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Due to the graphic nature of this killer's crimes, listener discretion is advised this episode includes discussions of murder, abuse, assault and necrophilia that some people may find offensive. We advise extreme caution for children under 13.


In the early hours of January 27th, 1963, bones around Perth, Western Australia, began to ring.


The sun was barely up, but already word was spreading. A gunman was on the loose.


Police called home to tell their loved ones to lock the doors and stay away from windows. Doctors and nurses treating the victims did the same as the news made its way around the city. Fear pulsed through the quiet streets.


There were about 500000 people living in Perth. So the chances you were somehow connected to the crazed gunman's victims were small. But still no one yet knew who the killer was or where he would strike next. For all anyone knew, they themselves could be next as phones rang in living rooms around the city. It was the death knell of an innocence that would never return to Western Australia.


Hi, I'm Greg Polson.


This is Serial Killers, a podcast original. Every episode we dive into the minds and madness of serial killers. Today, we're concluding our two part series on Australia's Eric Edgar Cooke, sometimes known as The Night Caller or the Nedlands Monster. I'm here with my co-host, Vanessa Richardson. Hi, everyone.


You can find episodes of Serial Killers and all other cast originals for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream serial killers for free on Spotify. Just open the app and type serial killers in the search bar.


Last time we delved into Eric Cooke's troubled upbringing, his fascination with cat burglary and how he squandered several chances at reform. In 1959, after flirting with violence for years, he committed his first brutal murder.


Today will follow Cook on his years long crime spree that left at least seven dead, two men wrongfully imprisoned and changed the city of Perth forever.


We've got all that coming up. Stay with us.


In January of 1959, 28 year old Eric Cook was in pain. His face was covered in fresh scratches, drawing even more attention to his recognizable harelip features. If anyone asked what happened, Cook blamed the scratch marks on his eldest son, who was developed mentally handicapped while Cook blamed his son for his injuries.


The true culprit was 33 year old Penina Burkeman when Cook attacked Penina in her apartment on January 29th. She fought back. Her long manicured nails gouged his face as she tried desperately to repel him.


In the end, it was a fight Penina couldn't win. She died in her living room floor after Cook ran from the flat. The city of Perth, Western Australia, was rocked by the shocking murder and leads quickly dried up. Cook left no prints, and DNA technology was too rudimentary to conclusively tie anyone to the blood under Panetoz Nails.


Residents in the Wembley area reported seeing a prowler in the neighborhood on nights leading up to the attack, but no one could give police a clear description of the man. So as long as he kept his head down, Cook was in the clear.


And that's just what he did for the next six months. Cook was relatively inactive, but by August he couldn't control his urges any longer. On the 8th, he left his wife Sally at home with their children and set off into the shadows.


He ended up in the affluent area of Midland's. The suburb was popular with students of the nearby university, making it a prime target for Cook, who loved to peek in windows at potential targets.


One such student was 17 year old Alex Duncan, who was spending the night alone at her sister's apartment. As Alex slept, 29 year old Cook made his way around the building until he found an open window. It was too small and high to be an obvious entry point, which is probably why anyone neglected to close it. But Cook wasn't deterred.


Once he managed to scramble through the window, he rifled through Alex's purse, taking what little money the nursing student had. But even as experienced and quiet as Cook was, the teen woke up panicking. Cook seized something heavy, perhaps a fire poker, and hit her over the head, knocking her out, not wanting to wait for the girl to wake up.


Cook left the way he came in. Alex was left alone until the next morning when Prince arrived and rushed her to the hospital. In addition to a nasty gash above her eye, Alex suffered a fractured skull and was left with a severe form of epilepsy that derailed her career aspirations and would affect her for the rest of her life.


Not that Eric Cook had any cares about the woman whose life he'd just ruined. By the time Alex finally left the hospital in September, he'd already moved on to a fresh suburb full of new houses and clueless victims for the prolific cat burglar.


