Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Australian Story -

View in ParlView

This week's program continues the baffling case of Jeffrey Gilham, currently serving a life
sentence for the murders of his own parents in Sydney nearly twenty years ago.

Jeffrey Gilham was a free man for fifteen years after receiving a good behaviour bond for the
manslaughter of his brother, Christopher, whom he claimed had killed their parents.

But his uncle Tony Gilham became suspicious and waged a determined campaign for more than a decade
to convict his nephew for all three deaths.

Tony Gilham is certain justice has now been served, but Jeffrey Gilham's wife Robecca and other
supporters are contesting the verdict and an appeal will be heard next month.

CAROLINE JONES, PRESENTER: Hello, I'm Caroline Jones. Tonight we continue the still unfolding story
of Jeffrey Gilham, in jail for life after the frenzied stabbing murders of his parents and older
brother Christopher. Jeffrey Gilham was at liberty for fifteen years after receiving a good
behaviour bond for the manslaughter of Christopher, who he claimed had killed their parents. But
his uncle Tony Gilham became suspicious and waged a determined campaign for more than a decade to
put his nephew behind bars for all three killings. Tony Gilham is certain that justice has been
served, but Jeffrey Gilham's wife Robecca and other supporters are contesting the verdict, and an
appeal will be heard next month. We begin with this re-cap.

(Excerpt from recording of Jeffrey Gilham's 000 call)


JEFFREY GILHAM (breathless): Mum called me, called me...

OPERATOR: Right...

JEFFREY GILHAM: He killed- killed them, I don't know why. Set them alight and...

(End of excerpt)

POLICEMAN (28 August, 1993): At this stage it would appear the bodies have suffered stab wounds.

AARON LE CLERC, FRIEND: The first time that I heard that Christopher had murdered the parents and
then Jeff had killed Christopher, I just couldn't believe it.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: I think Jeff was really horrified at himself for having killed Christopher. I
think he was really frightened by the fact that he could do this.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Jeffrey fooled everybody for three years. He's still fooling some people even
to this day.

SONYA NOLAN, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP RESEARCHER: Then it was possible to discuss the estate. And
that's when things started to change for the Gilham family.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: That's when the red light went off and I started thinking, 'Well he's really
after money'.

(Excerpt from police video of the crime scene walk through)

DETECTIVE: Is this the knife that you stabbed your brother with?


(End of excerpt)

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: I was compelled to go to the detective who was in charge of the case and he
said that, 'Oh we believe he murdered all three of them.'


TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: It wasn't till '96 that I found out the true story of what took place on the
night of the murders. Jeffrey did a horrendous thing. I immediately started writing letters to the
DPP (Department of Public Prosecutions). They told me that there was insufficient evidence to
convict and they refused to help me. That's when I went to 60 Minutes

(Excerpts from 60 Minutes, Nine Network, November 1997 interspersed with commentary)

JEFF MCMULLAN, 60 MINUTES: Four years ago in Sydney three members of one family were brutally
stabbed to death...

(End of excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: By the time the 60 Minutes program aired in November 1997, Jeff and I were in
a committed relationship.

(Excerpt continues)

JEFF MCMULLAN, 60 MINUTES: Do you believe Christopher was capable of murdering his parents?

JESSIE GILHAM, GRANDMOTHER: No, no. He was a lovely chap. He was really... beautiful personality.
Lovely - no, no malice, nothing like that.

(End of excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: In the program Richard and Tony Gilham appeared with their mother, Jessie
Gilham. And various experts appeared. They gave evidence on stab wounds and fire. It was horrible.
It was really horrible.

(Excerpt continues)

JEFF MCMULLAN, 60 MINUTES: When you look at the stab wounds to these three dead people, is it
probable that there were two killers or just one killer?

DR OATLEE, FORENSIC EXPERT: I think the probability is that there was one killer.

(End of excerpt)

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Helen had 17 stab wounds. Christopher miraculously had also 17 stab wounds and
my brother had 28. My view of that is that the chances of two brothers going into a stabbing frenzy
and two victims having the same amount of stab wounds, and the similarity of them is impossible to

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: Two brothers didn't go into a homicidal frenzy on the same night. One brother
had a homicidal frenzy and the other brother reacted in tragic circumstances.

(Excerpt continues)

JEFF MCMULLAN, 60 MINUTES: The new evidence we've presented and the concerns of some members of the
Gilham family appear to us to warrant an official inquiry.

(End of excerpt)

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: After 60 Minutes went to air, I was hoping for an enquiry or re-investigation
to happen quickly. And I, at the time I was just bashing my head against a brick wall, and I was
determined to make it happen.

(Excerpt from Robecca and Jeff's wedding video)

CELEBRANT: We are here not only to witness their commitment to each other but also to wish them
every happiness in their life together...

(End of excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: When Jeff and I got married in March of 2000, all of Jeff's mother's siblings
and their partners came, all of our friends. It was a beautiful day. I was pleased because Jeff had
been sentenced for the death of his brother. He'd served his good behaviour bond and I thought the
legal proceedings were all behind us and life could move on.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: I was determined to get him before a judge and jury because I knew strong
pieces of evidence would convict him. And I was not going to give up.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: Just a month after we were married in April, there was a coronial inquest.

(Excerpt from police video of crime scene walk through, 28 August 1993)

DETECTIVE: Can you identify that knife?

JEFFREY GILHAM: Yes, that's the knife.

