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It's about a serial killing; specifically the disappearance and murder of three aboriginal children in the northern NSW town of Bowraville between 1990–91. All three children were staying on the same street when they disappeared and the same man was seen at the scene of each. The police mishandled the original investigation and that man was subsequently found not guilty. For a quarter century since, the children's families have been calling for a retrial.
I had a cup of coffee with a cop, who told me about the case. He told me the police believe they know who committed the killings, and that they had the evidence to put him away, but the government was refusing to send the matter back to court. Also, it's about three dead children. It's had to look away when there are kids involved.
It's very personal – you can hear the people involved tell their story in their own words. You can also hear the emotion when someone catches their breath to stop themselves from crying. I'm normally a newspaper reporter, but it's almost impossible in print to convey that immediacy and depth of hurt.
The main challenge is that you have to be there. You can't sit at a desk and imagine a place, and there is only so much you can do over the phone; you have to be there with a microphone to record it. Also, the editing takes a lot of work.
The reward is that it’s a medium that really seems to fire people's imagination. Nothing else I have done has had this kind of reaction before.
Yes. My target was to get over 3,000 downloads. So far, we have had over half a million.
That its influence can be felt in subtle, yet terribly significant ways. Each of the three children's families say they tried to report their relatives missing to the police, but were told they might have gone 'walkabout' and no serious investigation was launched for days. Those first few days are often vital in a murder investigation, and had the police responded then, we might not be in the situation we are in today.
I think it tells us a lot about ourselves. As a crime reporter, I have seen people at their most exposed, and also at their strongest. It also helps us realise the darkness that exists out there, and sometimes how easy it can be to step out of the light.
I avoid fictional crime, because I see too much of the real thing and its real effect on people at work. For escape, and because I do a bit of it myself, I love reading mountaineering literature.
The incidental sounds; insects in the forest, the sound of footsteps in the leaves. As a listener, those details transport you into the place itself.
At the moment, I'm listening to StartUp, Mountain and The Right Stuff