Archibald Beattie McCafferty

"The toughest Kid I have ever met"

Map of Australia with Sydney Locator
Map of Australia with Sydney Locator

When Archibald Beattie McCafferty was ten his parents Archie and Clementine migrated to Australia from Scotland to leave behind their bleak working-class existence and start a new life with new hope. The McCaffertys moved first to Melbourne and then to Bass Hill in Sydney's blue collar western suburbs.

Archie was in trouble with the police from the outset and by the time he was 12 was placed in an institution for stealing, he already had a long record. By the time he was 18 Archie had been in institutions five times and had been classed as an incorrigible juvenile delinquent.

One detective described him as 'the toughest kid I have ever met'. At 24 he had been in and out of jail many times and had a record of thirty-five convictions that included break, enter and steal, stealing cars, larceny, assault, vagrancy and receiving stolen goods.

However, Archie McCafferty was not considered a violent criminal. His assault charges arose from fist fights with the police but none of his other crimes involved violence. Yet Archie was obsessed with ferocity. He loved movies that overdosed on aggression and brutality. His favourites were A Clockwork Orange and The Godfather.

Movie Poster: The Godfather
Movie Poster: The Godfather

He saw them many times over and his favourite scene from The Godfather was the one in which Sonny Corleone was riddled with bullets at the tollgates. Though at this stage in his life Archie was not violent toward other people he told a psychiatrist that he enjoyed strangling chickens, dogs and cats to see what it was like.

When Archie fell in love with and married Janice Redington in April 1972 his family prayed that he would at last settle down. The couple had met at a hotel where Janice worked part-time as a switchboard operator. The marriage was only six weeks old when Janice caught her husband in bed with another woman. She wasn't impressed, but Archie's response was so violent it prompted his first visit to a psychiatric hospital.

After discharging himself, Archie threw away his sedatives, started drinking heavily and took out all of his aggression on his wife. Although Janice was pregnant, Archie would repeatedly bash her when he was drunk, which was most nights. He would press his thumbs against her windpipe and only let go as she was about to lapse into unconsciousness.

One night when he nearly killed Janice, Archie booked himself back into the hospital and told psychiatrists that he wanted to kill his wife and her family. He said he wanted to get the evil thoughts out of his head but discharged himself a few days later. There was nothing that the doctors could do to keep him there.

The visits to psychiatric hospitals did nothing to change Archie's ways. He was straight back on the drink when he discharged himself and his drug intake increased. So did his fits of uncontrollable violence. He got a job on a garbage truck and this seemed to pacify him for a short time during the days. But at night he was getting worse.

Archie's mother claimed that the birth of his son, Craig Archibald on 4 February 1973 turned Archie into a different person. Janice McCafferty did not agree. She said that he was still drinking heavily and taking all sorts of drugs. She was terrified to take the baby in the car for fear that Archie would have an accident and kill them all. Little Craig lived only six weeks.


Check Out...
Men of Black Gold
These guys bust their butts drilling for Texas oil.
Most Reckless Star
Mariah, Britney, Snoop — or someone even crazier?
Guns, Gems and Steal
Our list of the 10 most spectacular heists ever.
Golden Oldie
Ancient prostitute swears off hookin'.

© 2008 Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. A Time Warner Company. All rights reserved. is part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital Network. Terms & Privacy guidelines