It might as well be Africa, the suburban areas of Dalkeith and Nedlands are both regions of Perth that are established along the Swan River. The quiet suburban area appeared calm to anybody who lived or visited there, the community is close and any changes throughout the neighborhood big or small would become rumors and spread as quick as a plague. But under that peaceful image lies the dark and horrible truth, the life of Eric Edgar Cooke. Western Australia’s worst serial killer Cooke lived in the peaceful suburban areas of Perth, many say he killed to seek revenge, others just claimed that he killed for the excitement.
Cooke had been a resident of Nedlands but from day one he was an outsider, Cooke tried to fit in but after constant rejection it turned him to believe that the whole world was against him. Eric Cooke the husband of Sally Cooke and the father of his two children, one autistic and the other missing from her elbow down, had considerable reason to believe the world was against him; the insults and the embarrassment of his nickname “Birdmouth”. Horrible memories are brought up when mentioned to Sally Cooke about the life of her past husband, she recalls him going out on a Saturday night not letting her know we he was going. He would leave and return in the early hours of the morning sometimes even wet, at the start I was worried, I felt betrayed that he had been out with other women. ” “But as time went on, it became a normal occurrence and I became more immune to the feelings. ” Sally couldn’t believe that a person she had known, a person she had met in the Methodist church, a person she married and vowed to spend the rest of her life with was a murderer. The feeling she described was incomprehensible.
Sally described Eric’s life; she said that he had always spoken about how his dad beat him as a child; how he was bullied during his schooling years for his hair lip and a cleft palate and when our children were born Eric thought the whole world was failing for him. “I should have known” Sally said in despair. Dr. Stephen Carter has suggested that Cooke’s case was not alone; there have been many other cases throughout the world showing similar patterns or events. Dr Carter stated that the past of a person, creates a person in the present and their future is determined on the choices made based off their past. Cooke’s life was determined from his childhood, his present personality of a murderer was determined from his upbringing and his future may have been different if he had been given a more stable and better upbringing. ” Dr Carter said that during his working time in America he had seen many other cases similar to Cooke’s, “The way a person is brought up has the biggest impact on their life. ” Although Cooke had killed many people, none of his victims he had any direct anger towards. Cooke’s anger was against society in general; not against any particular person. “Our memories are foundations for who we are. ” Dr Carter stated. If for example a child is ‘over-loved’, the child may become either rebellious or obnoxious and have no work ethic, or in Cooke’s case; be beaten, not supported and grow up not knowing how to live life. ” Eric Cooke committed some of the most violent murders in Australia’s history. A beautiful 20 year old, innocent women, murdered gruesomely by Cooke, she had her face, breasts, thighs, stomach and pelvis hacked apart. Jillian Brewer was murdered helplessly with a hatchet on a normal Saturday night, this murder shocked Perth’s calm atmosphere. Houses were locked, trust dissipated and overall people kept to themselves more and more.
Cooke’s behavior was bizarre and inconsistent; one particular murder took things to a completely new level, he strangled her with the cord from her bedside table lamp, her lifeless body then raped and dragged to her neighbor’s lawn where she was violated and left grasping a bottle of whiskey. However after 22 violent crimes, 8 murders and 14 attempted murders, Cooke’s reputation was as good as gone. John Sturkey one of Cooke’s five Australia Day kills was his final call, after Cooke had shot Sturkey straight through his skull from 2 feet away he hid his gun out sight in a nearby bush, which was the mistake that sentenced him to death.
Police found the gun and after ballistic reports found the gun had been used in the recent murders, returned the gun to the bush and waited for the murderer to return. Cooke returned to collect his vicious killing machine and was arrested and very soon after convicted for murder. Cooke admitted to all of the latest murders, even crimes that were unsolved he claimed. He could recall every little detail for almost every burglary he committed including every item he stole and exactly where it was. Within minutes of Cooke’s trail he pleaded guilty to all 22 violent crimes, 8 murders, 14 attempted murders and over 250 burglaries.
On the 26th of October, 1964, Eric Edgar Cooke was the last person in Western Australia to be hanged. ‘Our experiences determine our sense of reality’ if only Cooke’s father knew that if he didn’t drink alcohol, and didn’t beat his son, along with his peers during a young age not insulting him over his facial deformity and excepting Cooke for who he could have been, maybe nine people could still have been alive. Eric Cooke informed the jury during his sentence “I just wanted to hurt people” and still to this day the horrible memories are hidden within the Perth community.