Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is infuriated a sadistic sex monster has been released from jail despite warnings he will kill again.
Mark Richard Lawrence, 58, was let out of Brisbane Correctional Centre early on Monday morning after 36 years behind bars.
He was imprisoned in 1983 for the Boxing Day rape and killing of Julie Anne Muirhead, 29, and kept locked up indefinitely under severe prisoner laws since 2008.
After a dozen tries, the Queensland Supreme Court ruled his release last month and state Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath declined to appeal.
Mr. Dutton told Daily Mail Australia on Monday Lawrence is a ‘dangerous sexual predator’ who should die behind bars.
‘I am deeply disappointed to hear he has been released from custody,’ Mr. Dutton said.
‘There is no form of community detention rigorous enough to keep Queenslanders safe from this criminal.
‘Premier Palaszczuk must clarify to Queenslanders why this has happened and what she is going to do to fix it.’
Daily Mail Australia understands Lawrence has been moved to the Wacol sex offender precinct just up the road from Brisbane Correctional.
Lawrence, then 22, persuaded Julie out of Wolston Park Hospital in Brisbane, where both were involuntary patients at a psychiatric ward, with the promise of beer.
He led her to a riverbank where he strangled her with a tea towel, raped her, and cut her throat with a broken bottle before burning her corpse.
Justice Helen Bowskill ordered his release despite many psychiatrists warning he is ‘very likely to rape and kill another woman.
She was shaken by his agreeing to take anti-libido drugs that reduce his testosterone level, which he started using in 2018.
Lawrence has previously admitted that he had ‘always wanted to murder a girl and told one doctor that he ‘tried to murder his 12-year-old sister.
The Wacol precinct is a halfway house of kinds that is home to some of Queensland’s worst sex offenders as they transition back into society.
Dozens of rapists, pedophiles, and sex-crazed murderers live side-by-side in a series of double-story brick or wooden houses just 2km from a school.
Inhabitants of the ‘Village of the Damned’ are constantly overseen by CCTV and spot checks, tracked by ankle monitors, and held by a wire fence.
They cook their meals in shared kitchens in each house, and numerous have phones, internet, and TV.
But through severe supervision conditions that restrict where and when paroled criminals can leave, the facility is not jailed and is nowhere near as secure.
In 2012, Andrew Clive Ellis fled by cutting off his GPS tracker and was noticed on CCTV getting into a waiting car – though he claimed there was no car and to have walked 30km through bushland.
Ellis then committed a series of crimes including assaulting a female police officer while she was jogging, and was accused of deprivation of liberty and assault occasioning bodily harm.
Lawrence will live there under 59 conditions, including the anti-libido medication until he is judged ready to be released into the rest of society.
Many of his circumstances are not known but some Wacol inhabitants are allowed to attend appointments, go grocery shopping, and even work in the outside world.
Robert John Fardon, one of the most popular criminals, was on a 24-hour curfew but had chaperoned supermarket, medical, and legal excursions.
He also earned a $751 old-age pension in 2013 of which just $95 was paid to Corrective Services in rent.
Farndon’s housemates were Gregory David Kynuna, who committed many rapes including on a six-year-old girl, and serial rapist Farlane George.
He was released in January 2019 after six years at Wacol and shifted into a flat elsewhere in Brisbane, even filmed taking public transport.
Psychiatric reports have for years in no uncertain terms warned against Lawrence seeing the light of day.
At the hearing in March this year, a psychiatrist told the court that there was an undesirable risk he would kill again.
‘Should (Lawrence) reoffend there is potential for the violation behavior to be very serious, namely the committal of a sexually sadistic (killing),’ they said.
Julie’s niece Sarah, 35, said if two psychiatric reports said Lawrence was no longer a threat, she wouldn’t oppose his release.
‘But according to all of the documents submitted to the court, there’s a high-risk someone else will suffer,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘He raped another inmate in jail without any fear of outcomes. He doesn’t care if he ends up in prison again, he just wants to chance to re-offend.’
Sarah’s family is an indication of the horrible consequences of letting Lawrence out of prison.
‘I was born into the aftermath, my family had not even started to recover. Her killing affected every single thing of my childhood, my life,’ she said.
