What he said about the rape, murder of which he was convicted

Picture taken 2012

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The Central Land Council says in an obituary about a former chairman that “he always maintained he did not commit” the rape and murder of nine-year-old Mary Hattam near Ceduna in December 1958.

 

This is incorrect. Rupert Maxwell Stuart (pictured two years ago) said in my presence in 1975, words to the effect: “I was too drunk to remember. But if I killed her I have surely paid for it.”

 

I was producing a television documentary for the Ten Network. Mr Stuart was being interviewed by a reporter engaged by me, and I was the cameraman.

 

We were filming at night, around a campfire, in an outdoor location south of Alice Springs, chosen by Mr Stuart.

 

I recently tried to obtain a copy of that documentary from Ten but is seems the network does not have one, and its archive is incomplete, I was told.

 

At the time of filming Mr Stuart had recently been paroled to Santa Teresa. His prison sentence had been commuted after 14 years. He was initially sentenced to death, and endured seven stays of execution.

 

The police investigation was alleged to have been seriously flawed, including producing a written statement of a kind semi-literate Mr Stuart could not have written nor formulated.

 

The Adelaide newspaper The News, its editor Rohan Rivett and its owner Rupert Murdoch took up Stuart’s cause along with priest Tom Dixon.

 

Mr Stuart, who chaired the Central Land Council between 1997 and 2001, passed away on Friday, 14 November, in Alice Springs.

 

 

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4 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Mary
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Check the evidence for DNA. They will find it to belong to a white person and not an Australian Aborigine.
    Check the court files.
    The one seen coming back from the beach hiding behind the bushes was the local paedophile and will be listed a B,VN.
    Police need to satisfy the public because the police got it wrong.

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  2. Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    The footprint that told the tracker “he walked among white men” was the clue that would prove Mr. Stuart did not commit the crime.
    The footprint was a shoe footprint and Aboriginals generally did not wear shoes in the era of the crime.

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  3. DLP
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    The Police have been given the name of a suspect who on that fateful day was seen hiding behind bushes as he made his way from the beach to his home at Thevenard.
    He was later found guilty of sexual assault to children. Police stated they will not pursue the information because it would not benefit anyone. Rupert Maxwell Stewart was still alive then and so too was the additional suspect.

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  4. Jones
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Stuart got off because of procedural faults in the investigation that collected evidence against him.
    There was no other suspect and he repeatedly made verbal confessions.
    The police tried to collect written evidence of his guilt but their clumsy attempt to do that eventually led to his release from jail.
    It was much later in his life that he started to deny his guilt.

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