Archibald Beattie McCafferty

Lucky Seven

Archie's passion was tattoos. Visiting the tattooist was like seeing his therapist. The tattooist knew all of Archie's innermost secrets. Archie confided in him, sought his advice and admired his opinions. As a result of the long hours Archie had spent having pictures put on his body, there wasn't much room left. He was covered in more than 200 of them.

When police had to photograph all of Archie's identifying marks, they used many rolls of film. There were even stars tattooed on his ear lobes. Like many of the others on his body they were done with Indian ink and sewing needles while filling in the long hours in prison. Archie hated these 'nick' (prison) tattoos and whenever he was out of prison, he got them covered with 'proper' ones.

His body is a walking advertisement of his hatred of the police. One tattoo spread across his shoulders and back says 'The man who puts another man under lock and key is not born of woman's womb'. Another says 'kill and hate cops'.

Archie has drawings of two bulldogs on his chest and two sharks on each shoulder. There are eyes tattooed on each of his buttocks and the bottom half of his body is covered in drawings depicting love and sex.

Archie had saved a space on his chest for a special tattoo and until his son was killed, he didn't know what that tattoo would be. The day he discharged himself from the Parramatta Psychiatric Centre he went to the tattooist and had a memorial to his son etched on that special spot on his chest. It is of a cross-shaped tombstone embedded in a blood-red rose. It is inscribed: 'In Memory of Craig'.

Several weeks later Archie paid another visit to his tattooist for another special tattoo. This time he would have his favourite number, 7, tattooed on the web between the thumb and forefinger. It was one of the few places left on Archie's body that was not already covered with ink. He had the number tattooed next to the head of a snarling panther.

Archie chose that number for two reasons. He had decided that seven people must die to avenge his son's death. Plus it was his lucky number. Archie did everything in sevens. Curiously, the number seven would recur during McCafferty's rampage of murder.

Janice McCafferty had not seen her husband in the five months since she visited him at the Psychiatric Centre the day after he had tried to kill her. But on 23 August 1973, the night before the inquest into little Craig's death, two bricks with notes wrapped around them were tossed through the window of her home in Blacktown.

The first note read:

'You and the rest of your family can go and get fucked because anyone who has anything to do with me is going to die of a bad death. You know who this letter is from so take warning because Bill is the next cab off the rank. Then you go one by one'. It was signed 'you know who'. 'Bill' was Bill Riean, Janice McCafferty's mother's boyfriend.

The second note read: 'The only thing in my mind is to kill you, your mother and Bill Riean. This is not a bluff because I'm that dirty on all of you for the death of my son, but I can't let it go at that. I have a matter of a few guns so I'm going to use them on you all for satisfaction. Beware.'




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