A few months later, his new favourite haunt was the wealthy neighbourhood of Brookwood Flats. On an early visit to one apartment building, he stole the key from the ground floor apartment of Betty Johnston, then returned to burgle the place a few times.


Betty's next door neighbour was her 22 year old daughter, Jillian Brewer, an interior designer. Jillian Court cooks eye on one of his visits, and he took pleasure watching through the window as the young woman had sex with her fiancee. But watching evidently wasn't enough.


Vanessa's going to take over on the psychology here and throughout the episode. Please note the NSA is not a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, but she has done a lot of research for this show.


Thanks, Greg. In a later assessment of his psychological development, Dr Aaron Samuels stated that Cook was sexually naïve and afraid of women who might conceivably test his sexual adequacy. It's possible that this misguided fear or hatred of a sexually confident, unmarried woman caused Cooke's thoughts to turn to violence. This theory aligns with Cook's first murder victim, Penina Burkeman, who had no qualms about having sex outside of wedlock and even had the gall to sleep naked. Then again, Cook's attack on Penina Bachmann seemed by chance he just happened to find a knife on his prowls that night, but when he set out for Jillian's home on December 19th, he already had murder in mind.


As he crept through the quiet streets, he stopped at a garage he'd visited on an earlier date.


He was back for something he knew would come in handy a hatchet, hatchet and gloved hand. He headed for jillions back door and forced his way in.


Within moments, he was at her bedside ready to strike. He raised the blade and brought it down into her sleeping form. He hacked at her body, hitting her with such force that he split the handle of his weapon.


Not yet satisfied with the sickening violence, he left the bedroom to find a pair of scissors in the kitchen. He returned, stabbed Jillian a few more times and was at last done his frenzy over. He posed her lifeless body to look like she was sleeping peacefully. Then he cleaned the scissors, return them to the kitchen and left the flat on his way out.


He tossed the hatchet over the back fence and headed for home Empty-Handed for once, but likely feeling accomplished nonetheless.


When Jillian's body was discovered the next day, there were a few leads for detectives. John Button, a local teen who mowed the lawn, was questioned but ultimately ruled out as a suspect across town.


Cook demanded his wife give him an alibi for the night of the murder. Jillian's death was big news, and Cook told Sally that his record would make him an automatic suspect. She agreed to say he was home with her that night, but Sally never had to lie to the police for her husband.


In April of 1960, 19 year old Darryl Beamish was questioned over the murder. Beamish was a deaf mute awaiting trial for the sexual assault of two young girls aged four and five. And like Cook, he had a history of breaking and entering.


Beamish confessed to the crime once through an interpreter and then again in a written note. It's likely the false confession was coerced through intimidating police questioning tactics as well as Beamish. His own confusion. According to Estelle Blackburn's book Broken Lives, Beamish didn't understand why he was sent to prison shortly after or why he couldn't see his family. After the confession, he was charged with jillions murder and after a six day trial, was sentenced to hang.


Luckily, the judicial miscarriage was lessened a few months later when his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment with hard labour. But the fact that another man paid for his crime did nothing to slow Eric Cook down. Just days later, the 29 year old was on the prowl once more.


On April 9th, 1960, he stole a Holden sedan and drove it around Perth, enjoying the quiet Saturday night when he saw a 20 year old Glennis peak. Something about her darkened his mood. The young woman was walking home alone after a night out, making her an easy target for the now experienced killer cookes.


One the car around and sped up, hitting Glennis from behind. But he didn't strike her head on. Maybe his aim was off or he swerved to avoid crashing the car. So although she was seriously injured, she was able to drag herself through a nearby lumberyard and into her parents home.


The young woman was lucky to escape with her life, but it seemed Cook was determined to keep trying his hit and run attacks until someone died.


A month later. On Friday the 13th, Cook decided to try his luck in a stolen Morris minor. He roam the streets of Belmont until he spotted 18 year old Jill Connell walking alone in the dark. The tall eighteen year old was heading home from the bus after her shift at a popular cafe in Perth.


