This excerpt is from a Seven News Special marking 30 years since the capture and arrest of Perth serial killer, Eric Edgar Cooke. It looks back on a confession he made prior to his hanging for a murder for which another man had been convicted.
In fact, two of Cooke's murders led to false convictions, which have since been overturned. John Button (aged 19) was convicted of manslaughter in the 1963 hit-and-run murder of his girlfriend Rosemary Anderson (17) after the pair argued and Anderson decided to walk home. Another young man, Darryl Beamish (18), was initially sentenced to death for the 1959 stabbing murder of Melbourne socialite and chocolate heiress, Jillian Brewer (22), in her home in Cottesloe. Cooke confessed to both murders before his execution in 1964.
The crimes of Eric Edgar Cooke, along with other shocking events of the 1960s, caused a shift in the way Australian's led their lives. In the early years of the decade, people would often leave doors to their homes open, cars unlocked and children unsupervised as they thought their community was safe.
After Cooke's murder spree, the disappearance of the Beaumont children, the Wanda Beach murders and the Graeme Thorne kidnapping, it was considered that Australia lost its innocence and the days of living a carefree existence were over.