A Human Shield

Having harvested what they could from Lamb's car, Crump and Baker considered what to do next. Baker decided that their next stop would be the Morse family farm in Collarenebri. Baker had once worked there as a farm hand, and remembered that there was a rifle in the house. Perhaps there was money, too.

On the evening of Nov. 6, three days after the Lamb murder, they set up camp about seven miles away from the farm. At first light they went to an abandoned police station, which was only a few hundred yards from the Morse's house. They hid their car and began watching.

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Certain that they were undetected; Crump and Baker walked along a river and across a field where they hid behind haystacks. They then watched the morning routine unfold. Eventually, Virginia Morse's husband, Brian, drove his children to their school bus before heading off for a day's work in the fields.

Once Crump and Baker were convinced that Mrs. Morse was alone, they made their way to the farmhouse. They made no attempt to hide their faces, yet this was the only place in the entire district where Baker was known and bound to be recognized. Was it their intention to murder Mrs. Morse? In a later interview Crump said: "We talked about it on the way down from Goondiwindi and Allan [Baker] said that if there was anyone on the property they would recognize him and that we might have to kill someone.

"Was there any further discussion between the two of you along these lines?

"When we were behind the haystack Allan said that if Virginia Morse was there we would take her with us, and he thought the youngest kid was there, because he didn't know he was going to school. When we got to the shack [the old police station] we put the petrol in my car and Allan said we would have to get rid of her, but we would take her away and rape her first.

"Was there any discussion as to how she would be killed?

"Yes. We had the guns so we would shoot her. When we got to the river, Allan said that I would have to prove myself and shoot her."

Mrs Virginia Morse
Mrs Virginia Morse

Baker continued the narrative during his police interview: "I went to the laundry door and waited near the loungeroom door and not knowing if anyone was home, I asked Kevin [Crump] to go around the back door and knock and Mrs. Morse came to the back door where Kevin was and I was behind Mrs. Morse with a rifle. I said, 'Don't turn around.' And she did. I took her in the bedroom and tied her up..." 

After they had searched the house, where they found a .222 rifle and a small sum of money, Baker and Crump bundled Mrs. Morse into her family sedan and drove it to the old police station. Like they did with Lamb, they siphoned the gasoline from Morse's sedan and transferred whatever else was useful to their car. The bound and gagged Morse was dumped on the back seat. Baker told police in a later interview that they had every intention of killing Morse, and, if necessary, they would use her as a human shield to protect them from police bullets.

1. Rational Minds Gone Astray

2. A New Life of Crime

3. A Human Shield

4. "Forced to Kill Mrs. Morse"

5. Capture, Trial & Sentence

6. Aftermath

7. The Author

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