Michael Anthony Guider (20 October 1950) is an Australian paedophile and serial child molester who was imprisoned on sixty charges of child sexual abuse in 1996. He received an additional sentence in 2002 for the manslaughter of 9 year-old Sydney girl Samantha Knight, who disappeared from Bondi, New South Wales in 1986. He was released from prison on 5 September, 2019, under strict conditions and an extended supervision order.
Michael Guider was born in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He and his mother moved to Sydney in 1952. His mother had an unstable relationship with an army cook who was an alcoholic. A brother, Tim, was born in 1953. The two boys spent time in institutions because their mother was unstable and unable to look after them. Guider later told prison psychologists that he was sexually abused by his mother, and later at the boys' home.
In the 1970s Guider was charged with various offences after setting fire to a shop owned by a woman he had had a relationship with. Guider had worked as a gardener at the Royal North Shore Hospital, and over the years had developed a keen interest in Aboriginal culture and sites around Sydney. He had earned some respect as an amateur expert on the subject and his material had been used and acknowledged in at least one published book.
Guider was arrested in December 1995, after he had fondled two seven-year old girls. One of the girls told her mother, who went to the police. In 1996, he was sentenced to 16 years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of 10 years on no less than sixty charges against eleven children. His usual modus operandi had been to babysit the children of women he knew and sedate them with the sleeping drug Temazepam. He would then molest and photograph them while they were asleep. He received a fixed term of six years and six months' imprisonment in 1999 for 11 further charges against two other children, with the judge ordering that six months of the sentence be served cumulatively.
Guider was placed in conditions of strict protection in Goulburn prison. In spite of this, he was bashed savagely on two occasions. He was admitted to the prison hospital with fractures to his right leg and hand, plus numerous abrasions. One of his ears was almost torn off.
Taking time served in pre-sentence custody into account, Guider was eligible for parole in June 2014. On that occasion, his request for parole was denied, with the result that he still had approximately five years to serve.
Samantha Terese Knight was born Samantha Terese O'Meagher on the 25 March 1977. She lived at Manly with her parents, Tess Knight and Peter O'Meagher, but they divorced at an early stage. Samantha then lived with her mother in Bronte. By 1986, they were living in a block of flats in Imperial Avenue, Bondi. Samantha went missing on 19 August 1986. Despite an intensive campaign, in which posters of her were displayed all over New South Wales, she was never found.
Guider eventually attracted the attention of police who were investigating the disappearance of Samantha, partly because of pressure from Denise Hofman (co-author of Forever Nine), who had worked with Guider on Aboriginal sites around Sydney. Freelance journalist Di Michel, who had introduced Hofman to Guider, had told Hofman how Guider had talked about Samantha Knight in a way that had sounded odd and obsessive, arousing her suspicions. Michel, however, was reluctant to go to the police because she felt she would be informing on a friend. Hofman, therefore, decided she would have to go to the police herself with this information. She duly passed the information on to a detective at Castle Hill police station.
Questioned by police, Guider initially told them that he had only met Samantha Knight a couple of times over the years, but it eventually turned out that he had molested her and two other girls at a house in Raglan Street, Manly, a number of times during 1984 and 1985. After a lengthy investigation, Guider was charged with Knight's murder on 22 February 2001. On 7 June 2001, he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Knight. He claimed that he had drugged her the way he had always drugged his victims, and claimed he had accidentally given her a fatal overdose, saying she regained consciousness and he then gave her a second dose because he did not want her to recognise him.
On 28 August 2002, Guider was sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12 years for manslaughter, to be served cumulatively with his sentence for the child sex offences. Samantha Knight's body has never been found; Guider showed no remorse, and said he could not remember what he did with her body.
Guider's statements about Samantha Knight over the years were contradictory. Initially he said he could remember nothing about what he did with her. Later he said he had buried her in Cooper Park, in the Sydney suburb of Bellevue Hill, but had dug her up later and put her in a skip at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Kirribilli, where he had worked as a gardener at the time.
In March 2003, he told police he had buried Knight in the grounds of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. On 15 May, a dig took place there but nothing was found, in spite of a police sniffer dog reacting positively to soil from the site. The dog's handler said the reaction was as positive as the dogs were capable of showing, and was surprised that nothing was found. He was as sure as he could be that a body had been there. Police believed that Guider had been telling the truth at last, but thought Samantha's remains may have been removed accidentally during the construction of a car park eighteen months after Guider buried her at the site, or that Guider himself may have removed them when he heard the site was going to be dug up.
