Archibald Beattie McCafferty

Archie Graduates to Murder

The following night, 24 August, the killing started. McCafferty had chosen the day carefully. It was the first day of the inquest into the death of his son.

A week earlier, Archie McCafferty had formed a gang out of an odd assortment of teenagers along with Carol Ellen Howes, a 26-year-old woman he was living with. Archie met Howes and 16-year-old Julie Ann Todd when he was a patient at the Parramatta Psychiatric Centre. Carol Howes was the mother of three children aged from four to seven and was separated from her husband. In the previous two years, Carol had made three attempts on her own life by taking large doses of sleeping tablets.

Carol Howes told Archie that she intended to try to kill herself again and McCafferty talked her out of it. This formed a bond between the pair and before long they had moved into a flat in the inner western suburb of Earlwood. The teenager, Julie Todd, had met them both at the Centre while she was being treated for mental disorders. McCafferty took her in with them when she had nowhere else to go.

McCafferty was living with Howes and Todd at the time of the murders. They were joined by Michael John (Mick) Meredith and Richard William (Dick) Whittington, two 17 year-olds McCafferty had met in a Bankstown tattooist's a few days earlier.

Mick and Dick had a couple of rifles. The sixth member of the gang was 17-year-old Donald Richard (Rick) Webster who McCafferty had met only days earlier through his brother.

Led by McCafferty, the gang chose their first victim. At just over five feet tall, 50-year-old George Anson was an easy mark. The World War 11 veteran was a newspaper seller outside the Canterbury Hotel and each evening after work he would drink at the hotel.

Just after closing time on the evening of August 24, 1973, Anson was spotted by the gang as he staggered down the street toward his home. They had been cruising the area in a stolen Volkswagen, looking for someone to beat up and rob. Archie was flying high on angel dust.

George Anson's wounds
George Anson's wounds

Anson offered no resistance. He was far too drunk. The gang dragged Anson into a side street. As McCafferty grabbed the older man around the throat, Anson called out: 'You young cunt'. They were the last words he would ever say. McCafferty went berserk and kicked Anson repeatedly in the head and ribs.

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