Cook followed a short way, frightening her when he sped past her, missing her by inches, not content with just a scare. He doubled back as Jill tried to get out of the way. He veered right for her at speed. He hit the teen, throwing her body up to crash into the windscreen and land on the dirt beside the road.


When he tried to reverse the car, likely to finish Jill off it. Bogged in the soft earth, Cooke fled on foot, leaving his latest victim unconscious, bleeding from the head and with a bone sticking out of her leg. Eventually, neighbours heard her moans through the still night air, and Jill was rushed to the hospital.


Even as Jill recovered, Cook was ready for his next attack.


The following Friday, May 20th, he chased down three young girls, making the half mile journey home from the train station in the pouring rain, he collided with eighteen year old Georgina Pitman and sixteen year old Maureen Rogers.


Both girls survived the attack. Thanks to Maureen's 12 year old cousin, Tyrese, who ran for help in the aftermath, local press spotted the recent pattern and stirred up fears of a, quote, hit and run maniac.


It was the first time any of Cook's crimes had really been connected. And it's possible the added scrutiny convinced him to lay low once more, but not so low that he gave up his creeping ways for good. He stopped running down women in stolen cars for now and returned to prowling and burglary.


But in March of 1962, the 31 year old was ready for something more than his usual is something new. On March 3rd, he crept into the apartment of 23 year old Anne Melvin, who had left her back door open finding. And in her bed he strangled her with a piece of fabric until she lost consciousness with the young woman helpless.


He pulled down her pajama pants and tied her wrists to the bed frame. But before he could sexually assault her and woke up and screamed, startled, Cook ran from the apartment and into the night and freed herself and gave chase for a few moments before neighbors came to her aid.


It was another close call for Cook, and he once again took an unusually long break from his attacks. But in January of 1963, an opportunity presented itself that was too good to pass up, and it would change the city of Perth forever.


Coming up, Eric Cook takes his horrific killing spree to a new level.


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The only thing the doctor ordered is murder. Follow medical murders free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Now back to the story in January of 1963, 31 year old Eric Cook had already killed two women, attacking them in their beds while he prowled the quiet neighborhoods of Perth, Western Australia. In addition, he'd run down several women as they walked home at night, though each of his hit and run victims recovered to varying degrees.


For the most part, though, it seemed Cook stole cars to better enable his lifelong habit of nighttime prowling after an evening on the town, either bowling with friends or drinking at the pub he'd put on his gloves and creep around Perth's more affluent suburbs.


On the evening of Australia Day, January 26th, while the city wound down from a day of celebrations, Cook slipped into stealth mode and began his evening's exploration.


In one of the first homes he hit in the suburb of Como, Cook found a 22 caliber rifle, possibly thinking back to his success with firearms in basic training, Cook swiped the rifle along with a box of ammunition. Now armed like never before, the city was at his mercy.


He stole a yellow Holden Effy and drove it to the beachside suburb of Cottesloe. Once there, he set out on foot looking for targets he didn't have to search for long.


Not far from where he parked, he saw Rowena Reeves and her married boyfriend, Nick Auguste, drinking at a parked car.


Cook was never one to resist the urge to play Peeping Tom, so he stopped to watch the couple. When Nick noticed they had an audience, he yelled at Cook, throwing an empty beer bottle at the crepe.


In response, Cook raised the rifle, aiming right at Nick.


Rowena spotted the gun first and pulled Nick down just in time. Her hand was still on his neck when the bullet flew through the car. It grazed Nick and lodged in Rowena's wrist, shattering a bone, not waiting to get a good look at their attacker.


Nick started the car and sped away, leaving Cooke behind.


Frustrated but still armed, not yet satisfied, Cooke prowled the streets of Cottesloe, eventually coming upon an open apartment door just inside the flat. He spotted 31 year old Brian. We're sleeping in his bed. Brian, an avid athlete and participant in the local surf club, was due to be married that coming April. Eric Cooke knew none of that when he shot Brian in the head at point blank range.


