Warning: This crime contains some of the most heinous crimes against a human being, reader discretion is advised.
In this article, I’ll be talking about:
- Who was Katherine Knight?
- What role did her past relationships play in the crime?
- Who was John Price?
- What Did Katherine Decided To Do?
- What happened to John Price?
- What happened to Katherine Knight?
In this case, we will discuss the horrific crime committed by Katherine Knight, an Australian woman in her forties whose failed quest for love turned her into a monster.
Who was Katherine Knight?
Barbara (previously Nee Thorley) married Jack Roughan and gave birth to four boys. Later, she became entangled in a scandalous affair with her husband’s co-worker, Ken Knight. Both of them secretly started meeting up and later on, Barbara became pregnant giving birth to Katherine Mary Knight and her twin on the 24th of October 1955. Consequently, the news of the affair became public in the small conventional town and the two families became the talk of the town. This led to the separation of the families and Jack Roughan decided to take two out of the four boys with him leaving the remaining two with an aunt in Sydney. However, when Jack Roughan died in 1959, the two children living with him were sent back to Barbara. So, in the Ken household, it was Barbara and her four remaining children.
What Role Did Her Past Relationships Play in the Crime?
A majority of the time, murderers are people who went through some serious psychological damage while growing up. And in cases where children were brought up in an unhealthy environment or where the harm was inflicted by closed family members, they were seen to lose empathy. Katherine’s case is no different, she was a victim of child abuse and grew up in an environment that hindered her psychological development. [Note that this does not in any manner act as a defense to her case but it is crucial to shed light as it helps in learning about similar cases.]
- Her Relationship With Her Parents
Knight’s relationship with her parents was anything but normal. Her biological father was an alcoholic who resorted to violence whenever possible and often sexually abused her mother, nightmarish details of which would often be described to her daughters. She would tell Knight and her twin how much she despised sex and men, in general. Later, when Knight complained to her mother that her partner wanted to engage in some sort of an act and she didn’t want to, her mother told her to “put up with it and stop complaining”. In her interview with the psychiatrists, she claimed that she was continuously sexually abused by her relatives (though not her father) which were later confirmed by her family members.
- Her Relationship With Her Peers at School
School life for Katherine wasn’t a smooth ride either, during her time in Muswellbrook High School, she seemed to be a loner and often went on uncontrollable fits of rage. It was reported that she bullied children who were weaker than her and also, confirmed to have assaulted a boy as well as injured a teacher at school. As she was by no means an ideal student, she left school at only 15. And without the ability to read and write, she could find a job as a cutter in a clothing factory where she worked for almost a year and later found her “dream job” as a butcher at the local abattoir.
- Her Past Relationships
“The old girl said to me to watch out. ‘You better watch this one or she’ll fucking kill you. Stir her up the wrong way or do the wrong thing and you’re fucked, don’t ever think of playing upon her, she’ll fuckin’ kill you.’ And that was her mother talking! She told me she’s got something loose, She’s got a screw loose somewhere.” – Barbara Roughan
Most often than not, a person explicitly or implicitly indicates, either through physical or verbal actions, that they are not only a danger to themselves but to society, at large. Katherine showed numerous signs in her adolescent years that she was not in the right headspace and later, in her adult life, her actions became more and more violent further proving her deteriorating mental health. In addition, her relationships only acted as a strong catalyst and fueled her desire for violence.
For instance, her first marriage with David Kellett in 1973 was a complete disaster, the end of which led to Katherine going on a frenzy, threatening to kill several people, and most horrifyingly she attempted to kill her own newborn baby by putting her on the railway tracks. However, her attempts failed, and she was later admitted to the Morisset Psychiatric Hospital. In a strange twist of events, when her husband heard that Katherine was admitted to a hospital, he left his girlfriend and came back with his mother to take care of her. The tumultuous relationship was dragged on till 1984 when he finally decided to leave her (and their daughters). After the break-up, Katherine moved in with her parents although for a short period of time. Later, she found work in an abattoir where she worked for a year and had to quit due to a back injury. Following her injury, she decided to live on a disability pension.
After two years, in 1986, Katherine met David Saunders who decided to move in with her after a few months of dating although he kept his apartment. It was not very likely for Katherine to change her personality so, it was a matter of time before things took a turn. Only after a few months of being together, Katherine becomes jealous, aggressive, and abusive. The situation escalated from throwing Saunders out of the house to attacking him with a frying pan on his head to finally stabbing him with a pair of scissors. After which Sauders decided to go into hiding but missed his biological daughter (with Katherine) so, he decided to go back to her where he found out that Katherine had gone to the police and filed a complaint against him.
In 1990, Knight became pregnant with her fourth child by her co-worker, John Chillingworth. Like all of her previous relationships, this relationship soon ended but this time, it was Katherine who had an affair with a man named John Price.
To surmise Katherine’s relationship(s), her mother said this to her first husband, “the old girl said to me to watch out. ‘You better watch this one or she’ll fucking kill you. Stir her up the wrong way or do the wrong thing and you’re fucked, don’t ever think of playing upon her, she’ll fuckin’ kill you.’ And that was her mother talking! She told me she’s got something loose, She’s got a screw loose somewhere.”
Who was John Price?
In Katherine’s story, John Price was her fourth lover and final victim. He was a father of three children and described as a “terrific bloke” who was liked by almost everyone. When he started his affair with Katherine, he was well-versed with her reputation but still decided to give it a shot. “Thankfully”, everything seemed roses in the beginning, his children liked her, and he himself enjoyed her company minus the occasional “quarrels”.
