Peter James Knight
|Peter James Knight|
|Born||1 January 1954|
Knight led a hermit's life in the years leading up to the incident. He lived in a small camp in the suburbs, 'off the grid' without a telephone or electricity. He did, however, frequently attend anti-abortion rallies.
On 16 July 2001 he walked into the East Melbourne Fertility Clinic (a private abortion provider), carrying a rifle. He also had 16 litres of kerosene, 3 lighters, torches, 30 gags, and a handwritten note that read "We regret to advise that as a result of a fatal accident involving some members of staff, we have been forced to cancel all appointments today".
Knight later stated that he intended to massacre everyone in the clinic, and attack all Melbourne abortion clinics. He developed home made mouth gags and door jambs to restrain all patients and staff inside a clinic while he doused them with 16 litres of kerosene. He shot 44 year old Stephen Gordon Rogers, a security guard, in the chest, killing him. Staff and clients overpowered him soon after. He intended to massacre the 15 staff and 26 patients at the clinic by burning them alive.
For many weeks after his arrest Knight refused to answer questions or cooperate with police investigations. Police did not know his identity until 3 months after his arrest, even though his photographs were published in major newspapers.
On 19 November 2002 Knight was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 23 years. He will be in his 70s before being eligible for parole. He is currently serving in Barwon Prison, Lara, Victoria, Australia.
This incident is the only killing by an anti-abortion activist in Australia's history.
- Paul Anderson (11 March 2014). "Deluded pro-life crusader Peter James Knight kills guard, but wanted more dead after he brought his gun and hatred to an abortion clinic in Melbourne". Herald Sun.
- Jamie Berry (20 Nov 2002). "'Remorseless' recluse gets life". The Age.
- "Anti-abortion killer jailed for life". The Age. 19 November 2002. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
- "Man Convicted in Deadly Abortion Clinic Shooting". Los Angeles Times. 24 April 2002. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Supreme court transcript: R v Knight (2004) VSCA 48 (25 March 2004)
- Supreme court transcript: R v Knight (2002) VSC 498 (19 November 2002)
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