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Book review

The murder of Allison Baden-Clay by David Murray

book cover

Written by investigative journalist David Murray, and published in 2014, The murder of Allison Baden-Clay is a book about (you guessed it), the murder of Allison by her husband Gerard in Brisbane in April 2012. The book largely examines the relationship between the pair and how this deteriorated to the point of homicide. It’s well written, and gives a good overview of the history, the police case and the court procedures, leading up to Gerard’s eventual conviction for murder.

All marriages have their secrets” is the byline, and this book focuses on Allison’s life, both prior to meeting Gerard and after. It’s worth noting that she was a star; confident, friendly, full of life and loved by all that knew her. She certainly wasn’t the same person many years later after three kids with Gerard. The narcissistic Baden-Clay, proud of his heritage with the Scouting movement, led a typical controlling and confident life both professionally and personally. This control however, towards his wife, was kept well under wraps. Well hidden. Despite this, his life spiralled out of control financially, and so did his marriage, after Allison learnt of his long-time affair with workmate Toni McHugh. On top of that, he found himself swimming in massive debts.

The book highlights Allison’s desperate attempt to save their marriage, despite the betrayal of trust, the lies and the emotional abuse. It highlights her struggles.

Another feature of the book is the police case. It’s a great overview of what they did, who they spoke to and the lengths they went to to bring the case against Gerard Baden-Clay. This all culminates in a detailed narrative of the court proceedings. An interesting, and well-put account of the evidence given at court. Reading along, the reader is left still with many questions. Am I the only one who didn’t pick up what happened to the CCTV/traffic camera footage? Perhaps I missed that.

The case against Gerard Baden-Clay was circumstantial. No cause of death. No witnesses. A lot of the evidence was subjective. Sure, he was a serial cheater, control freak, terrible financial manager and out-and-out liar, but did that make him a killer? But the face scratches, and accompanying bruises and scratches on his torso, bought him undone in the end. His story about cutting himself shaving just didn’t wash in the end. The reality was, anyone who saw those injuries simply couldn’t believe they were shaving cuts. But it would only take one from 12 to hang a jury.

A great read and one for those who believe in justice. It could have easily gone the other way.


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