TV SERIES EXPLORES THE CRIMES THAT SHOOK AUSTRALIA
As shocking as a horror film and indeed the inspiration for one, the Snowtown murders are Australia’s worst serial killer case.
Also known as the bodies in the barrels murders, the depraved acts of John Bunting and his partners in crime are the stuff of nightmares.
Journalist Matt Doran sheds new light on the infamous case in season three of Foxtel’s Crimes That Shook Australia.
Long before true crime became a hit TV and podcast genre, Doran was working as a young crime reporter in Adelaide, where many of the murders actually took place.
“One of my first crime reporting roles was at Channel 10 way back in the day. I cut my teeth in the crime space working in Adelaide,” he says. “It’s one of those places where unfortunately there’s no shortage of crime. I’ve got some good police contacts in South Australia.”
Those contacts helped Doran and the production team secure a world exclusive to air the footage filmed by the police as they entered the infamous Snowtown bank vault for the first time.
“A lot of people often ask me ‘what’s the point in retelling crimes of this nature that are already out there?’ But there are fresh perspectives,” he says.
“For instance, we interview the lead detective who hasn’t spoken before. We can learn as a nation from what went wrong and what was missed. Would there ever be a next time? Let’s hope not.”
It’s a gruesome event that has stigmatised Snowtown and its rural community.
“You get that sense when you spend time in that town that this macabre crime was thrust on their doorstep,” Doran says. “Some horrific things happened in that bank vault, but a big chunk of these crimes and murders took place elsewhere. There’s a bit of a sadness to the place that you still feel when you visit.”
The legacy of the murders also lives on through the victims’ families and those who worked on the case. Forensic pathologist Roger Byard says that it’s the only case that has given him nightmares.
“As a journalist you want to be involved in something that respects the families and victims,” Doran says.
“When you ask a family to sit down with you to share their most heartbreaking stories and moments, you’ve got to be there as more than someone who just breezes in and out of an interview. I have to absorb the grief a bit to be able to convey it.”
Season three of the doco also delves into the cases of “The Black Widow” Patricia Byers, Matthew Milat, The Bega schoolgirl murders and the 2012 murder of Jill Meagher. Crimes That Shook Australia returns on Sunday at 6.30pm on the CI Network
Matt Doran is back to host season three of the Foxtel series Crimes That Shook Australia.