Katherine Mary Knight, who holds the distinction of being the first woman in Australia sentenced to life without parole, started life under scandalous circumstances. The child of an affair between her mother, Barbara Roughan, and her father, Ken Knight, that set their small town, Moree, New South Whales, ablaze with scandal when it came to light, Katherine Knight had an unusual childhood. Her father was a violent man who was a known alcoholic and frequently beat and raped her mother. According to Knight, she was also raped by several family members throughout her childhood. Knight was a bully at school, going after younger children, and dropped out at 15 to work at a clothing factory. She could not reportedly had not learned to read or write at this time. It was a year later that she got a job as a slaughterhouse, which she called a dream job, which she reportedly loved so much that she hung her first set of butcher’s knives over her bed incase she ever needed them (Serena 2020).
It was at her butcher job that she met David Kellett, who, much like her father, was a violent alcoholic. Katherine, however, was able to match him and impress him by joining in on one of his drunken brawls. In 1974, Katherine, who had taken a dominant role in their relationship, managed to bully David into marrying her. Her mother warned him that Katherine had an awful temper. He spent much of their 10-year marriage heavily intoxicated. On the first night of their marriage, Katherine became angry that her new husband fell asleep after consummating their marriage three times and attempted to strangle him. He woke before she managed to kill him and fought her off (Serena 2020).
Knight was regularly violent during their marriage, including an incident when she was heavily pregnant. He returned late one night after getting into the finals of a darts tournament, and Knight retaliated by burning all of his clothes and shoes, then hit him over the head with a frying pan. Kellett managed to escape to a neighbor’s house, where he collapsed and was treated for a skull fracture. Knight was notably friendlier when police arrived and talked Kellett into not pressing charges against her (Blanco). During their marriage, Kellett developed a tendency towards infidelity. He had two daughters with Knight, and had even left them during the night to go to one of his other lovers in Queensland. Knight placed their two-month old daughter on railway tracks and threatened neighbors with an axe when she discovered one of his affairs, and was diagnosed with postnatal depression after this incident and another incident in which bystanders saw her pushing her daughter’s carriage in an erratic manor. She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after this incident. After signing herself out of the psychiatric hospital, Knight attacked a woman with one of her knives, slashing her face, and demanded the woman drive her to Queensland to find Kellett. The woman managed to escape at a gas station, but Knight took a young boy hostage when the police arrived and threatened him with her knife. Police disarmed her with brooms and she was admitted to the Morrisset Psychiatric Hospital (Blanco). While there, she told the professionals working with her that she intended to kill the mechanic that fixed Kellett’s car, because he enabled Kellett to leave her (Serena 2020). Kellett eventually took her back, despite this threat. Shortly after he took her back, they split and Knight fell into a deep depression (Serena 2020).
Several years after her break up with Kellett, Knight met David Saunders. The two began a romance that, like with Kellett, became toxic quickly. While Saunders moved in with Knight and her daughters, he kept his apartment and Knight became suspicious that he may have been cheating on her like Kellett had been. Knight went as far as to slit the through of the two-month old dingo puppy he had right in front of him, likely as a show of what she was capable of. Despite this, Saunders stayed with her long enough for them to have a daughter. Shortly after the birth of their daughter, however, Knight attempted to kill Saunders with scissors and he left her (Serena 2020).
Katherine met her future boyfriend, John Price, while she was still with her next lover: John Chillingworth. While there have been no reports of violent instances during their relationship, the relationship lasted only three years. While together, Knight and Chillingworth had a son, Eric. It was her affair with John Price that ended this relationship (Serena 2020).
The relationship with Price began without much violence; Price had two older children who seemed to like Knight and Price made enough money to keep them comfortable. However, when Price declined Knight’s suggestion of marriage, she became violent with him. Knight was kicked out of his house after she framed him for stealing from the company he worked for and got him fired, but the two rekindled their romance a few short months later. Knight was not, however, allowed to move back in with Price and her violence would escalate (Serena 2020).
Katherine attempted to stab Price in the chest during an argument in February 2000, and Price took out a restraining order on her, hoping to protect his children from her violence. During this time, he told coworkers that if he were ever to go missing, Knight would be responsible. He was vocally worried for his life, and he had good reason to be. On February 29, 2000, Katherine Knight would kill him (Serena 2020). Before the murder, Knight bought new black lingerie and videotaped her children while saying statements now seen as crude (Blanco).
The night went as it usually did for Price; he came home and did the routine he always did, which included checking in with his neighbors. He went to bed at 11 PM, and shortly after, Knight entered his home. She made herself dinner, watched some television, and showered before heading to his room and waking him up. The two had sex, and Price went back to sleep. Knight grabbed the butcher’s knives she kept by the bed and stabbed him at least 37 times (Serena 2020). Blood evidence suggests that he woke up during the attack and attempted to escape her and even tried to turn the lights on. It appeared that he managed to get out the front door, but she had managed to drag him back inside (Blanco). Eventually, he succumbed to his wounds and passed, and Knight dragged his body to the living room where she skinned him and hung his body on a meat hook. She decapitated him and butchered his body like she had to many animals at her job, then she cooked him into a meal that she was apparently unable to finish. She took a large number of pills and lied down to what remained of his decapitated corpse before passing out (Serena 2020). There is also evidence that suggests that Knight, before taking the pills, went into Aberdeen and withdrew $1,000 from Price’s account, and a note was found written by Knight that insinuated Price had been molesting his children as well as hers. These accusations were found to be baseless (Blanco).
It was Price’s coworkers and a neighbor who called police the next day when he didn’t show up to work, remembering what he had told them earlier that month about Knight. One coworker and his neighbor went to check on him, and upon no one answering their knocks and noticing blood on the door, the two alerted the police (Blanco). When police arrived, they found Knight essentially comatose by Price’s skinned body and Price’s head in a pot in the kitchen, boiling with some vegetables and two plates filled with the meal she had made of him, with the names of his children set with them. It was with dawning horror that the police realized she had planned to feed him to his children (Serena 2020).
Price’s skin was hanging from the meat hook she had hung his body on earlier to do her butchering. He had been stabbed so many times, the police had a difficult time estimating how many stab wounds were actually present. The wounds had been afflicted efficiently, hitting several major organs and arteries. It read quickly as a crime that had been planned in advance, not done without preamble (McNab 2019). Knight, when she finally woke, claimed that she had no memory of what had happened the night before, but she was still charge with his murder (Serena 2020).
The trial began in 2001, but Knight changed her plea to guilty and testimony was never heard. Her papers were signed “never to be released” on the order of the judge and she was escorted to the prison, Silverwater Women’s Correctional Center, that same day. Katherine Knight maintains to this day that she is in fact innocent, despite the evidence to the contrary, and shows no remorse for her actions. All appeals by Knight have been immediately denied (Serena 2020).
Serena, Katie. “This Woman Killed Her Boyfriend And Made Him Into Stew – Then Served Him To His Kids.” All That’s Interesting, All That’s Interesting, 5 Apr. 2020, allthatsinteresting.com/katherine-knight.
McNab, Duncan. “Never to Be Released: Wife Killed Husband, Skinned Him, Then Plated Him up for Children’s Dinner.” 7NEWS.Com.au, 7NEWS.Com.au, 7 Oct. 2019, 7news.com.au/original-fyi/crime-story-investigator/katherine-knight-butchers-husband-john-price-then-boils-his-head-and-plates-him-up-c-483140.
Blanco, Juan Ignacio. “Katherine Knight: Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers.” Katherine Knight | Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers, murderpedia.org/female.K/k/knight-katherine.htm.