Strathfield massacre

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Strathfield massacre
Wade Frankum.jpg
Wade Frankum
Location Strathfield
Coordinates 33°52′22″S 151°05′35″E / 33.8729°S 151.0931°E / -33.8729; 151.0931Coordinates: 33°52′22″S 151°05′35″E / 33.8729°S 151.0931°E / -33.8729; 151.0931
Date 17 August 1991
Approximately 3:30-3:40pm (GMT+10)
Target Strathfield Plaza
Attack type
Spree shooting
Weapons Knife, Norinco SKS
Deaths 8 (including the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrator Wade John Frankum
Motive Unknown

The Strathfield massacre was a shooting rampage in Strathfield, Sydney, Australia, on 17 August 1991. The shooter was Wade Frankum, who killed himself as police arrived at the scene. The incident left eight dead and six wounded.


Wade Frankum was born in 1958 and had worked at various occupations including as a retail assistant. In the apartment where Frankum lived alone,[1] police found a large collection of violent literature and video copies of violent films. One of his books was a well-thumbed copy of American Psycho and although there is no direct evidence that the controversial novel had inspired Frankum, a number of suggestions that it had done so were made in newspapers[citation needed]. American Psycho has been condemned as misogynistic because it features many gruesome murders of women, and some thought it significant that five of the seven people Frankum killed were women.[citation needed] Frankum also owned a copy of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Investigators suggested that both his reading and viewing habits contributed to this motivation for the shooting.[2]


At around 1:00 p.m., 33-year-old Frankum went to the Strathfield Plaza, a shopping mall. He sat in a café called The Coffee Pot, where he drank a number of cups of coffee.

At approximately 3:30 p.m., apparently without provocation, Frankum pulled a large knife from an army surplus duffel bag and repeatedly stabbed one of two teenage girls who were sitting behind him, killing the girl.[3]

Leaving the knife in the body of the girl, he pulled a Chinese-made SKS semi-automatic rifle out of his duffel bag and shot around the café, killing several more people. He then shot the café's owner dead and fled into the main area of the mall, where he killed his last victim.

Frankum ran into the rooftop car park and held a car owner at gunpoint, demanding that she take him to Enfield, a nearby suburb.[3] Before the woman could start her car, police began to arrive on the scene with Constable Darren Stewart to arrive first. He was shot at in his police car by Frankum from the car park rooftop, Const Stewart ran through the Strathfield shopping centre to engage Frankum but upon arriving at the carpark rooftop Frankum shot numerous rounds into the door leading to the carpark pinning down Const Stewart, Frankum finally turned the gun on himself. Hearing more approaching sirens, Frankum apologized to the woman and then got out of the car, knelt on the ground, and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.


Frankum's shooting spree had lasted 10 minutes; he had killed seven people and injured six,[3] none of them personally known to him.


  • Roberta Armstrong
  • Robertson Kan Hock Voon
  • Patricia Rowe
  • Carole Dickinson
  • Joyce Nixon
  • Rachell Milburn
  • George Mavris.[4]


The massacre brought up the issue of gun control in Australia, as did the Port Arthur massacre perpetrated by Martin Bryant five years later.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (18 August 1991). A Masked Gunman Kills 6 at a Mall in Australia, The New York Times
  2. ^ Lowe, Barry (1995). Media Mythologies. University of New South Wales Press. p. 65. ISBN 0868400068. Retrieved 14 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Brenden Hills (12 August 2008). "Strathfield Massacre". News Local (News Community Media). Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  4. ^ (17 August 2011). Strathfield massacre victims remembered.

Further reading[edit]

  • Milton, R (1993). Profile of a Mass Killer : Wade Frankum at Strathfield Plaza. Blackstone Press, Bondi Junction, NSW. ISBN 1-875114-26-2.

External links[edit]