RAW RE­AL­ITY

TV SE­RIES EX­PLORES THE CRIMES THAT SHOOK AUS­TRALIA

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SEANNA CRONIN

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.

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