In this riveting episode of Pushing Up Lilies, I journey into the dark and twisted tale of Katherine Knight, a name that will forever be etched in infamy in Australian criminal history. Known as the first woman in Australia to receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the gruesome murder of her partner John Price, Knight's story is one of unparalleled horror and fascination. Join me as I meticulously unravel the layers of this chilling case, exploring the shocking details of her crime and the sinister motives that drove her to commit an act so heinous that it defies comprehension. We delve deep into Knight's troubled past, her obsession with violence, and the torment that she unleashed on her victim. This episode is a harrowing reminder of the darkest corners of the human psyche, leaving us with an indelible question: What drives an individual to commit such unspeakable acts? * Listener discretion is strongly advised.
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0:06 Welcome to Pushing Up Lilies.
0:08 I'm your host, Julie Matson.
0:10 Pushing Up Lilies is a weekly true crime podcast with spine tingling, unusual and terrifyingly true stories from my perspective as a forensic death investigator and a sexual assault nurse examiner.
0:24 Do I have some stories for you?
0:26 Are you ready?
0:30 I wonder if any of y'all have heard the story of Katherine Knight?
0:34 She was the first woman in Australia to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
0:42 Now she murdered her partner, John Price, and this happened in February of 2000.
0:49 She stabbed him, skinned him, and put him on a meat hook and then she cooked his head and parts of his body with the intention of feeding them to his own adult Children.
1:04 Now, she was stopped by the police after a welfare check was requested after prices didn't show up for work.
1:11 We get a lot of welfare checks in this business.
1:15 A lot of people don't show up for work and their coworkers find it unusual.
1:22 Their boss says that it's not like them to not be there even situations where neighbors you know, are used to seeing someone get their mail on a regular basis or go to the doctor on a certain day and that doesn't happen.
1:39 And so they get concerned and call the police and ask for the police to go check on them.
1:45 It's not unusual for the police to go buy people's houses and check on them when they don't show up for work.
1:52 But it is unusual for them to find their head in a pot on the stovetop.
2:00 Anyway, Katherine was raised in a very dysfunctional family.
2:06 Her parents had four boys and then her mom had an adulterous relationship with a coworker of her husband's.
2:18 It was her husband's coworker.
2:21 The mother and her new boyfriend Ken received a lot of backlash in the community which happened frequently back in the day.
2:30 And so they were forced to move away.
2:33 The two had four additional Children including twin girls and Katherine was one of the twin daughters in 1959 when Katherine was four.
2:47 Her mom's ex-husband died, and his two older sons moved in with Barbara and Ken.
2:55 Ken who is Katherine's real dad was a violent alcoholic.
3:01 He would rape Katherine's mother up to 10 times a day.
3:07 A lot of people may say, and I want to talk a little about this too that they were married.
3:14 And when I was working actively as a sexual assault nurse, I will tell you that it was not unusual to have a married woman, or a married man come in claiming to have been raped by their spouse.
3:28 And that is possible because you can still say no, even when you're married and if you do, even only one time and someone forces sex on you, it is right.
3:40 Anyway, I wanted to throw that in because a lot of people don't understand that concept, but you can be raped by your spouse.
3:47 Anyway, Katherine had to hear her mother's stories about being raped by her dad who was this violent alcoholic.
3:56 You know, the mom talked about it a lot.
3:59 And then Katherine later claimed that she had been raped by several family members until she was 11 years old.
4:07 Now, I don't know who these family members are, but that was apparently largely confirmed by people in the family.
4:17 Now, when she was in school, she was largely thought of as a bully.
4:22 And when she was in high school, she assaulted a boy.
4:26 She was once actually injured by a teacher.
4:30 And that turned out to be a self-defense issue when she wasn't having her fits of rage.
4:37 She was a model student.
4:40 She kind of went back and forth.
4:43 She left her school at the age of 15, but at that time, she could not read or write, and she got a job at a clothing factory.