As Brian bled out, Cooke took stock of the situation and decided he wasn't done. When he was sure the coast was clear. Cooke left Brian's apartment to head west to the nearby suburb of Nedlands. There on Vincent Street, he approached a large brick house. It was owned by Connie Allen, a widow with grown children. She took in young boarders from the local university to fill her empty home.


Connie's hospitality was so popular that one student, nineteen year old John Starkey, set up a makeshift bedroom on the back verandah. So Cook didn't even need to find an open door to claim his next victim. He got close to John, aimed the rifle at his head and pulled the trigger, leaving the scene of the crime.


He walked through the back fence into an adjoining property coming out onto Louise Street. By now, it was around 4:00 a.m. on January 27th.


So the Walmsley family was startled awake by their ringing doorbell as 54 year old George Walmsley opened the door to see who could possibly be calling.


At this hour, Cook took careful aim from where he weighted down the garden path. As soon as he had George in his sights, he showed off his excellent aim, shooting the man through the forehead.


While George's wife and daughter ran to his aid, Cook turned on his heel and headed for home. On the way, he stopped to throw the rifle into a section of scrubland where he was sure no one would find it.


And with that Cooke shooting spree was over, the sun rose over Perth, and as Cook settled in for a morning nap, his victims were discovered and rushed to the hospital. John Sterckx and George Walmsley both died shortly after arrival, but doctors were able to save Brian Weir. However, the bullet in his brain caused irreparable damage, and the remaining three years of his life were marked by profound disability.


As word of the shooting spread, fear rippled across Perth with a population of less than 500000. The senseless violence was earth shaking, where once people slept with doors unlocked or ajar, many now locked themselves in resolving to stay away from windows until the shooter was caught.


Responding to the palpable fear, the government resolved to flood the city with light. Usually the street lamps turned off around 1:00 a.m. each morning, but following Cook's latest spree, they remained on until sunrise each day.


Hoping to shed even more light on the situation, police assembled a task force to work on. Round the clock, ballistics experts confirmed that the bullets in each shooting matched, confirming the presence of a single gunman. In response, 60000 of Western Australia's 75000 registered rifles were tested in an effort to find the murder weapon. But the search came up empty.


The desperation to capture the killer was so great that two local newspapers offered rewards for information leading to an arrest. Still, despite the wave of tips flooding in, Eric Cook remained off investigators radar.


So on February 9th, 1963, Cooke was once again up to his old tricks roaming the streets of Perth in a stolen car. It was late in the evening when he saw 17 year old Rosemary Anderson walking alone. As he proved many times before, a woman walking by herself was irresistible to cook, so he doubled back to come around behind the teenager.


Rosemary was miserable. She just fought with her boyfriend, 19 year old John Button, and stormed out to walk home. He'd followed in his car, begging for forgiveness and offering her a ride home. Stuben Rosemary refused, so John backed off, wanting to give her some space. He parked the car, resolving to try again in a few minutes.


It was in those few minutes that Cook spotted Rosemary and decided to follow her. Just moments after she caught his eye, Cook sped up behind Rosemary and hit her with his stolen car.


He collided with her with such force that her body was thrown up over the car and landed in the sand alongside the road. Satisfied with his work, Cook rushed off.


Meanwhile, John Button caught up to Rosemary, finding her crumpled body in the sand.


The frantic rush to get is barely alive. Girlfriend into the car then raced to a doctor's house nearby.


Rosemary was badly injured, so the doctor called for an ambulance and the police while his girlfriend was rushed to the hospital. Police detained John for questioning. It wasn't John's first time speaking to police. Three years earlier, they'd questioned him over the death of Gillian Brewer because he mowed the lawn at her building. But now he was held for hours while detectives went over his story with him, trying to poke holes in his version of events and suggesting that he was lying.


Later, the next day, after over 24 hours in police custody, John was informed that Rosemary was dead. She was Cook's fifth murder victim, but no one realised she'd been claimed by a serial killer. Instead, all eyes were on the devastated boyfriend.


In a state of shock and guilt, John falsely confessed to running down Rosemary, parroting back to police the version of events they suggested.