It was 1998, not only Price was happy with his current life, he loved it. He was earning stably and could provide for his family quite comfortably. However, soon his life took a turn for the worst. One day, Katherine asked Price about marrying her, however, he shared his discontent with the idea and explicitly expressed that he did not want to marry her. Katherine didn’t take his refusal well and in a fit of rage decided to videotape everything his partner had “stolen” from his workplace and sent it to his superiors. Not surprisingly, Price was let go of his job and reasonably decided to end his relationship with Katherine.
He kicked her out of his house. But she constantly harassed him and as a result, Price got a restraining order against her. So, that should’ve been the end of this whole ordeal. However, Katherine being Katherine decided to patch things with Price by “wooing” him.
During a conversation with his colleagues, Price stated that if he did not come the next morning then Katherine must’ve killed him.
What Did Katherine Decided To Do?
Katherine decided to “woo” Price as she could not let go of her feelings. So, one afternoon, she decided to leave her apartment and her destination — Price’s apartment. The first thing she did after arriving was sending his children to a sleep-over and after that initiated her plan of “wooing” Price. In the past, whenever there was a dispute between Katherine and her lovers, she used to “apologize” by wearing lingerie, cooking a fancy meal, and then having sex. So, this time also, it was her plan to do all this and get back Price.
When Price came back from his workplace, he found out that his children had been sent to a sleep-over without his permission by Katherine. He was extremely angry with her behavior and he decided to confront her. However, when she did not arrive, he decided to take a bath and sleep in.
It was midnight, the front door of his place creaked open, and entered Katherine who was wearing lingerie. When she entered Price’s bedroom, he was awoken by all the commotion and after seeing her, he, although thinking of confronting her, decided to give in to the pleasure. After sex, Price slept. In the middle of the night, Katherine woke up and after staring at Price for a long time, got out of bed. She quietly left the apartment and went to her place.
The next morning, Price did not go to his workplace, so his employer decided to send an employee to his place to check upon him. When the employee reached his place, he saw Price’s car in the driveway, thinking that he must’ve slept in. Before he could’ve knocked on his door, he saw something like blood on the doorknob and, so, instinctively stopped. He alerted the police. Once the officers arrived at the place, they browsed the property and he found a plate that was thrown out a window. An officer decided to look inside the window to see and when he looked inside, he saw a dining hall with a dinner table full of a variety of meals.
They decided to enter the house and the moment they stepped in — they saw a pool of blood. They cautiously entered and found someone lying on the bed. They checked on the pulse, although light, the person seemed to be alive, barely. They called an ambulance and rushed the person to the hospital. The remaining officers browsed the place and an officer followed the trail of blood, it led him inside the kitchen. However, once the trial ended, he lifted the curtain but there was no one there. He felt something wet on his hand and when he looked he saw blood. He panicked a little as not understanding where the blood came from, soon realized something, and felt a shiver run down his back. He turned back and saw that what he thought was a curtain, was in reality, the skin of a person. Quickly, a search began and the officers found that the food that was cooked was not your ordinary home-cooked meal but instead, a fully-grown man. It was John Price.
What Happened to Price?
So, when Katherine sneaked out of the bed, she went to her apartment to get her toolkit. Once she entered the house again, with the toolkit in her hand, she got on the bed and sat on Price. And in her hand was the very knife she used to cut up meat in the factor — a butcher’s knife. With it, she stabbed Price. With the stab, Price burst out of his sleep, and without a second thought and seemingly without any conscious knowledge of what had happened to him, he decided to get out of the bed and run for the front door. However, when he reached the front door and tried to hold on to the doorknob, due to all the blood loss, he fainted there. After a couple of seconds later, Katherine came to the front door and dragged him inside.
Once inside, she stabbed Price 37 times and killed him. After killing him, she went to the kitchen, put a pot of water on the stove for boiling, and then she began preparing the extravagant meal she had decided to make earlier. However, this time, with the only exception being, the person for whom the meal was getting prepared was now the main ingredient.
After preparing the “dishes”, she placed name cards on the dining table. And the name cards had the names of Price’s children. She was going to feed a father to his children. Before doing that, she decided to get herself a plate. Once she tried eating, after only a bite, it seemed like the reality had FINALLY come to her. She got up and threw the plate outside the window.
She turned back and went to the room, got sleeping pills, and overdosed on them. The officers found her barely conscious, on the couch.
Katherine had finally snapped and the end result was the death of an extremely good person who decided to give a chance to a person without realizing that one decision changed their lives.
What Happened to Katherine Knight?
Katherine was named one of the most heinous criminals in the history of Australia and not surprisingly, after hearing her case, the Judge decided to especially let the world know of her deeds by stamping her case file as “never to be released”.
Concluding the Newcastle Supreme court trial Justice O” Keefe stated
“Katherine Mary Knight, you have pleaded guilty and been convicted of the murder of John Charles Price at Aberdeen on or about February 29, 2000, in respect of your crime, I sentence you to imprisonment for life.”
The Final Thoughts
This case can be considered a tip of an iceberg, there are thousands of other cases with similarly gruesome details and yes, they could’ve been avoided. It’s a notion that is believed by many. In Katherine’s case, there were several signs and if only was taken seriously, Price wouldn’t have had to lose his life. Mental illness is an important issue and it is high time for our society to finally take it seriously.
Please note that the English used in this article is American English and hence, the spellings would be a little different.
Also, let me know your thoughts on the case in the comment section down below.