Caroline Grills

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Caroline Grills
Born Caroline Mickelson
Balmain, New South Wales, Australia[1]
Died 6th October, 1960 (aged 71-72), Randwick, New South Wales)[1]
Cause of death Peritonitis from ruptured gastric ulcer
Other names "Aunt Thally" whilst imprisoned
Criminal penalty Life imprisonment
Victims 4 (3 attempted murders)
Span of killings
Country Australia
State(s) New South Wales[1][2]
Date apprehended
April 1953

Caroline "Auntie Carrie" Grills (nee Mickelson) ( born c.1888, Balmain, NSW, Australia – 6th October 1960), was an Australian serial killer.


Grills was born to George Michelson and Mary (nee Preiers) in Balmain, Sydney and married on 22nd Aprll, 1908 to Richard Grills, and had 6 children, five daughters and a son. She first became a murder suspect in 1947 after the deaths of four family members: her 87-year-old stepmother Christine Mickelson; relatives by marriage Angelina Thomas and John Lundberg; and sister in law Mary Anne Mickelson. Authorities tested tea she had given to two additional family members (Christine Downey and John Downey of Redfern) on 13 April 1953, and detected the common household rat poison, thallium.

Grills, who was a short dumpy woman who wore thick rimmed dark glasses, commonly served her friends and in-laws tea, cakes and biscuits, and lived in Gladesville, after the death of her father in 1948. She appeared in court charged with four murders and three attempted murders (the third being Eveline Lundberg, Christine Downey's mother) in October 1953. She was convicted on 15 October 1953 and sentenced to death, but her sentence was later changed to life in prison. She became affectionately known as "Aunt Thally" to other inmates of Sydney's Long Bay prison. In October 1960, she was rushed to the Prince Henry Hospital at Randwick where she died from peritonitis[1] from a ruptured gastric ulcer. In the months that followed more cases of thallium poisoning were stated, including notably, prominent Australian Rugby League footballer Bobby Lulham

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Garton, Stephen Grills, Caroline (1888–1960 in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, ANU 1996. Accessed 28 April 2012.
  2. ^ "Murder, tried and true". Sydney Morning Herald. 11 February 2003. Retrieved 2008-01-16.