4:52 Later, she got what she called her dream job as a meat cutter at a slaughterhouse.
4:59 Now, I don't know many women whose dream job is a meat cutter at a slaughterhouse.
5:04 But ok, she's had a different life.
5:07 We'll give her that.
5:08 She hung her knives though, her knife set that she used at work over her bed.
5:14 They would be handy if she needed them.
5:16 That's not weird.
5:17 I don't know how many people hang hives over their bed.
5:21 But I find that very different.
5:24 In 1973 she met David Kellett.
5:29 Now, Kellett was a heavy drinker due to trauma because he previously worked for the railroad.
5:36 His best friend was killed in front of him in a railway accident.
5:40 He also had rescued Children in a train versus bus accident which killed six Children, drank a lot because of being exposed to those traumas.
5:51 He lost his job to poor performance.
5:54 And then after that, he went to work at the slaughterhouse, which is where Katherine worked and that's where the two met.
6:02 Katherine was well known for threatening anyone who upset her as we know she was a bully in high school.
6:11 She isn't an easy person to get along with it.
6:14 Sounds like she married Kellett in 1974 at the wedding.
6:20 Katherine's mother told him that she had a screw loose somewhere, not to think of cheating on her because she would kill him.
6:30 That threw up some red flags.
6:31 Of course, Kellett was like, oh my God.
6:33 I mean, you can imagine if your soon to be mother-in-law tells you that your soon to be wife has a screw loose that's going to throw up some red flags.
6:44 Katherine did try to strangle him on their wedding night because he fell asleep after only having sex three times.
6:52 Here's your clue.
6:53 You know, maybe mother-in-law was right in May of 76.
6:59 After their daughter, Melissa was born, Kellett left Katherine for another woman.
7:04 And after that happened, she kind of lost it and was seen violently pushing her newborn daughter, Melissa down the street in a stroller.
7:16 She was admitted to ST Elmo's psychiatric institute and was diagnosed with postpartum depression.
7:23 Now, after being released, she placed her baby on railroad tracks right before a train was due to come and then she stole an ax and threatened to kill several people.
7:36 The baby was rescued though by a homeless man minutes before the train came and Katherine was arrested again and taken back to ST Elmo's and released the following day, checked herself out the following day.
7:51 She obviously was very violent, and she burned Kellett's clothes and hit him in the head with a frying pan after he came home late from a dart competition and he had to be treated, I'm laughing but it's not funny, but he actually had to be treated for a skull fracture and he later dropped the charges against her.
8:14 Kellett, you know, had left her for this other woman and Katherine was on a mission to find him.
8:20 She slashed a woman's face and demanded a ride so that she could find Kellett.
8:26 They stopped at a gas station and the woman was able to get away.
8:30 And then at that time, she took a boy hostage.
8:34 And this was kind of weird.
8:36 Ok, the police attacked her with brooms, brooms.
8:40 Like when did the police start carrying brooms?
8:42 I'm not sure, it’s how the story reads.
8:46 Not sure where the brooms came from, but this lady was certifiable, and I don't know.
8:52 There's that, but she was taken to a psych hospital again.
8:57 And while she was at the psych hospital, she told the nurses that she planned to kill the mechanic at the service station where she took the boy hostage because he'd been the one who repaired Kellett's car and allowed him to get away from her.
9:13 She was going to kill Kellett and his mom.
9:17 He left his girlfriend and moved back in with his mother.
9:21 Katherine was released from the psych hospital in August of 1976 to the care of her mother-in-law and Kellett.
9:31 Basically they're back together.
9:34 She's living with him and his mom on March 6th of 1980 they had another kid, they had a daughter, Natasha.
9:44 And in 84 she left Kelly again and moved in with her mother.
9:50 At that time, she had injured her back at work and went on disability and later moved into government housing.
