Leonard John Fraser
27 June 1951
|Died||1 January 2007 (aged 55)|
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Other names||The Rockhampton Rapist|
|Criminal penalty||5 x Life imprisonment + 25 years|
Span of crimes
|28 December 1998–22 April 1999|
Fraser was born in Ingham, Queensland. He had a daughter in the 1970s with a woman named Pearl. He was also noted for having below average intelligence, to the point where he had trouble writing his own name.
Before a life sentence on 7 September 2000 for the abduction, rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl, Keyra Steinhardt, in Rockhampton, Queensland, Leonard Fraser had spent almost 20 of the preceding 22 years behind bars for the rape of other women. He even raped a terminally ill cancer patient, with whom he had been living in early 1997. He was subsequently charged with four murders. Police found many trophies of his victims in his flat and ponytails from three different women, which could not be traced to any of his known victims.
Fraser originally confessed to five murders in an apparent deal with police to avoid general population in prison, but one of those victims was 14-year-old Natasha Ryan, who was found to be alive and living secretly with her boyfriend in a nearby town after being listed as a missing person for five years. Although there was an obvious inconsistency with his confessions, his defence did not file for a mistrial. Nor did his defence object to the prosecution using the same confession made in custody, which included the Ryan confession, for three other victims whose remains were found. The Ryan 'murder' was also based on testimony from a fellow prisoner who alleged that Fraser drew detailed maps showing where Ms. Ryan's remains could be located. The judge in the case, Justice Brian Ambrose, heavily criticised the media for commenting on the value of confessions to crimes made to police under duress or to other prisoners while in custody, which might have affected the trial.
In 2003 Fraser was sentenced to three indefinite prison terms for the murders of Beverley Leggo and Sylvia Benedetti, and the manslaughter of Julie Turner in the Rockhampton area in 1998 and 1999. At his trial, the judge described him as a sexual predator who was a danger to the community and his fellow inmates.
Fraser was being held at the Wolston Correctional Centre and, after complaining of chest pains, he was taken to a secure section of the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Woolloongabba, on 26 December 2006, where he subsequently died of a heart attack on 1 January 2007.
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- "Leonard John Fraser". Crime Investigation Australia. Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
- Doneman, Paula (June 2006). Things a killer would know: The true story of Leonard Fraser. Allen & Unwin. p. 240. ISBN 1-74114-231-8.