Unfortunately, false confessions are not an anomaly.


More than a quarter of the people exonerated through efforts by the U.S. based Innocence Project made confessions before their conviction, according to Saul Kassin, a psychologist and leading expert in interrogation. Young people are particularly vulnerable to making false confessions. If they're stressed or tired, the risk increases.


19 year old John Button, having been awake for over 24 hours and just informed his girlfriend was dead, would have been in an intense state of sleep deprivation, grief and, yes, stress.


So because of John's coerced confession, police didn't investigate Rosemarie's death with no fear of being caught. Cooke was back on the streets in less than a week, and the night of February 15th, he entered Lucy Module's flat via her back door, which he left propped open for her cat.


As Lucy stared at the noise he was making, Cooke hit her over the head, then strangled her until she passed out. With his victim no longer able to fight back, 32 year old Cooke strangled her to death with the cord from a lamp.


It was his first bloodless murder, and now Lucy's lifeless form lay before him on the bed. So with nothing to stop him, he had sex with her still warm body.


It's possible his decision to defile Lucy related to Cook's sexual inadequacy. If he raped her when she was still alive, he risked her fighting back, rejecting him. But now she was unable to reject him nor offer an unwanted perspective on his sexual prowess. When he was done, he dragged Lucy's corpse through the back door and across the lawn, perhaps sensing that her mistress needed avenging Lucy's cat. Mudguards emerged from the dark and attacked Cooke, scratching and biting him as he went.


It's unclear what Cook's ultimate goal was in moving Lucy's body, whether he intended to dump her elsewhere or not.


He didn't make it far. He left her sprawled on a neighbour's lawn. His. Right now complete, he left the scene for Lucy's neighbors to discover at dawn, with Cook's latest murder, a fresh wave of titillated gossip and rumor set off across the city.


Much like at the Penina Burkeman inquest, police announced that Lucie's death was unrelated to the January shootings. It was a conclusion that likely split the focus of police efforts. Officials remained entirely unaware that for all of the unsolved crimes they were looking for just one killer. Their man was still very much on the loose and he wasn't done killing.


Coming up, the news finally closes around Eric Cooke. Now back to the story.


By mid 1963, 32 year old Eric Cooke had all of Perth on edge. He'd killed six people so far, allowing other men to take the fall for two of those crimes.


In May of that year, John Button was sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor for the murder of his girlfriend, Rosemary Anderson. As far as Cook was concerned, that was one less crime police would be hunting him for.


That left the prolific prowler to carry on as before breaking into homes around Perth. In his youth, he'd snuck into empty houses in his neighborhood. But as an adult, he was bolder, not caring if people were home. It's what led to some of his seemingly spontaneous murders.


On June 15th, he entered the flat of three young women taking advantage of a small open window. Once he was inside, the noise awoke 20 year old Carmel Reid moving quickly. Cook seized an umbrella and began beating Carmel. But when she screamed and fought back, he ran from the apartment.


It's unclear what made Cooke choose to kill only sometimes and other times to leave his victims alive. But it's possible it had to do with the readiness of a murder weapon in Carmel's bedroom. The only thing he could find was an umbrella, which made for a poor cudgel. But the next weapon he found was decidedly more deadly.


On August 10th, Cook snuck into a home in Cottesloe when he found another 22 rifle instead of cash. He accepted the offering and left, braving the rain for a night in the shadows. It was time to find his next target.


His wanderings brought him to the suburb of Dalkeith, where he saw an open garage door. It was too tempting to resist, and he slunk towards the house. Inside, he found 18 year old Shirley McLeod studying on the couch.


Her back to him, 18 year old Shirley was babysitting for Carl and Wendy Dowds, young son. But the baby was asleep and she was focused on her studies. All Cook saw was an oblivious victim without disturbing Shirley. He raised his stolen rifle, took aim and fired a single shot through her head.


Then he left the Dowds home the way he entered, leaving Shirley's upright body still perched over her notes where the young couple found her.


