they tortured him for details of his bank accounts. After crushing his toes with pliers, he was strangled. Returning home and finding Lane gone, his fiancée rang the police to report him missing. Lane's body had in fact been wrapped in a carpet and left in her home for four days, every time she fed her pets, she had to step over the roll of carpet to reach their bowl. Bunting and Wagner later collected the body while she was out and disposed of it.
  • Thomas Trevilyan, 18 (d. Nov 1997): Trevilyan was delusional and suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He believed he was a soldier and always wore army fatigues, carried a knife and believed the Grim Reaper was going to kill him. He had moved in with Wagner after Lane's death but Wagner's girlfriend did not like him. On November 4, 1997, Wagners girlfriend's son was playing with a puppy when Trevilyan began chasing it in an attempt to kill the puppy with his knife, he was stopped but that afternoon Bunting told Wagner and Vlassakis that Trevilyan had started to "fuck up" and "go mental" and that he would be a risk and along with Wagner they took him for a drive. The next day Trevilyan was found hanging from a tree in Humbug Scrub in the Adelaide Hills near Kersbrook. Given his history of past suicide attempts, the coroner found Trevilyan had committed suicide.
  • Gavin Porter, 29 (d. Apr 1998): Porter was a diagnosed schizophrenic who had spent many years in mental institutions. Following the death of his mother he moved to Adelaide from Victoria in 1997 where he met 17 year old Vlassakis and moved in with him. Both were heroin addicts and after Bunting, Elizabeth Harvey and her children, including Vlassakis moved to Murray Bridge in late 1997, Porter also moved in. Bunting decided he should be the next victim after he was pricked by a discarded syringe Porter had left on the couch in the living room. Porter was attacked by Bunting and Wagner while sleeping in his car parked on the property but he awoke and managed to stab Bunting in the hand with a screwdriver before being overpowered and strangled. Vlassakis was shown Porter's body before it was disposed of.

Police investigating the disappearance of Lane discovered that a withdrawal was being made from Lane's account at an automatic teller machine (ATM) at the same service station every pension day. They installed surveillance cameras and got footage of Wagner making the withdrawals. Due to his links with Bunting, both were now put under surveillance and had their telephones tapped.

  • Troy Youde, 21 (d. Aug 1998): Vlassakis' half-brother and son of Elizabeth Harvey he had recently moved into Bunting's Murray Bridge house. Vlassakis had been sexually abused by Youde when he was younger and had previously told Bunting about it. One night Bunting, Wagner and Mark Haydon woke Vlassakis and told him they were going to get Youde. They beat Youde while he was asleep in bed and then Vlassakis handcuffed him while the others tied him up. They then dragged Youde out of bed and put him in a bath where they beat him again and forced him to give them his financial details. Youde was told to address the four by the names Sir, God, Master and Chief Inspector and crushed his toes with pliers if he failed to use the correct name for one of them. Bunting now got Youde to repeat a series of numbers, words and phrases which he recorded after which Youde was strangled.

Using a program called Sound Forge, Bunting used the recording to create messages from Youde and later from future victims, telling friends that they were going away. These messages would later become known as the Voices from the Dead when Bunting put the messages together with a backing track called Selling the Drama which appealed to him due to the songs anti paedophila chorus. By now Bunting had developed a language around the killings. He referred to those he didn't like as wastes, paedophiles were rock spiders, drug users and people who ate or drank too much were dirties. Potential victims needed to go to the clinic, wanting to kill someone was wanting to play while someone being made good meant they had been killed. Bunting called his own actions making Smurfs...he later explained: "first they go blue then they go poo".

  • Fred Brooks, 18 (d. Sep 1998): The intellectually disabled son of Jodie Elliott who was Elizabeth Haydons' sister. Elliot had moved to South Australia in late 1997 to be near her sister. Bunting became obsessed with the idea that Brooks was "touching up" young girls and repeatedly told the others that something had to "happen" to him. One day in September 1998, Brooks was excited as he had been notified that morning that he had been accepted into the Air Force Cadets. He was invited to a party that night but was also invited to join Bunting, Wagner and Vlassakis in a break and enter so he accepted their offer instead. He went to Buntings house where he was asked to try on some handcuffs to see if he could get out of them if caught by the police. Once handcuffed he was beaten and tortured with electric shocks and had lit cigarettes stubbed out in his nose and ears. Wagner burnt a smiley face on Brooks forehead with a lighter. Bunting inserted a sparkler into his urethra and then lit it, after which this torture was repeated a second time; after his toes were crushed he was left to choke to death on his gag.
  • Gary O'Dwyer, 29 (d. Nov 1998): O'Dwyer had been mentally and physically disabled in an car accident some five years earlier. In 1998 he left his foster home to live by himself in Murray Bridge, unfortunately the house was close to Buntings. O'Dwyer was a stranger, picked simply because he looked like Troy Youde. Vlassakis befriended O'Dwyer and encouraged him to invite Bunting and Wagner over for drinks. He was bound and tortured in his home in Frances Street, Murray Bridge, by Bunting, Wagner and Vlassakis. The trio left in the afternoon leaving O'Dwyer tied up but returned later that night and strangled him. The body was taken to Mark Haydons' home where it was placed in a barrel.

