|Australia map with Frankston marked|
Over a seven week period in the summer of 1993, three young women, ages 17, 18 and 22, were violently stabbed and slashed to death — one in broad daylight, in and around Frankston, about a 40-minute drive from Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay in south eastern Victoria. Another 41-year-old woman was violently assaulted and considered herself lucky to escape with her life.
None of the victims knew each other and there was nothing to connect them in any way except that they all lived in the Frankston district. After the first two murders and an assault in which the victim escaped, it became clear to police that there was a serial killer on the loose. The killer chose his victims at random and murdered for no apparent reason. Their theory was tragically proved correct when another young woman was murdered a short time later.
And when he was eventually caught, the serial killer turned out to be a local, Paul Charles Denyer, a 6-foot, very overweight, 21-year-old man who answered to the nickname of John Candy, after the (now deceased) funnyman of such movies as Uncle Buck, The Blues Brothers and Cool Runnings.
But Paul Denyer, the John Candy look-a-like serial killer was no funny man. He was a pudgy, dysfunctional misfit, an oafish character and self-confessed misogynist who was always going to be a monster. As a child he slit the throats of his sister's toy bears and grew up obsessed with blood and gore movies such as The Stepfather, Fear and Halloween, which he watched over and over.
Paul Denyer was a beast who slit the throat of the family kitten with his brother's pocketknife and hung the dead animal from a tree branch. After his arrest for murder it was discovered that it was Denyer who had disemboweled a friend's cat and slit the throats of its kittens. Killing human beings was only a matter of time.
When he was captured, Denyer displayed absolutely no emotion as he told horrified police how he murdered the three women. He also told arresting officers that he had had the urge to kill since he was 14. "I've always wanted to kill, waiting for the right time, waiting for that silent alarm to trigger me off," he told them.