The horrible crime sent her whole family into a downward spiral that ‘shattered’ the lives of four generations and left Sarah’s mum a paranoid wreck.
She was just 10 years old when she found out her aunt had been brutally killed and raped by the depraved sex monster.
Confused as to why she wasn’t authorized to go to sleepovers like her friends, she kept annoying her mum to let her go – until one day her mum just snapped.
‘My mum just stopped the car in the middle of the road and began shouting and crying and said ‘do you know what happened to auntie Julie? This animal he raped her and he killed her’,’ she recalled.
‘There was traffic going all around us beeping their horns and she was just crying uncontrollably into the steering wheel.
‘I can still hear the wobble in her voice and the howling and I didn’t understand.’
Sarah’s first memory as a toddler is her mum failing to resuscitate her grandmother Ann on the bathroom floor after she drowned herself out of grief.
‘I just recall crying and crying and my mum attempting to get the water out of her chest but she couldn’t,’ Sarah said.
Sarah said her mum had a cesarean on January 25, 1985, the day before Julie’s birthday, because she was scared Sarah would be born on the same day.
‘In my mum’s mind that meant something bad would happen to me. From before I was born I never had an opportunity at a normal life because of this man,’ she said.
‘With my birthday the day before it was never a decent birthday because the next day it was hers.
‘And because Julie was killed on Boxing Day, every single Christmas was awful. Everyone was in tears and arguing with each other while attempting to make the day normal – but it never could be.’
Sarah’s dad left her mum while she was pregnant amid the distress of Julie’s death, forcing them to move in with her grandparents.
‘Because I looked so much like Julie growing up, my poor grandfather had to look at me every single day and see his daughter who was gone,’ she said.
‘It made it tough for him to bond with me, he didn’t want to look at me.’
Sarah’s mum was so traumatized by her sister’s killing that she lived in debilitating anxiety that her daughter could suffer the same fate.
‘I was never authorized to go to friends’ houses because my mum was frightened that their fathers or their brothers would do something to me,’ she said.
‘I wasn’t authorized to play out in the street or ride my bike, even in my early teens.
‘I’ve never been able to trust men and never will because I was instructed not to every day for the first 18 years of my life.
‘She told me over and over again that any man could murder me and she would physically keep me away from all the men at any social gathering, even with family, and I had no indication why.’
Now with an 11-year-old daughter of her own, she understands that if she was in her mum’s position, she would have done the exact thing.
But as a teenager, she felt restrained by the constant sadness and left Brisbane with little more than the clothes on her back aged 18.
‘I needed to begin a new life. I have no pictures of myself as a child, I couldn’t have any visual reminders around, it’s the only way I can live my life,’ she said.
Nonetheless, her mum never recovered and was trapped in what Sarah likens to be an ‘invisible prison’, straining relations to breaking point.
‘I don’t even know if my mum is still alive, I haven’t spoken to her since 2016. I know that sounds horrible but my family did shatter,’ she said.
Sarah said she was, with the help of a family psychologist, attempting to give her daughter as close to normal life as possible far from Brisbane in Sydney.
But though the young girl is ‘independent and headstrong’, Sarah said she couldn’t help passing down a ‘hyper-vigilance’ that made her old than her years.
‘She’s always been very familiarised with what’s right and wrong for adults. She’ll tell my spouse or anyone else off if she sees them acting inappropriately,’ she said.
‘One of her friends told her she was raped by a family member and she instantly brought it to me. Other 11-year-olds wouldn’t understand what to do, but she did.’
Lawrence looms as a constant specter over their lives and his dozen tries to be released on parole hurt like a stabbing pain each time.
With a small pool of suspects, it was not long after Julie’s killing before police apprehended Lawrence and elicited a scary confession.
‘I think she was dead before one of us set her alight,’ he said.
Lawrence and his co-accused pleaded guilty to manslaughter, avoiding killing trials, and he was imprisoned for 15 years.
Another seven years were added on when he raped a fellow inmate in his dormitory-style jail in October 1999.
‘Don’t make a noise, because I’ll murder you,’ he said during the rape, and after telling him: ‘I’ll be watching you. And remember, I’m a psychopathic killer.’