Just hours later, on his way home, Cook stopped to hide the rifle. In February, he had thrown his weapon away, not caring where it landed, but now perhaps wanting to retrieve it. The next time he felt murderous, he stowed it carefully under a bush near his neighborhood. It had been months since Perth's last unsolved murder and Shirleys death set off a new wave of panic across the city, like after his February shooting spree. Locals locked themselves indoors, refusing to leave.


People stopped going to parties and visiting friends, which worked out well because babysitters were too stricken to accept any jobs. It was a nightmare from which many feared they'd never wake. It seemed everyone knew someone affected by the senseless attacks, but no one had any clue who to blame. And yet officials were determined to capture the killer, terrorizing the city with renewed vigor. Detectives were organized into teams working in 12 hour shifts. It was a 24 hour operation.


Some 50 detectives went door to door through the city, interviewing around 8000 people, hoping someone knew something even if they didn't know it. And finally, Perth's police force caught a break on August 16th, almost a week after Shirleys murder. A couple out for a stroll came across Cookes hidden rifle being lifted under the bush, but reported it to police.


Detectives seized upon the best lead they've had so far. The rival was left in its hiding place and police set up a hideout of their own in a backyard overlooking the shrubbery.


They waited in a camouflaged tent, trading off shifts so that the rifle was under constant surveillance.


For two weeks, officers watch the undisturbed Bush, hoping their killer would return for his weapon. And on August 31st, their patience was rewarded. 32 year old Eric Cook parked his car right next to the bush, got out and reached for the rifle. Police were on him in a flash. They tackled him to the ground, then spirited him away to answer questions. On the drive to the station, Cook freely offered confessions about all of the homes he'd burgled recently, perhaps hoping to emphasize his status as a burglar, not murderer.


He made up a story about seeing the rifle earlier in the month. He'd come back to take it to sell. He told police he flatly denied having anything to do with Shirley McLeod's murder.


But though Cooke lied, the evidence did not. A shell casing found in the back of his car matched the rifle that killed the 18 year old. And when police arrived at Cook's home with a search warrant, Sally confirmed that her husband arrived home late the night of Shirley's murder. Cook's long suffering wife was loyal to her marriage, but honest above all.


When presented with the facts, Cook finally confessed he owned up to Shirley's murder, but insisted he was blacked out. At the time, he couldn't remember a thing and had no explanation for why he did it.


When news of Cook's arrest broke the next morning, relief spread across Perth. Everyone was sure the nightmare was at last. Over several days later, Cooke confessed to the January 26th shooting spree as well, again pressing him for a reason. The only explanation Cooke could offer was I just wanted to hurt somebody.


Throughout September, the charges against Cook piled up, displaying an extraordinary memory. He recounted many of his burglaries, recalling exact amounts of money stolen at each place, as well as many assaults on sleeping women.


And with these confessions, he also finally admitted to the murders that sent other men to jail. Darryl Beamish was still serving life with hard labor for Jillian Brewer's death, and John Button was serving a decade behind bars for the vehicular murder of his girlfriend, Rosemary Anderson.


But detectives were disinclined to believe Cook's confessions. After all, both Daryl and John had also confessed, even after Cooke walk detectives through Rosemarie's death at the scene of the crime, they didn't believe him. Just like John Button. They thought Cooke was a liar and they told him so. They repeated it so much he withdrew both confessions.


Still, Cooke was charged with the 1999 murder of Penina Burkeman, as well as the more recent slaying of Lucy Mandrill.


When Cook's mother spoke to police, she offered them insight into his troubled upbringing. Christian Cooke seemed haunted by her husband's open dislike of their son and despaired that the police never helped her stop Vivian's abuse. Displaying the kind of insight research has backed up, she suggested that Cook's violent childhood caused his murderous adulthood. He was a good boy. She believed and never wanted to hurt anyone. But the courts weren't content to take Christian's word for it. In the lead up to his trial, Cooke met with Dr.