Renee Aitken was abducted from her home at Narooma, on the south coast of New South Wales, in February 1984. She was five years old. The chief suspect was Brian James Fitzpatrick, who had done time in prison for indecent assault. Fitzpatrick died in a car crash just weeks before he was due to appear at an inquest into Renee's death.
By 2006, Denise Hofman suspected that Michael Guider may have been involved in Renee's disappearance. At the time, Guider was working just two hour's drive from Narooma, in a Canberra suburb. His mug shot was identified by a member of the Aitken family and an important witness in the case. He had clippings about Renee in his scrapbook on missing children, and these clippings came from local papers in Narooma, which implied that he had been in the area. However, police considered that there was insufficient evidence to make it worth following up on Hofman's theory. Denise Hofman drew the attention of police to a sketch by Michael Guider, which depicted a girl with a strong resemblance to Renee. Police viewed the sketch but there were no further developments.
While in prison, Guider continued to pursue his interest in Aboriginal culture and history, writing a number of booklets on the subject. These booklets were sent to various councils in Sydney and held in various local libraries, as well as the State Library of New South Wales. He produced something like sixteen booklets, varying in length from six pages to twenty-eight. He also commenced study of archeology and attained a degree in this field.
Parole and release
Guider was eligible for parole in June 2014, when his minimum term of eighteen years and three months was up, but it was rejected by the State Parole Authority. There were several reasons for this, including "a need for structured post-release plans."
In February 2019, it was reported that Guider was legally due for release in June 2019, but the Attorney General of New South Wales was trying to keep him behind bars. The Government had applied for Guider to be incarcerated for another year. Samantha Knight's mother, Tess, said she wanted Guider to be imprisoned forever, adding that he was one of the most dangerous criminals in New South Wales.
On May 27 2019, the Government applied to the Supreme Court of New South Wales to have Guider kept in prison for the extra year, followed by a five-year extended supervision order. The court was due to rule on whether to place Guider on an interim detention order or an interim supervision order until a final hearing, expected to be held in August. Guider's lawyer said his client had been a model prisoner and had been allowed twenty day-leaves in the community, during which he was escorted by a chaplain. He said that if Guider were released into the community, he would stay in a halfway house attached to Long Bay Prison, and would abide by fifty-six conditions that would be "stricter than any parole."
On June 4, the Supreme Court imposed an interim detention order that would keep Guider in prison for another twenty-eight days, during which time he would be seen by a psychiatrist and a psychologist.
On 20 August, Justice Richard Button ruled that he would decide by 5 September whether Guider should be kept in prison. The Attorney-General, Mark Speakman, was seeking to keep Guider in prison for a further twelve months, with supervision for five years after his release. Guider's lawyer again argued that, if released, his client could stay in a halfway house near Long Bay Prison, with fifty-six conditions that would be stricter than parole. The court heard that Guider had completed fifty-five therapeutic maintenance programs while in prison. The Crown Prosecutor said Guider had declined to take drugs to reduce his sex drive because he thought they might interfere with his heart medication.
On 3 September, the judge ruled that Guider could go free, subject to a large number of restrictions. The Attorney-General was seeking advice on whether it was possible to keep Guider in longer, but he was released on 5 September, subject to a five-year supervision order. His release received saturation media coverage.
When released, Guider had a large tumour in his groin. He had refused to have it treated in prison because he did not trust the prison medical staff. He was expected to have the tumour examined after his release. He was also taking medication for a heart condition. While in prison, he had declined to take drugs to reduce his sex urge because he believed they would interfere with the heart medication.
Block of flats in Bondi where Samantha Knight lived at the time of her death
Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Kirribilli, where Guider told police he had buried Samantha Knight
Castle Cove house where Guider lived in a converted garage at the time of his arrest
- Hofman, Denise; Kidman, John (2013). Forever Nine: The Untold Story of Bondi's Missing Schoolgirl Samantha Knight. Five Mile Press. ISBN 9781743468920.
- Guider, Michael. Michael Guider papers, 1972-1980. Manuscripts, Oral History and Pictures Catalogue: State Library New South Wales. Call: MLMSS 3702, Ref: 891742.
