Australia’s ‘Rose West’ killer tortured and murdered women with wicked lover

Catherine Birnie is Australia's answer to notorious murderer Rose West, and like the Gloucester killer she worked in tandem with her deranged "husband".

Catherine was convicted of kidnap, rape and the murder of four women after she and husband David Birnie lured women to their home in the suburbs of Perth, Western Australia in the 1980s, reports The Mirror.

For her part in these depraved crimes she is serving four life sentences after the wicked pair raped and murdered Mary Neilson, 22, Susannah Candy, 15, Noelene Patterson, 31 and Denise Brown, 21.

Kate Moir, 17, was their fifth and final victim but she managed to escape their evil clutches by crawling out of a bedroom window when the Birnie's were distracted.

The twisted pair would stalk the streets looking for female victims that they could persuade to get in the car, once inside the vehicle they were trapped.

While seeking out their prey to kill Catherine would reportedly turn to her husband and say "I've got the munchies," when she saw a woman she liked the look of.

If he liked the look of the potential victim as well, he'd turn back to his wife and say: "I've got the munchies too."

The killing spree started in the Spring of 1986 when Catherine, then 35, was a mother of six. She left her children before the killing started so she could be with sicko David.

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At David's house, the victims were chained to the bed where they were raped, tortured, and murdered by David while Catherine cheered him on and took photographs.

The gruesome killings became known as the Moorhouse murders, after the street where the wicked crimes took place.

As with Fred and Rose West's Cromwell Street in England, the Birnie's address would be fused into Australia's darkest history.

David and Catherine both came from difficult upbringings and in a terrible twist of fate, the pair became neighbours after Catherine moved in next door with her aunt and uncle.

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It's thought that, when David and Catherine met, they were in a sexual relationship before the age of 14.

David and his four siblings were eventually taken into care and moved away due to neglect, but he always kept in touch with Catherine.

The pair would continue to be drawn to one another even through stints in prison and starting their own families.

In 1983 Catherine left her family so she could get back together with David, even changing her surname to Birnie despite them never marrying.

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The couple moved to 3 Moorhouse Street in the Perth suburb of Willagee, and to the outside world they lived a quiet life but inside the Birnies injected heroin and took prescription drugs.

David was addicted to sex and in pursuit of ever-worsening fantasies, he asked Catherine to help him kidnap, bind and rape a young woman.

The killings involved strangulation and stabbings with David taking the lead but at other times it was Catherine that committed the murder.

After repeatedly raping their second victim, Susannah Candy, David took a nylon cord and said to Catherine: "Prove you love me" – and Catherine strangled her to death.

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After days trapped at Moorhouse Street, their fourth victim was taken to plantation and raped in broad daylight, with David slicing her throat as he did, but Denise Brown didn't immediately die.

Realising their victim was still alive, Catherine pulled a bigger knife from the car and David plunged it into her chest.

There viscous onslaught only came to an end when the fifth victim escaped and was taken to the police station by a nearby shopkeeper.

At a hearing in February 1987, the Birnies pleaded guilty to all charges. David was sentenced to a whole-life term in prison, but Catherine was made eligible for parole in 2007.

In 2005, David Birnie killed himself in his cell while Catherine has begun to express regret but so far she has refused permission to leave prison.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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