Faraday School kidnapping

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The Faraday School kidnapping occurred on 6 October 1972 at a one-teacher school in the village of Faraday in Victoria, Australia, where two unemployed friends, Edwin John Eastwood and Robert Clyde Boland, kidnapped six female pupils and their teacher for a $1,000,000 ransom.

Incident[edit]

Eastwood and Boland entered the school armed with a sawn-off shotgun at about 3:00pm, and forced the teacher, 20-year-old Mary Gibbs, and her six pupils (girls aged between 5 and 10) into a red delivery van, leaving a note at the school threatening to kill all of the hostages unless a $1,000,000 cash ransom was paid. They were driven off into a remote area in the bush.

That evening, the Premier of Victoria, Dick Hamer, announced that the State Government was prepared to pay the ransom. The Victorian Education Minister and future Premier, Lindsay Thompson, was driven to the scene by Assistant Commissioner W.D.(Bill) Crowley masquerading as the minister’s driver and armed with a trousered derringer pistol. Future Chief Commissioner S.I. (Mick) Miller was concealed under a blanket in the rear of the car with a high powered rifle. Thompson waited to personally deliver the ransom, but it was never collected. In the early hours of the next morning, the kidnappers told Gibbs they were going to collect the ransom and left her and the pupils.

When they were gone, Gibbs managed to kick the door panel out with her heavy, platform-heeled leather boots and escape with the children in the dark, finding help a few kilometres away. Eastwood and Boland were captured by heavily armed Victoria Police officers after an extensive manhunt.

Aftermath[edit]

Eastwood pleaded guilty to seven counts of kidnapping in December 1972 and was sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of ten years; three armed robbery charges against him were taken into consideration in exchange for evidence against Boland.

Boland was convicted by a jury in March 1974 after three trials and was sentenced to seventeen years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of twelve years, although Eastwood has maintained that Boland was innocent and that the real co-kidnapper was an ex-convict that Thomson spoke to at Woodend, who had been detained at the scene but later released.[1]

On 22 January 1973 Mary Gibbs was awarded a George Medal for her bravery.[2]

Eastwood's escape and second kidnapping[edit]

On 16 December 1976, Edwin Eastwood escaped from Geelong Prison after stealing a car.

On 15 February 1977, he kidnapped a teacher and nine pupils from the Wooreen State School in Gippsland, Victoria. While driving off, he collided with a truck and held the driver and his partner hostage. Twenty minutes later, another log truck came along and Eastwood waved it to a stop before taking the driver and passenger hostage. He then commandeered a campervan with two female occupants and also took them hostage.

Finally, with sixteen hostages, he demanded a ransom of US$7 million, guns, 100 kilograms of heroin and cocaine, and the release of seventeen inmates from Pentridge Prison.[3] However, one of the hostages escaped and notified police, and Eastwood fled with the remaining hostages; after the campervan was disabled by police gunfire at Woodside, Eastwood was shot below the right knee and re-captured by police. (Eastwood claimed that he was shot after surrendering to police whilst unarmed.)

Eastwood pleaded guilty to 25 charges, including 16 counts of kidnapping, three counts of theft of a motor vehicle, three counts of using a firearm with intent to avoid lawful apprehension, one count of escaping lawful custody, one count of burglary, and one count of theft, with 10 other charges taken into consideration. He was sentenced on 8 November 1977 to 21 years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 years, with Justice Murray ordering that the sentence was to be served concurrently with the balance of the sentence from the Faraday kidnapping; thus, the total effective sentence imposed in respect of both kidnappings was 25 years and 11 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 22 years and 11 months.[4]

On 30 April 1981, Eastwood strangled convicted rapist Glen Davies in the exercise yard of Pentridge Prison and was charged with murder; he was subsequently acquitted on the grounds of self-defense, having been stabbed 10 times during the incident.[5]

After remissions[6] were abolished, Eastwood's application for a re-determination of his sentence was granted, and after allowing for 17 months of remissions forfeited as a result of the 1976 escape, he was re-sentenced to 20 years and 4 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 years and 4 months. He was officially released in 1993 after choosing to decline parole offered in 1991, and now works as a truck driver.

Adaptations[edit]

The novel Fortress (1980) by Gabrielle Lord was based on the crime. The novel was adapted as 1986 film Fortress.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ October 06, 2007 12:00AM (2007-10-06). "Time Capsule: Entire school kidnapped | The Australian". Theaustralian.news.com.au. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  2. ^ "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". Itsanhonour.gov.au. 1973-01-22. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  3. ^ L. Thompson I Remember, Hyland House, Melbourne, 1989, p.178
  4. ^ "Kidnapper Eastwood sentenced to 21 years jail". The Age. November 8, 1977. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Age 150th". 150.theage.com.au. 1981-05-30. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  6. ^ Remissions of one-third for good behaviour were available on a sentence of imprisonment (excluding sentences for murder or escaping lawful custody) in Victoria until 1990.

References[edit]

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