- Guider, Michael. Michael Guider - further papers. Manuscripts, Oral History and Pictures Catalogue: State Library New South Wales. Call: MLMSS 3702 ADD-ON 2080, Ref: 133468.
- Guider, Michael. Michael Guider - further papers concerning Aboriginal history, 1997-1998, 2003-2004. Manuscripts, Oral History and Pictures Catalogue: State Library New South Wales. Call: MLMSS 3702 ADD-ON 2184, Ref: 153896.
- Aboriginal Sites of the Parramatta River Catchment Area. 1996.
- Aboriginal History of Concord Municipality. 1997.
- Aboriginal History of Burwood Municipality. 1997.
- Aboriginal History of Auburn Municipality. 1998.
- Aboriginal History of Drummoyne. 1998.
- Aboriginal History of Leichhardt Municipality. 1998.
- Aboriginal History of Ashfield Municipality. 1998.
- Aboriginal History of Marrickville Municipality. 1998.
- Aboriginal History of Randwick Municipality. 1998.
- Aboriginal History of Rockdale. 1998.
- Aboriginal History of Strathfield Municipality. 1998.
- Aboriginal History of Waverley Municipality. 1998.
- Aboriginal History of Parramatta. 2003.
- Aboriginal History of Ryde. 2003.
- Aboriginal History of Baulkham Hills Shire. 2004.
- Aboriginal History of the City of Canada Bay. 2004.
- The Glebe, 13 July 1994
- Daily Telegraph, 29 Sep 1996
- Daily Telegraph, 1 Oct 1996
- Sydney Morning Herald, 4 Aug 1999
- Daily Telegraph, 22 Feb 2001
- Daily Telegraph, 23rd Feb 2001
- Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Feb 2001
- Daily Telegraph, 25 Feb 2001
- Daily Telegraph, 9 Apr 2002
- Daily Telegraph, 10 Apr 2002
- Daily Telegraph, 19 Apr 2002
- Daily Telegraph, 27 Apr 2002
- Sydney Morning Herald, 8 Jun 2002
- Daily Telegraph, 29 Aug 2002
- Sydney Morning Herald, 29 Aug 2002
- The Sun-Herald, 26 Nov 2006
- Sydney Morning Herald, 4 August 1999, page 12
- "The deadly silence that doomed Samantha". Sydney Morning Herald. 8 June 2002. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Sydney Morning Herald, 4 August 1999, page 1
- The Glebe, 13 July 1994, page 3
- Paton, Neil (1987). Walks in Sydney Harbour National Park. Kangaroo Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-86417-130-6. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Paton, Neil (2017). "MG". Tripod.com. Archived from the original on 22 June 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
- Daily Telegraph, 1 October 1996, page 3
- Sydney Morning Herald, 2 November 2009, p.3
- Forever Nine, p.141
- Cornford, Philip (12 July 2003). "Gone forever: Sam's grave yields only more mystery". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- Cornford, Philip (11 April 2002). "Samantha Knight stalked before disappearing, court told". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- Daily Telegraph, 29 September 1996, page 1
- Hofman, Denise; Kidman, John (2013). Forever Nine: The Untold Story of Bondi's Missing Schoolgirl. Scoresby, Victoria: The Five Mile Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-74346-706-0.
- Daily Telegraph, 23 February 2001, page 4
- Cornford, Philip (29 August 2002). "Killer's silence leaves chilling doubts". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- Forever Nine, p.86
- Australian missing persons register
- That's Life magazine, pp. 12–13, 14 April 2014
- Forever Nine, pp. 360–361
- Australian Missing Persons Register
- State Library of New South Wales
- Barlass, Tim (18 May 2014). "Sex predator who killed Samantha Knight denied parole". Sun-Herald. Sydney.
- "Michael Guider, killer of Bondi schoolgirl Samantha Knight, 'should never be released'". News.com.au. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
- "Paedophile Michael Guider to stay behind bars — for now". News.com.au. 13 April 2017.
- Daily Telegraph, p.17, 2019-2-21
- Daily Telegraph, 28 May 2019, p.4
- Sydney Morning Herald
- Daily Telegraph, 2019-8-21, p.18
- Daily Telegraph, p.4, 2019-9-4
- Daily Telegraph, 2019-9-7, p.11
- Daily Telegraph, 2019-8-21, p.18
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Michael Guider and Samantha Knight.|