John Lynch: The Berrima Axe Murderer

A Cunning Plan

Lynch knew that the Mulligan's 14-year-old daughter was in the house, and as he entered he saw her standing in the kitchen in terror. She had seen at least one of the murders.

"I saw her standing behind a table holding a butcher's knife," Lynch confessed. "She was sobbing with fear and trembling violently. I hadn't been prepared for this so I just stood there staring at her. Then I yelled 'put that knife down' but she didn't move so I yelled again 'put that knife down'.

"She stiffened, her eyes bulging fearfully from their sockets, with a strange animal noise squealing from her tightly compressed mouth. The lobes of her nostrils were flared and she stood there impotent with terror.

"'Put that knife down,'" I told her. "'I don't want to kill you, but if I let you live you'll only put me away.'" I then ordered her to get down on her knees and pray as she only had ten minutes to live."

Lynch then took the terrified young girl into the bedroom and repeatedly raped her. "I then brought her back out into the kitchen and tried to comfort her saying that life was full of trouble and that she'd be better off dead. Then I mercifully distracted her attention and as she turned away I struck her with the axe and she fell dead without a murmur," he confessed.

Lynch then assembled the Mulligan family's bodies in the bush and set them alight atop a huge pyre. "They burnt like bags of fat," he said.

From then on Lynch's confession dealt with how clever he was at getting rid of the Lynch's possessions and taking over the farm as if it were his own. Every personal item and all of the dead family's clothing were burned. Then he inserted an advertisement in the Sydney Gazette stating that Mrs. Mulligan had left the family home without her husband's consent and that he, John Mulligan, wouldn't be responsible for her debts.

The ad gave the impression that the Mulligans had broken up, which would explain why the farm had been sold. Next Lynch, again under the name of John Mulligan, wrote to all his creditors telling them he had sold the farm to John Dunleavy for 700, and Dunleavy had taken responsibility for any outstanding debts. Then he forged a deed of assignment stating that John Mulligan had signed over the farm and all its affects to John Dunleavy.

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