Bunting was tiring of Elizabeth Harvey and was spending a lot of time with Jodie Elliott. He told Harvey's son James Vlassakis that he was only sleeping with Elliott to keep her from informing on them and Vlassakis cooperated by driving Bunting back and forth between their home in Murray Bridge and Elliott's home in Adelaide. Bunting told Harvey that he had got a job as a truck driver to explain why he was spending so much time away from home. Behind her back, Bunting called Elliot "the village idiot" and used her to help him steal money from victim's bank accounts and to later claim Elizabeth Haydon's Centrelink benefits.

  • Elizabeth Haydon, 37 (d. Nov 1998): Mark Haydon's wife. Haydon told Bunting that he had told his wife about the murders. Bunting hated Elizabeth and told Vlassakis that her knowing was a problem. On 20 November 1998, Elliott was asked to take Mark Haydon into the city to keep him out of the house for a few hours. Bunting and Wagner killed her in her bath. When Haydon returned two hours later Bunting told him that Elizabeth had made a sexual advance on him and that when he rejected her she had stormed out of the house.

Up to now, the bodies had been stored in barrels in Haydon's shed. Bunting now decided there was a need to relocate and transported them in Haydons' Toyota Land Cruiser to a friends property on the Adelaide Plains near the Clare Valley. He told the friends that the barrels contained Kangaroo carcasses.

Several days later Elizabeth Haydon's brother filed a missing persons report. Her brother did not believe her husband's explanations for her disappearance, which seemed contradictory in the varying versions he gave, and the brother also did not believe she would leave without her two young sons. Police found it suspicious that her husband had not reported her missing, and on investigating her disappearance they immediately linked her to Bunting, Wagner and the disappearance of Barry Lane. They searched the Haydon property, including the shed where the barrels had been stored but found nothing. Noting Haydon's Land Cruiser was missing, they circulated its number plate and description.

Bunting still had Haydons barrel in his car and he took it to Vlassakis house in Murray Bridge where they placed it in a car in the backyard. Not long after, Vlassakis moved to Strathalbyn, forgetting about the barrel, it was left behind in Murray Bridge. Several months later Buntings friends told him they were moving to Snowtown and he asked them to take the barrels with them. They agreed, but told him that the barrels were starting to smell and to come get them. Bunting and Haydon travelled to Snowtown where they signed a lease for the house and adjoining unused bank and they moved the barrels into the vault. Ironically, the bank building was next door to the local police station. Checking the barrels, Bunting noticed that the one containing Elizabeth Haydon was missing, he contacted Vlassakis and became enraged when he found that it had been accidentally left behind in Murray Bridge. They both collected the barrel and put it in the vault with the others.

In January 1999, Jodie Elliott was admitted to an Adelaide psychiatric facility after suffering a nervous breakdown. Elliott spends her days rocking back and forth while holding a porcelain doll she has named "Jodie Bunting".

  • David Johnson, 24 (d. May 1999): Johnson was Vlassakis' step-brother. Bunting didn't like him because he was fastidious with his cleanliness and appearance and in Bunting's mind, a "yuppie", Bunting would often refer to him as a "faggot" and say he needed to die. It had been almost six months since the last murder and Bunting began talking about "getting" Johnson and suggested that Vlassakis find a way to get him to the bank in Snowtown. On May 9, 1999 Vlassakis told Johnson that there was a computer for sale cheap in Snowtown and he agreed to go with Vlassakis to buy it. He was seized as soon as he entered the building and the ritual of beatings, torture and voice recording began. Bunting also played his Voices from the Dead mix tape. After getting his ATM details, Wagner and Vlassakis now took Johnson's ATM card to a roadhouse in Port Wakefield to withdraw some cash but the machine printed out a message saying "Not authorized. Cancelled" and they returned to Snowtown where Bunting assumed the account had no money in it. Johnson was already dead and Bunting explained that he had gotten free and threatened him with a knife so he had no choice but to overpower and kill him. Wagner cut a piece of flesh from Johnson's body and the trio later returned to Adelaide where Wagner and Bunting cooked and ate the flesh. Johnson was the only victim who died in Snowtown.

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