John Cribb

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John Ernest Cribb
Born (1950-08-05)5 August 1950
Died 21 February 2018(2018-02-21) (aged 67)
Goulburn Correctional Centre, Goulburn, New South Wales (died while incarcerated)
Criminal charge Murder x 3, Rape x 3, Kidnapping x 2, False imprisonment x 2, Armed robbery x 9 , Escaping lawful custody
Criminal penalty 3 x life imprisonment + 45 years
Criminal status Deceased

John Ernest Cribb (5 August 1950 – 21 February 2018) was an Australian triple murderer from Sydney, New South Wales, who at the time of his death was serving three consecutive sentences of life imprisonment plus 45 years for the rape and murder of Valda Connell and the murder of her children, Sally and Damien, at Swansea, New South Wales, on 11 August 1978 [1] and numerous other offences.[2]

Criminal background[edit]

Cribb was on parole in August 1978, after having served six years of a nine-year sentence for armed robbery. He broke into the Connell family's Baulkham Hills home. When he came out at about 3 pm, Valda Connell, 39, had just come home in her car with two of her six children, Sally (aged 10) and Damien (aged 4). He kidnapped them and drove north. He later rang Valda's husband, Paul, from a phonebox and said he had been having an affair with Valda, who had now run away with him to Queensland.

Police initially believed Cribb's story. The family heard nothing until they were on their way to church on Sunday morning; Paul Connell and his other children learned the bodies of Valda, Sally and Damien had been found in a car boot near Swansea. Cribb had raped Valda and then killed her and the children with a knife, later being arrested after a ten-hour siege.


After his arrest, Cribb was placed in a ward for the criminally insane at Morisset Hospital, from where he escaped one month later with convicted armed robber William Munday, who was serving a 28-year sentence.

Before they were recaptured, they had committed eight armed robberies, multiple assaults, and had kidnapped two 17-year-old schoolgirls from outside the Hakoah Club in Bondi, taken them to a hotel, held them hostage, and repeatedly sexually assaulted them over a 35-hour period; Cribb later sent the girls Christmas cards from prison. Both men were sentenced in early 1979 to an additional 30 years for the crime spree, while Cribb was sentenced later that year to a further 12 years for rape and three consecutive life terms for the murders.

Munday was sentenced in 1983 to a consecutive sentence of life imprisonment for his involvement in the murder of fellow inmate Stephen Shipley at Parramatta Jail in 1981, and died of a heart attack in the exercise yard of Maitland Prison in 1993.

Applications for parole[edit]

Cribb applied for a non-parole period to be set in 1993, with the application heard by Justice Peter Newman. Cribb had become a Christian in 1982, and several psychiatrists and psychologists reported he was a reformed character, as did a number of Christian ministers, prison visitors (Cribb married one of his visitors, who was now gravely ill) and prison officers. One Christian minister said Cribb would work with him if he got out of jail.

However, a letter Cribb had written to the court came to light, claiming he had not raped Valda at all, and that the murders had been "instigated" by her refusal to admit Sally was his daughter. Justice Newman found these claims to be "grotesque lies" that contradicted the claim Cribb had reformed, and represented "an attempt to manipulate a situation where the prisoner might obtain his release" and a "lack of contrition".

They indicated that "well-meaning persons from the community who have supported his application have probably been duped by the applicant's claims of reformation", and Newman dismissed the application. Cribb withdrew a second application for a non-parole period to be set in 2008, and it was expected that Cribb should die in custody.


Cribb died in Goulburn, New South Wales at Goulburn Correctional Centre, a 75-bed supermax prison with the highest level of security in Australia, on 21 February 2018, at the age of 67. Because Cribb died while in custody, his death will be investigated by the NSW police as well as the NSW coroner.[3][4]


  1. ^ "A never-ending crime". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2018. 
  2. ^ Cribb v R [2008] NSWSC 265 (7 March 2008), Supreme Court (NSW, Australia)
  3. ^ "Goulburn Correctional Centre complex - NSW Environment & Heritage". Retrieved 31 March 2018. 
  4. ^ "Murderer John Ernest Cribb dies in Goulburn Correctional Centre". Goulburn Post. 21 February 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2018.