9:57 Now, in 86 she met a 38-year-old miner named David Saunders and he moved in with her, but he kept his apartment, a part of him wasn't quite sure.
10:14 I always wondered why people did that.
10:15 But in situations like this, I completely understand he kept his apartment, and she became jealous because she didn't know what he was doing when he wasn't around, and he moved in and out.
10:30 You know, every time they had an argument, he, I'm going to my apartment, then he'd come back.
10:34 It was a back-and-forth thing.
10:36 In 1987 she slit the throat of his puppy in front of him and then knocked the dog unconscious with the frying pan.
10:45 And then she told him this is what's going to happen to you if you have an affair.
10:52 I mean, this woman's nuts who would want to be around anybody like that.
10:56 I don't know anybody.
10:57 She had a third daughter with Saunders whose name was Sarah in 1989 maybe things were getting better.
11:06 But Saunders put a deposit on a home.
11:09 Oddly enough, she decorated the house with animal skins and horns and machetes and pitchforks.
11:17 Like how many women do that?
11:19 You know, men want to hang deer heads and antlers and all these things, but not very many women are going to decorate a house with animal skins.
11:31 I get that cheetah.
11:33 Hey, but horns machetes and pitchforks, not very many women are going to do that anyway.
11:40 She hit him in the face with an iron and stabbed him in the abdomen with scissors.
11:48 She cut up his clothes and he went into hiding.
11:51 He's like peace out.
11:54 I am not living in this, later.
11:58 He did show up, he wanted to see his daughter.
12:02 She flipped the story around a little bit and told the police she was afraid of him.
12:08 They ended up issuing a violence order against him.
12:12 She's moving on. In 1991 she became pregnant by John Chillingsworth, who was also a coworker, and she had a son named Eric and now they were married for three years until she left him for another man named John Prost.
12:31 I'm sure there were some issues when she was married to John.
12:36 Although those are not covered much in my research, maybe it was a normal happy marriage until it wasn't, but I'm not quite sure but it did last three years, and she did have a son when she left John for John Price.
12:57 John Price was the father of three when he and Katherine began their affair.
13:04 Now his marriage had ended in 1988.
13:07 He had the three Children, but the two older Children lived with him.
13:12 His Children actually liked Katherine and things were good except for occasional violent arguments which is when they got really bad.
13:23 In 1998 they began fighting over his refusal to marry her.
13:30 At this point, they're together and he did not want to get married.
13:35 He was fired after that time; she had taken pictures of stuff that he brought home from work that had been discarded at work.
13:45 That's the reason that he was fired.
13:48 She provided those photos to his employer making it look like he stole stuff.
13:54 They did get back together but they did not move in together.
13:59 In February of 2000, Katherine stabbed him in the chest.
14:05 He got a restraining order and told coworkers that if he ever didn't come to work, it was because Katherine murdered him.
14:14 Now, I've heard people say this before in other ways like if I am dead and it looks like a suicide.
14:22 It's not because I would never hurt myself.
14:25 Someone murdered me.
14:26 People tell me that all the time, but he felt like something could happen to him.
14:33 That's what he told his coworkers.
14:34 If I'm ever not here and you ever find me dead, Katherine did it.
14:39 He went back home to Katherine out of fear that she would harm his Children.
14:44 I'm supposing that his Children were still there with her when he got there.
14:49 She had sent the Children to a friend's house for a sleepover.
14:54 Now he went to a neighbor's house, hung out with them, and then came home and went to bed at around 11, she shows up basically like nothing's wrong watches TV, takes a shower, the two have sex and then he zonks out.
15:10 At 6 a.m. John had not shown up for work and a coworker came over with a neighbor and knocked on the window and saw blood.
15:23 When the police came over, Katherine was found unconscious after swallowing a large number of pills, she had stabbed price with a butcher knife while he was sleeping.
15:35 He had woken up and she chased him throughout the house, and he died after bleeding out.
15:42 Now, she later took $1000 out of his bank account that day.
