Janine Balding was a lively young woman with big plans for a bright future.
The 20-year-old bank clerk had moved from Wagga Wagga to Sydney, was engaged and had bought a home on the NSW Central Coast with her fiancé.
Soon, they planned to start a family.
But on 8 September, 1988, her future plans were cruelly stolen, along with her life.
That evening, as Janine approached her car at Sutherland Railway Station in Sydney’s south, 14-year-old Bronson Blessington (the youngest of the five youths convicted in relation to the cold-blooded murder) forced her into her vehicle at knife-point.
Matthew Elliot, 16, raped Janine while 15-year-old Wayne Wilmot drove the car and Carol Ann Arrow, also 15, sat in the front seat.
Blessington recently told Fairfax Media’s Good Weekend: “Elliot said, ‘Bronson, have a go’. So I got out and raped her, too.”
— Sean R-Dunlop (@seanrubinsztein) January 31, 2016
After panicking that the woman would identify them, Elliot and Blessington pushed their victim into a paddock, intending to tie her up and leave her there.
“Our feet started sinking in the mud. We saw there was a dam and Matthew [Elliott] said, ‘Let’s drown her’,” Blessington recalls.
As the 14-year-old held the frightened woman under the water, his accomplice punched her in the stomach “so she would swallow water and die quickly”.