WARNING: This post deals with murder and includes graphic details.
As a young girl, Katherine Knight had terrible mood swings. She bullied kids younger than her at Muswellbrook High School, in New South Wales’ Upper Hunter region. She was a loner; an outcast. Legendary for assaulting a younger boy with a knife, students weren’t the only ones that feared her: teachers did too.
When Kathy Knight was a teenager she was known for this singular quality: on a good day she was great, and on a bad day she was evil.
No one knows exactly why Kathy didn’t fit in. It may have had something to do with her dysfunctional childhood: the fact she was born from an adulterous affair; frequently sexually assaulted by several members of her own family; and had grown up watching her father – a violent alcoholic – sexually intimidate, violate, and assault her mother on a daily basis.
Kathy’s mother, with no one else to whom she could turn, confided in Kathy from the time she was a child: she recounted the intimate details of her non-consensual sex life; the awful nature of sex in general; and the repugnance and brutality of all men.
These stories and the bleak picture they painted of adult relationships left an indelible mark on an already troubled and vulnerable child who had herself witnessed countless disturbing incidents of abuse and violence.
In 2000, when she was 45 years old, Knight murdered her fourth husband, John Price. She then skinned him – dangling his skin from meat hooks on the ceiling – and cooked his flesh. The media dubbed her the ‘Female Hannibal Lector’, and on November 8, 2001, Justice Barry O’Keefe sentenced her to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
She was the first and only woman in Australian history to receive such a sentence. And the words “never to be released” are stamped across her papers to this day.