Katherine Mary Knight is the first Australian woman to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
Katherine was born in a small town Tenterfield in New South Wales. She was raised in an unconventional and dysfunctional family environment. Her mother, Barbara Roughan was married to Jack Roughan in Aberdeen whom she had four sons before the adulterous relationship with Ken Knight, a co-worker of her husband. The Roughan and Knight families were well known in the conservative rural town, and the affair caused a major scandal. Ken and Barbara moved to Moree where she had four children with Ken including girl twins, the younger one was Katherine. Her father was an alcoholic who openly used violence and intimidation to rape his wife Barbara up to ten times a day.
Around the age of 16, she dropout from the school to start her “dream job” at the slaughterhouse. According to the reports, her co-workers described that she was remarkable with the knife.
Her love life is described as disastrous, Knight first met hard-drinking co-worker David Stanford Kellett in 1973. Often, if Kellett got into a fight, Knight would step in and back him up with her fists. In Aberdeen, she was well known for physically threatening anyone who upset her. Knight married Kellett in 1974. On their wedding night, Knight tried to strangle Kellett; she later explained it was because he fell asleep after only having intercourse three times. Their marriage went on for 10 years during that time she had two daughters with him; After then they got separated.
Knight met 38-year-old miner David Saunders in 1986. A few months later, he moved in with her and her daughters, although he kept his old apartment in Scone. Knight soon became jealous regarding what he did when she was not around and would often throw him out. She got really upset from that so she cut the throat of his two-month-old dingo pup in front of him, for no more reason than as an example of what would happen if he ever had an affair, before going on to knock him unconscious with a frying pan. Dispute of that they had a daughter together but shortly after she was born they had an argument and Kathrine stab him with the pair of scissors. After that incident, he left her without a trace.
In 1990, Knight became pregnant by 43-year-old former abattoir co-worker John Chillingworth and gave birth the following year to a boy named Eric. Their relationship lasted three years before she left him for a man she had been having an affair with for some time, John Price.
At the first the relation between John price and Katherine Knight was normal, they would go and grab some drinks with friends at a local bar but then it went downhill. Katherine used to force him to marry which he kindly refused over and over again. She started to become verbally and physically abusive toward John Price. She got so upset over the refusal that she videotaped items he had allegedly stolen from work and sent the tape to his boss. Although the items were out of date medical kit it still got John fired. A few months later, Price restarted the relationship, although he now refused to allow her to move in with him. The fighting became even more frequent, and most of his friends would no longer have anything to do with him while they remained together. But John was a clever man, whenever something happens between him and Katherine he always tells someone about it so he would always have a witness.
In February 2000, a series of assaults on Price culminated with Knight stabbing him in the chest. Finally fed up, he kicked her out of his house. On 29 February, he stopped at the Scone Magistrate’s Court on his way to work and took out a restraining order in an attempt to keep her away from both himself and his children. That afternoon, Price told his co-workers that if he did not come to work the next day, it would be because Knight had murdered him. But no matter what they end up together.
Price arrived home to find that Knight, although not there herself, had sent the children away for a sleep-over at a friend’s house. He then spent the evening with his neighbors before returning home and going to bed at 11 pm. She later arrived at Price’s house while he was sleeping and sat watching television for a few minutes before having a shower. Katherine kept a butcher knife in her nightstand, she took that out and stab John 37 times, and according to blood evidence John tried to fight back but then he passed away. While Kathrine herself took a bunch of pills and fall asleep.
The next day the co-workers of John took his word and called the police. The police went to the house and all the windows were covered so they saw through the peephole that a big “curtain” was blocking the view after no response they went inside of the house. As they were walking towards the “curtain” they saw blood everywhere. one of the officers pushed the “curtain” aside and suddenly his whole arm was covered in blood. The “curtain” was skin hanging from hooks he then looks down and there was a torso of someone. They kept walking and reached the kitchen where the table was set for dinner. John’s price head was boiling on the stove. They went upstairs and found Katherine sleeping on the bed. According to the blood evidence, he awoke and tried to turn the light on before attempting to escape while Knight chased him through the house. He managed to open the front door and get outside, but he either stumbled back inside or was dragged back into the hallway, where he finally died after bleeding out.
It was later revealed that after several hours after Price had died, Knight skinned him and hung the skin from a meat hook on the architrave of a door to the lounge room. She then decapitated Price and cooked parts of his body, serving up the meat with baked potato, pumpkin, beetroot, zucchini, cabbage, yellow squash, and gravy in two settings at the dinner table, along with notes beside each plate, each having the name of one of Price’s children on it. She was preparing to serve his body parts to his children.
On 8 November, Justice O’Keefe pointed out that the nature of the crime and Knight’s lack of remorse required a severe penalty. He sentenced her to life imprisonment, refused to fix a non-parole period, and ordered that her papers be marked “never to be released”, the first time that this had been imposed on a woman in Australian history.