By 2008 Lawrence was eligible for parole but administrations used the Dangerous Prisoner (Sexual Offender) Act to lock him up indefinitely.
He appealed many times, even to the High Court, but was rejected until 2014 when the Supreme Court said he should be released under rigid conditions.
Then-Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie successfully appealed and many more bids failed, but last month Justice Helen Bowskill ordered his release.
Justice Bowskill was swayed by Lawrence agreeing to 59 rigid conditions including taking an anti-libido drug that lowered his testosterone.
He took it for a year in 1991 but stopped when he began growing breasts. In 2018 he began it again in the hopes of winning freedom.
‘I was turning into a female,’ he told the court.
‘If it’s got to make us, everyone, safe… I’m pleased to take these medications and abide by the law.’
Lawrence’s severe crimes may go back to 44 years as earlier this year he was hit with a slew of other charges including trying to rape underage boys in 1976-77.
The charges include indecent treatment of boys under 17 assault with a purpose to commit unlawful anal, two counts of attempted sodomy, assault, deprivation of, and two counts of making threats.
Sarah said her desire to keep Lawrence locked up was not to punish him but to stop him from murdering again.
‘My family and I would rather die than see him do this to another woman and their family,’ she said.
‘This isn’t about punishing him, it’s about protecting the population so another family doesn’t go through this. I’m not venomous no matter how much what he did has hurt me.
‘I would be the first person to cry foul if he was being mistreated in prison. If we take their human rights away, we’re no better than them.’
Queensland’s shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki attempted in vain to keep Lawrence behind bars with a letter to Ms. D’Ath last week.
‘The community cannot be enough protected by this criminal’s release on supervision,’ he wrote.
‘He just cannot be believed in the community – under any condition, particularly reliance on this man’s compliance with medication’.
Ms. D’Ath said she had no plans to appeal the ruling, and Lawrence’s release went ahead.
THE BRUTAL MURDER OF JULIE MUIRHEAD
On Boxing Day in 1983, Mark Richard Lawrence persuaded Julie Muirhead from Wolston Park Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in the Queensland suburb of Wacol, and brutally raped her before slashing her throat and burning her corpse.
Ms. Muirhead, 29, was found out on January 4, more than a week after the assault, half-naked and with a tea towel wrapped around her neck.
When her body was discovered badly burned with her underwear around her ankles, her parents had to identify it.
Lawrence and his co-accused pleaded guilty to manslaughter, avoiding killing trials, and he was imprisoned for 15 years.
The sadistic killer was due to be released from prison on February 7, 2008, after serving a further seven-year verdict for the rape of a prisoner in 1999.
Since then his verdict has been extended under laws keeping harmful sex offenders in prison.
MARK LAWRENCE’S CRIMES AND THEIR HORRIBLE RIPPLE EFFECT
In the late 1970s: Lawrence is given a series of slaps on the wrist for attacks on teenagers
December 26, 1983: Back at Wolston, Lawrence rapes and killings Julie Ann Muirhead
1981: Lawrence is sent to Wolston Park Hospital but escapes by holding a knife to a taxi driver’s throat
January 25, 1985: Sarah Muirhead is born the day before her aunt Julie’s birthday
1987: Ann Muirhead, Julie’s distraught mum, drowns herself in the bath
1991: Lawrence briefly flees from prison during an excursion to the tennis
1995: Sarah, aged 10, is told what happened to her aunt
1999: Lawrence is imprisoned for another seven years for raping an inmate
2003: Sarah, aged 18, leaves Brisbane to flee her family’s sadness
July 7, 2008: Lawrence is due for release but is kept in prison by serious offender laws
2014: After many attempts, Supreme Court orders Lawrence to be released and the government appeals
2016: At another appeal, the psychiatrist says that given ‘the slightest degree of freedom’, Lawrence was at a ‘very high risk’ of reoffending
2018: Lawrence starts taking anti-libido medicine to lower sexual urges
Early 2020: Lawrence is charged with trying to rape underage boys from Dec 1976 to July 1977
March 2020: Court hears Lawrence was in danger of committing ‘sexually sadistic’ killings if released
April 2020: Lawrence wins his bid for freedom