15:48 His autopsy report said that he had been stabbed 37 times over the front and back of the body several hours later.
15:58 She had stabbed him, gone to the bank and then came back home.
16:05 She skinned him and hung him from a meat hook.
16:08 She cooked parts of his body.
16:11 She put baked potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, beetroot zucchini cabbage and squash in with the meat in a pan.
16:23 She was preparing to serve his body parts to his Children.
16:28 It was believed that she attempted to eat it but was unable to.
16:33 His head was found in a pot filled with vegetables.
16:37 Now at the time, the police were there for the welfare check when they found Katherine unresponsive, the pot was still warm.
16:45 There was a note left stating that she was getting him back for raping her daughter.
16:51 She initially pled guilty to manslaughter, which was rejected and then she pled not guilty in 2001.
17:01 She changed to a guilty plea after they did a psych evaluation.
17:06 Now, her legal team had planned to defend her by claiming that she had amnesia.
17:13 I mean, come on and disassociation because she had had so much trauma in her childhood after, you know, her mom was raped and talked to her about it and caused her to be a bully and all this stuff.
17:30 That's what her legal team was using to defend her.
17:33 Basically, her psych evaluation did reveal that she had borderline personality disorder, but still she refused to accept responsibility.
17:45 This lady was violent.
17:48 She was a bully.
17:50 She almost tortured every man she was with, I'm sure her Children are completely traumatized.
17:58 She showed complete lack of remorse.
18:01 The judge didn't like that at all, and she was sentenced to life in prison.
18:07 And now later in 06, her team of attorneys decided that that was too severe, but the appeal was dismissed.
18:19 Katherine is currently imprisoned at the Silver water Women's Correctional Center in New South Wales.
18:29 She was born October 24th of 1955.
18:34 She is 67 years old, and she is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
18:45 This goes to show you that men can be abused by their spouses or girlfriends, and I know, that's kind of misunderstood sometimes because I believe in general, men are viewed to be the stronger sex, although they're not.
19:06 But you don't see it as often, I think.
19:11 But I believe there are a lot of men who are abused by their spouses, and we would never know, like we would be completely surprised if we knew that their spouse talked to them the way they did or actually hit them all the time or verbally abuse them.
19:27 But it does happen.
19:29 All these men that she was married to just imagine what they were going through.
19:35 That's kind of crazy to think.
19:37 That's something that we sometimes forget is a possibility.
19:42 A lot of men are of the mindset.
19:44 You know that no matter what their wives do to them to hurt them, they're not going to retaliate because that's how they were raised.
19:51 They were raised not to touch a woman, not to hit a woman and not to be disrespectful.
19:56 Many times they live in that environment, and they don't ever do anything about it until eventually they're forced to leave because they don't want to end up in jail.
20:06 That's something about this story that got to me is that sometimes we forget that that's a possibility.
20:13 Also, if someone does mention to you that they think someone's trying to kill them and that that might have happened if they didn't show up for work, like take that for what it is because I've had a lot of people say that before and it turned out to be true.
20:30 I just found this story a little bit different because it does shed some light on that fact that men can be abused and on the fact that you can be raped by your spouse.
20:43 Those are a couple of things that are widely misunderstood, but very often happen.
20:50 Anyway, she is, what did I say?
20:53 She is 67 years old and still in prison.
20:57 She will never get out.
20:59 And that's a good thing because it sounds like she was certifiably crazy.
21:05 And I can't imagine how her Children lived through all that without having issues themselves.
21:15 With that being said, our next episode is going to be on November 1st, so October will be over, which is so hard to believe.
21:25 Hope everyone has an amazing Halloween.
21:28 I look forward to talking to y'all next week.
21:32 Thank you so much for joining me today on Pushing Up Lilies.
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21:46 Thanks again for spending your time with me and be sure to visit me at PushingUpLilies.com for merchandise and past episodes.