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What makes a Cannibal?

The Horrific tale of Katherine Knight

By Lee KaranjaPublished 17 days ago 7 min read

When John Price failed to appear at his workplace that morning, his employer dispatched a colleague to check on him. Upon arriving at John's residence, a concerned neighbor was already present, as they had noticed his car still parked in the driveway. They proceeded to knock on his front door, but received no response. Attempting to rouse him, they tapped on his bedroom window, but to no avail. It wasn't until they peered through one of the windows and spotted blood that they realized something was amiss. This incident underscores the gravity of the situation. This article unveils the monstrous acts of Katherine Knight and sheds light on her notorious distinction as the first woman in Australia to receive an irrevocable life sentence. Growing up amidst a household plagued by violence, Katherine's mother Barbara Rafin had previously been married to a man named Jack, with whom she had four sons. However, Barbara's extramarital involvement with a man named Ken Knight led to their departure from Jack and their four sons, relocating to a different town alongside Ken. Eventually, Barbara and Ken had four children together, including twin girls, one of whom was Katherine. Tragically, Ken Knight proved to be an abusive and alcoholic individual who subjected Barbara to rape up to ten times a day. Disturbingly, Katherine's mother openly shared intimate aspects of her sex life with all her daughters, expressing her disdain for sex and men. Paradoxically, she advised her daughters to endure these distressing encounters and refrain from voicing their grievances. This disheartening narrative exposes the extent of the psychological and physical torment imposed upon Katherine and her siblings.

Katherine's educational journey came to an end at the age of 15, as she left school without the ability to read or write. Despite this setback, she managed to secure her dream job at a slaughterhouse. Initially, she started off by cutting the heads off pigs, but her skills quickly earned her a promotion to the boning department. Katherine found immense satisfaction in her work, even going as far as arriving early in the mornings to witness the pigs being slaughtered. Although her co-worker found her peculiar, they didn't pay much attention to it. It was during her time at the slaughterhouse that Katherine crossed paths with her first husband, David Kellett. Their relationship was marked by violence right from the beginning. On their wedding night, Katherine strangled David because he had fallen asleep after only being intimate with her three times. David recounted a chilling incident where he woke up one morning to find Katherine sitting on top of him, holding a knife to his neck. She laughed and casually mentioned how easy it would be to end his life. In 1976, the couple welcomed their daughter, Melissa. However, David eventually left Katherine for another woman and relocated to Queensland to be with her.

Catherine's aggression escalated following David's departure. On a particular day, she placed the infant in the stroller and abandoned it on nearby train tracks. Fortunately, a local resident discovered the baby shortly before the train's arrival, leading to Catherine's admission into a psychiatric facility. The following day, she discharged herself and proceeded to assault a woman, slashing her face with a knife. Catherine coerced the woman into driving her to Queensland in search of David. However, the woman managed to escape, prompting Catherine to take a young boy hostage until the police disarmed her. During her interrogation, Catherine confessed her intention to locate the mechanic responsible for repairing David's car and exact revenge for providing him with a means to leave her. She blamed the mechanic for her husband's departure and expressed her desire to kill both him and David's mother. Upon learning of Catherine's plans, David made the decision to leave his girlfriend and return to live with her, believing it was necessary to protect those around him. In 1980, the couple welcomed another daughter named Natasha, but Katherine eventually left David in 1984.

In 1987, she initiated a relationship with a man named David Saunders, who was widely regarded as a kind individual with no inclination towards violence. However, David recounted an incident where Katherine became furious with him and resorted to harming his puppy, slashing its throat, as a warning of the consequences if he were to ever betray her. In addition, she struck him on the head with a frying pan. Despite these disturbing events, the couple had a daughter named Sarah together. As the violence persisted, David reached his breaking point and decided to take a leave of absence from work, going into hiding. Katherine spent months searching for him, but eventually gave up and moved on. She went on to have another child, a son named Eric, with a man named John Chillingworth. Their relationship seemed to fare better, and Katherine eventually left him to pursue a romantic involvement with John Price. However, similar to her previous relationships, Katherine began accusing John of infidelity, engaging in fights, and making threats of violence. Shortly after moving into John's residence, they had a heated argument regarding his refusal to marry her. In retaliation, Katherine took a video of items that John had taken from work, even though they were expired items discarded in the trash, and presented it to his employer, resulting in his termination. Consequently, John expelled her from the house. However, a few months later, they reconciled, although he did not allow her to move back in.

In February of 2000, the level of violence escalated to such an extent that Katherine resorted to stabbing John in the chest with a knife. Miraculously, he managed to survive the attack and took immediate action by seeking a restraining order against her on February 29th. Concerned for his safety, John informed his colleagues that if he failed to show up for work the following day, it would be because Katherine had taken his life. Fearing for the well-being of his children, he arranged for them to spend the night elsewhere while he remained at home and retired to bed. At around 11 pm that same evening, while John was fast asleep, Katherine surreptitiously entered his residence. She spent a few minutes watching television, took a shower, and then brazenly climbed into his bed. Shockingly, they engaged in sexual activity before John drifted back to sleep, unaware of the impending horror. It was during this vulnerable moment that Katherine mercilessly stabbed him a staggering 37 times. Awakening abruptly, John desperately tried to escape, but Katherine relentlessly pursued him throughout the house until he eventually succumbed to his injuries and bled out. In a gruesome display of brutality, she utilized her butchery skills to completely skin John and hung his skin from various hooks around the house. Furthermore, she callously removed flesh from his buttocks and proceeded to cook it alongside vegetables and gravy. To add to the macabre scene, Katherine decapitated John and placed his head in a pot of boiling water, accompanied by cabbage and zucchini on the stove. In a disturbing twist, she even set the table with a plate for each of the two children who resided with John, thoughtfully including a note bearing their names next to each plate. Her actions were nothing short of horrifying and deeply unsettling.

She had planned to wait for John's children to return from school and serve them their father as a meal. The following day, the police were called by the neighbor and co-worker who noticed blood. Upon entering the house, they discovered John Price's skinned and decapitated body, with his head boiling in a pot on the stove. Two plates were prepared for the children, each with meat, baked potato, pumpkin, zucchini, cabbage, yellow squash, and gravy. Katherine was found snoring on a bed at the back of the house, taken to the hospital, and then arrested for John's murder. Initially, she claimed to have no recollection of the murder, but later changed her plea to guilty without giving a reason. Katherine Knight was sentenced to life imprisonment, and the judge marked on her paper that she was never to be released due to the nature of the crime and her lack of remorse. Katherine appealed her sentence, but the New South Wales court of criminal appeals disagreed and dropped the appeal.

Katherine Knight, a woman of extreme violence, resorted solely to violent means in order to resolve her problems. Not content with taking John's life and depriving his children of their father, she went further by seeking to ruin their lives by forcing them to consume their own father. Undoubtedly, she embodied the essence of a monstrous being on an unprecedented scale.

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About the Creator

Lee Karanja

Curator of stories & articles that transport you to extraordinary places.

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