The Fatal Accident

At 3.30am on the morning of Saturday, 17 March, 1973, Janice took the baby to bed with them to feed him. She dozed off and awoke at 9am, she told the inquest into the baby's death: "I felt something underneath me in the bed. I jumped straight out of bed and I saw the baby's face and realised something was terribly wrong. There was blood on his face and on my nightie. My bra was still undone. I must have rolled over to my left and rolled onto my baby."

At the inquest, held on 24 August 1973, the coroner, Mr John Dunn, said that the child had died accidentally when his mother went to sleep on top of him while breast-feeding. He completely exonerated Janice McCafferty and said: "I must say in the interests of the welfare of the young mother, I cannot find anything to be critical of her for what happened."

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Archie McCafferty did not agree. He had left Janice a week after the tragedy and although he did not attend the inquest into his son's death he sent a scathing letter to the coroner, accusing Janice of murdering their son.

Was the death of his son all that Archie McCafferty needed to tip him over the edge? It was a question on which psychiatrists would sharply disagree. Certainly, the horror of his son's death played constantly on Archie's already troubled mind. But was it the match that had lit the fuse to the keg of dynamite that was about to explode?

The first eruption occurred a week after Craig's death. The McCaffertys had a few friends over for drinks after the funeral and when most of them had gone Archie started playing a record called Nobody's Child in remembrance of his dead son. An argument started and Janice McCafferty fled. Archie caught up with her hours later in Blacktown, where he accused her of killing his son.

When Archie took to her with a fence picket, Janice's brother and another man stepped in and gave him a hiding. The following day he turned up at his parent's house at Bass Hill. Badly bruised and covered in blood he pleaded with his mother for help. She despaired at her confused son's plight and begged him to re-admit himself to the hospital.

That day, a family friend drove Archie to the Parramatta Psychiatric Centre, where he booked in for treatment. It was his third self-admission in nine months, the one that prompted hospital staff to ring the police when he checked himself out a few days later.

1. The "Kill Seven" Murders

2. "The toughest Kid I have ever met"

3. The Fatal Accident

4. Lucky Seven

5. Archie Graduates to Murder

6. Kill seven. Kill seven.

7. Voices From the Grave

8. Another Senseless Killing

9. "I'd Like To Cut Your Head Off"

10. The Trial

11. The Sentence

12. Australia's Worst Prisoner

13. Parole and Deportation

14. The Author

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