Aaron Samuel Ellis to determine his mental capacity. In his report, Dr. Ellis declared that Cooke seemed totally deficient in emotion. He had no remorse for his actions, and he had a complete inability to put himself in the place of others or to imagine that they have any rights or feelings. He had been in prison many times, but was obviously not capable of learning from the experience.


This assessment, though, offering something of an explanation for Cook's actions, did nothing to excuse them. But Dr Ellis confirmed that Cooke was mentally fit to stand trial.


Following this, Cooke was assessed by other psychological professionals who were curious about his violent nature.


Psychologist Leon Blank visited Cooke in prison and after conducting a series of tests, reported that Cooke was a person of bright, normal intelligence who had a psychopathic character disorder. In his assessment, Dr. Blank noted that Cooke himself seemed curious about his own actions. Just like the doctors studying him, he wanted to know why he'd turned to murder, so he was cooperative and enthusiastic during his conversations.


Dr. Blank's diagnosis carried a lot of weight at Cook's trial, where psychopathy was not a legally recognized mental disease. However, Cook's defense team offered their own psychological expert, Dr. Ian James, who diagnosed Cook with schizophrenia.


Schizophrenia, Dr. James testified, was easily mistaken for psychopathy. But unlike the latter, schizophrenia was a recognized mental disease and might have mitigated the charges against Cooke.


But the jurors weren't swayed by Dr. James's testimony, perhaps still reeling from the state of fear, Cook's killing spree induced. The jury took just over an hour to find him guilty. Following their verdict, the judge sentenced Cook to hang for his crimes.


After Cook's trial, John Button launched an appeal of his conviction for murdering Rosemary Anderson, despite Cook's own testimony at the trial. John's appeal was rejected, though both men confessed to the crime. John confessed first. And the early bird gets the jail time.


On October 26, 1964, a little under a year after he was sentenced, 33 year old Eric Cook was marched to the gallows at Fremantle Prison before the hood was placed over his head. He swore on a Bible that he killed Gillian Brewer and Rosemary Anderson. He was desperate for Darryl and John not to pay for his crimes.


Just moments later, the executioner pulled the lever, sending Cook to his death. It was over in less than a minute, but the fight to clear the names of Darryl Beamish and John Button took considerably longer.


If you're looking for small mercies, take solace in the fact that John spent five years behind bars instead of his full 10 year sentence. He was paroled in December of 1967. However, Darryl Beamish served his full 15 years for the murder of Gillian Brewer and was released in 1977.


In 1998, West Australian journalist Estelle Blackburn published her book Broken Lives, detailing Eric Cook's crimes and the two wrongful convictions following publication. John Button's case was formally re-opened in February 2002, 39 years after his conviction. John was at last exonerated. Three years later, in April of 2005, Darryl Beamish, his conviction was also overturned. It had been 41 years since Eric Edgar Cooke drew his last breath and only then did the lasting effects of his crimes finally begin to fade.


But John and Darryl weren't Cook's only surviving victims. Some of the women he attacked suffered from lifelong injuries and disabilities.


Eric Cooke's actions echoed through the decades after starting life as a boy who hated when people looked at his harelip, who made himself smaller to avoid drawing his father's ire. Cook became a man with untold influence from the shadows. He changed the lives of his victims, their families and the city of Perth forever.


Thanks again for tuning into serial killers. We'll be back soon with a new episode for more information on Eric Edgar Cooke. Amongst the many sources we used, we found Broken Lives by Estelle Blackburn, extremely helpful to our research.


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Have a killer week. Serial Killers was created by Max Cutler and his APAs cast. Studio's original executive producers include Max and Ron Cuddler Sound Design by Nick Johnson with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Joshua Kern. This episode of Serial Killers was written by Joel Kaplan with writing assistants by Abigail Canon and stars Greg Paulson and Vanessa Richardson.


Hi, listeners, remember to check out the new precast original series, Medical murders every Wednesday beat the worst to the medical community has to offer men and women who took an oath to save lives, but instead use their expertise to develop more sinister specialties, follow medical murders free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.