Why sex-depraved child killers should die in jail

VICTIMS: Stacey-Ann Tracy (left) was killed by convicted murderer Barry Gordon Hadlow in 1990. Hadlow killed Stacey-Ann while he was on parole for the murder of five-year-old Sandra Bacon. Samantha Knight was murdered by convicted sex offender Michael Guider in Sydney in 1996. Guidar now wants parole.
VICTIMS: Stacey-Ann Tracy (left) was killed by convicted murderer Barry Gordon Hadlow in 1990. Hadlow killed Stacey-Ann while he was on parole for the murder of five-year-old Sandra Bacon. Samantha Knight was murdered by convicted sex offender Michael Guider in Sydney in 1996. Guidar now wants parole. Supplied

OPINION: The murder of Stacey-Ann Tracy should be a lesson for NSW's parole board as it considers freeing the man who killed Samantha Knight, writes SHERELE MOODY.

ALMOST 27 years ago, my stepfather killed a little girl. His name was Barry Gordon Hadlow. His victim was nine-year-old Stacey-Ann Tracy.

I don't often speak about Hadlow because the story of Stacey-Ann's death absolutely breaks my heart.

But as the killer of nine-year-old Samantha Knight pushes for parole, there is a lesson to be learned from Hadlow and the two little girls lost at his hands.

Hadlow married my mother when I was about 15 years old. Maybe she knew the truth about his past. Or maybe she didn't.

My siblings and I had no idea this man who suddenly entered our lives was carrying a horrifying secret.

He never lied about being in jail - just the reason for it. He would often recount proudly how he was a boxer in his youth and that he was locked up for manslaughter after accidentally killing a bloke in a fight.

Why would he tell us that he was a convicted pedophile and a child killer when he could romanticise about being a mean, lean fighting machine?

My mother and Hadlow were together for about five years when they moved from Toowoomba to Roma.

They settled into a unit neighbouring the home of Stacey-Ann, her little sister and her mum, Janet.

My twin sisters were not much older than Stacey-Ann, they all went to the same school and there's no doubt they played together a lot.

On May 23, 1990, Hadlow enticed Stacey-Ann into his car as she headed to school.

He returned to the home he shared with my mother and sisters, where he raped and suffocated the blonde-haired girl.

He then put her little lifeless body in his car and drove around for hours looking for a suitable dumping site.

He eventually left her naked body, partially wrapped in a garbage bag, by a creek bed.

Later that day he announced to my family that a little girl had disappeared and he was going to help find her.

And that is exactly what he did.

He joined hundreds of community members, police and emergency services volunteers as they searched for Stacey-Ann - a bearded, jovial giant with a massive heart of gold helping his community during its darkest hour.


Barry Gordon Hadlow was on parole when he was on parole when he killed Stacey-Ann Tracy.
Barry Gordon Hadlow was on parole when he was on parole when he killed Stacey-Ann Tracy. Supplied

Three days later Stacey-Ann's body was found and then the police arrived on our doorstep.

That's when my sisters and I began to get an inkling that Hadlow's prison story was a lie.

We soon found out he murdered Stacey-Ann while he was on parole for killing five-year-old Townsville girl Sandra Bacon in 1962.

Sandra was walking past Hadlow's home when he came out to talk to her. He tricked her into coming inside by offering her some books.

It wasn't long before he raped Sandra, then killed her.

He placed her body, partially wrapped in a corn sack, into the boot of his car and walked away.

Then he joined the community's search for the little girl.

Police eventually arrested him for Sandra's murder and he served 23 years in jail. The parole board released Hadlow despite being warned he would kill again.

If the justice system had kept Hadlow locked up for killing Sandra, Stacey-Ann would now be a grown woman probably raising kids of her own.  

Like Stacey-Ann, Samantha Knight was nine years old when convicted sex offender Michael Guider drugged, raped and murdered her in Sydney in 1996.

And like Hadlow, Guider - who was serving time for 75 child sex offences when he confessed to Samantha's murder - wants to be set free.

But there is no guarantee this depraved sex monster won't kill again.

We don't know our children will be safe but what we do know is these vile creatures cannot contain themselves.


Michael Guider killed nine-year-old Sydney girl Samantha Knight.
Michael Guider killed nine-year-old Sydney girl Samantha Knight. Daily Telegraph

They see little girls like Sandra, Stacey-Ann and Samantha as vessels for their own morbid gratification.

These children were nothing more than a means to a sick end for these men and we as a community, our justice system, parole boards and governments must never lose sight of that.

That's why today, I am joining Samantha's family and Guider's living victims in begging the New South Wales parole board to keep this monster locked up.

Forget about his civil liberties. Forget about his rights.

The day he murdered Samantha Knight is the day Guider lost any right to be free.

If there's one thing we can take away from Stacey-Ann's story, it's that the only way to keep monsters like Hadlow and Guider from harming more children is to throw away the key.

Hadlow died in prison in 2007 and that is where Guider must also die, because our children's lives are more valuable than the lives of these monsters.

Sherele Moody is a News Corp journalist and the founder of The RED HEART Campaign, which shines a light on violence against women and children in Australia.

Topics:  barry gordon hadlow child molester editors picks michael guider murder parole board samantha knight sandra bacon stacey-ann tracy the red heart campaign

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

A heartfelt poem for Dalby State School

Dalby Herald journo Sophie Volker, aged 7, in her Dalby State School uniform.

Former DSS student pens tribute to the school she loves

INFERNO: Dalby school shut as investigations continue

DEVASTATING: Fire burned for several hours at Dalby State School.

'This is devastating for us but our school is one of the hubs of the Dalby'

Fraud charges after spending spree on stolen credit cards

Credit cardsPhoto: Chris McCormack / Sunshine Coast Daily

Search warrant leads police to stolen cards and fraudulent goods

Local Partners

Anthony LaPaglia steps out with new fiancee

Screen legend Anthony LaPaglia has confirmed his engagement to his much younger girlfriend, Alexandra Henkel

Ronan Keating a dad for fourth time

Ronan Keating and Storm Keating.

Bouncing baby boy for Boyzone star

Lion King remake well under way

Seth Rogen.

More Lion King remake cast members revealed

Splendour auctions VIP passes for flood appeal

Crowd at Splendour in the Grass 2016.  Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Each pass will have a reserve price of $500

The pic that could cost Khloe Kardashian $200k

Khloe Kardashian has admitted she "loves" watching porn, but doesn't think her family are famous purely because of her sister Kim Kardashian West's sex tape.

Khloe Kardashian has been slapped with a $A200,750 lawsuit

Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme dies

Director Jonathan Demme, 73, has died of cancer. He is pictured here attending the premiere of "Song One" in New York.

TRIBUTES have poured in for the Oscar-winning director.

Falling rents could spell doom for housing prices

What if I told you housing in Australia was getting cheaper?

Couple gets rich renovating run-down city homes

RENO RADICALS: Baden and Nelson Marino-Hall have turned three Toowoomba homes around for profit, saying the Garden City was a haven for renovators like themselves.

The couple has already turned around three homes

Townhouse pitch raises questions over 'high density'

BIG PLANS: Residents have a chance to offer their opinion on plans to build 42 townhouses at Raceview.

Developer plans 42 townhouses for Ipswich suburb

7 million dollar city homes for sale right now

3 Keira Court, Blue Mountain Heights.

Here are seven of Toowoomba's best, and most expensive, houses

'Raping and pillaging': Landlord's anger with nightmare cost

Chris Duane, who is chairman of the body corporate for Terralina Court, says insurance companies are charging too much for premiums.

BODY corporate boss unleashes on huge costs dumped on home owners.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!