Murder of Ebony Simpson
|Date||19 August 1992|
|Location||Bargo, New South Wales, Australia|
|Cause||Abduction, rape and asphyxiation, caused by drowning|
|Death(s)||Ebony Jane Simpson|
(aged 9 years)
|Burial||Ebony Simpson at Find a Grave|
|Convicted||Andrew Peter Garforth|
|Sentence||Life imprisonment; no possibility of parole|
The murder of Ebony Jane Simpson occurred on 19 August 1992 in Bargo, New South Wales, Australia. Aged nine years, Simpson was abducted, raped, and murdered by asphyxiation when Andrew Peter Garforth (born 5 August 1963) drowned Simpson. Garforth pleaded guilty to the crimes and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Abduction and murder
On 19 August 1992, Simpson disembarked from her school bus. Her mother, who usually met her at the bus stop, was busy that day and had arranged for Simpson’s older brother to meet her and accompany her home, after his bus reached the bus stop. But his bus arrived later than usual and Simpson was not there. Simpson, not seeing her brother at the bus stop decided to start the walk home, which was only a short distance away, and see him at home.
With her house in sight, Simpson passed a parked car that appeared to be broken down. The car’s driver, Garforth, grabbed her, threw her in the boot and drove off to a remote dam. Once there, he bound her with wire, raped her, weighted her schoolbag and threw her into the dam's reservoir where she drowned.
A team of over 200 volunteers, including Garforth, and 100 police searched for Simpson.
Garforth confessed to the crime after police detained him, showing no remorse for his actions during the confession and court sessions. He pleaded guilty to the murder of Simpson and was sentenced in 1993 to life imprisonment. Justice Peter Newman refused to fix a non-parole period and ordered that Garforth's papers be marked "never to be released".
In discussing the meaning of 'life imprisonment' when Garforth appealed his sentence the Judges said, "[T]he community interest in retribution, deterrence, protection of children and the community in such situations may so strongly outweigh any regard for rehabilitation that a life sentence becomes the only option."
In 1995, Garforth lodged several claims for victims' compensation via his lawyers, relating to alleged assaults which occurred in prison. The claims were later withdrawn after public outrage. Garforth appealed to the High Court of Australia, but he was refused special leave. It is one of two similar cases which were refused special leave.
Simpson’s parents, Christine and Peter Simpson, joined forces with Grace and Garry Lynch, the parents of New South Wales 1986 murder victim Anita Cobby, to create the Homicide Victims Support Group.
Following the 1988 state election, the NSW Government introduced legislation in 1989 and 1990 broadly aimed at truth in sentencing. Garforth's case was often cited as a test case for the application of the principle of life sentencing and security classification.
- Murder of Janine Balding
- Murder of Lauren Barry & Nichole Collins
- Murder of Virginia Morse
- Murder of Sian Kingi
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