(End of excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: It emerged that the police had lost or destroyed the significant pieces of
evidence - the knife was gone, fingernail clippings from Christopher, which may have indicated
blood under his right hand, had gone. None of these things that could be useful to Jeff were
available to be tested.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Well, I found Jeffrey evasive under questioning. He refused to answer certain
questions under counsel advice.

(Excerpt from ABC News report, April 2000)

NICK GRIMM, REPORTER: The inquest was told forensic evidence indicated Mr Gilham had killed all
three. The case has now been referred to the New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions and
it's his job to determine whether criminal charges should now be laid...

(End of excerpt)

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: The DPP refused to prosecute, saying that there was insufficient evidence to

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: Tony Gilham wasn't happy with this, and he then decided to take matters into
his own hands and launched a private prosecution of Jeff for the murder of his parents. Then the
DPP stepped in and took the matter over and closed it down.

(Archival footage of Tony Gilham at private prosecution, June 2001)

REPORTER: So what do you do now?

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Well, what I wish to do is offer a $200,000 reward for more evidence to come

REPORTER: Tony, until there's new evidence, this case can go no further. Is that correct?

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: That's correct.

(End of excerpt)

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: I did go a little bit crazy. I then had a sign put on the back windscreen of my
car and parked it out the front of the DPP and it read 'The DPP is protecting a mass killer by the
name of Jeffrey Gilham'. Even though I offered a $200,000 reward, no one ever claimed it. But a
neighbour and a fire investigator came forward with more information and that's, and that's what
triggered a police re-investigation. The lead detective for the new homicide re-investigation was
Hans Rupp and he did a fantastic job. He came up with a fantastic brief of evidence. It was hard to
establish a motive for the murders but I think Jeffrey got this extreme hatred for his parents
because they were so tight with their money - and he was moving in the sailing fraternity where
most people were fairly well off. And I think that's what triggered the whole scenario.

AARON LE CLERC, FRIEND: People say that Jeff has got a big boat and has access to a lot of money.
And that's completely untrue. He had the family trailer-sailer, which was very old but was Jeff's
father's pride and joy. And it had a lot of significance to Jeff because there was a lot of
memories of the family in that boat. And I've never seen Jeff indicate in any way that he wanted to
make financial gain in anything he's done. Money has never been his priority. Jeff bought a house
that was convenient for Robecca's family. And the house was very run down - small house - and he's
put a lot of work into renovating that house. And in fact the renovation's still ongoing.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: By this stage Jeff and I had started a family and we would go on to have
three daughters. Our family life was really perfect. On the 26th of February 2006 Jeff was served
for an ex officio indictment for the murder of his parents (chokes up). I was thirty-eight weeks
pregnant with our second child. He came home at lunchtime and asked me to sit down. It was
devastating. Obviously he was worried. He was terrified. He was completely shell-shocked. He never
thought it was possible.

(Excerpt from ABC News report, February 2008)

JUANITA PHILLIPS, NEWSREADER: A Sydney court has heard how a student murdered his parents and
brother in a stabbing frenzy then set fire to their house to destroy the evidence. Jeffrey Gilham
has pleaded not guilty to two counts for murder, accusing his dead brother of killing their

(End of excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: Jeff was on bail for two years. The case eventually got to court in February
2008, and it ended with a hung jury.

(Excerpt continues)

REPORTER: Jeffrey, is it just a coincidence that all three members of your family were killed in
the same way on the same night?

(No response)

(End of excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: Later in the year, there was a second trial and this time no motive was given
in the prosecution case.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: The prosecution case was very strong, whereas Jeffrey's performance was, to me,
very unconvincing. He couldn't remember certain pieces of evidence like whether the lights were on
in the house at the time of the murders, but he could remember Christopher fighting with his
father. He definitely remembered that.

(Excerpt from ABC News report - November 2008)

JUANITA PHILLIPS, NEWSREADER: After fifteen years and two trials, Jeffrey Gilham has been found
guilty of the stabbing murders of his parents.

(Shot of Jeff Gilham being lead away in handcuffs)

REPORTER: Are you sorry for killing your parents Mr Gilham? Do you have any final words?

(End excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: The jury deliberated for eight and a half days. I don't remember what
happened between the delivery of the verdict and Jeff leaving the courtroom. I remember being close
enough to see him taken... (crying)

(Excerpt continues - Tony Gilham surrounded by reporters outside the court, camera shutters click)

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: I've got um Christopher's medal, I've been wearing.

(Shows a gold medal)

That's Christopher.

REPORTER: What's the medal for?

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Fencing. He went to his grave as a convicted killer of his parents, which is
not true. And that's why I've been doing this - to clear, to clear Christopher's name.

DETECTIVE HANS RUPP: Tony Gilham has fought this for fifteen years so it's great to see some
justice for Tony.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE (Shaking Hans Rupp's hands): Thank you.

DETECTIVE HANS RUPP: Thank you very much...

(End of excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: Our third child was born just two weeks before the second trial. My middle
child was two-and-a-half, and my baby was nine weeks old. So my six-year-old was the only one that
was old enough to appreciate what I told her. I said there'd been a dreadful mistake and Daddy
wouldn't be coming home for a long time. And she said to me, "Will he be home by next Friday,
Mummy?" Jeff was sentenced to two life sentences for the death of both of his parents. In this
State, life means life.

JILL GATLAND, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP LAWYER: I have a legal background. When Jeff was convicted I
undertook to Robecca to read through the transcript of trial. And I did that with a pretty open
mind. I read all the evidence that went through to the jury as well as all of the evidentiary
arguments that the jury didn't see. I think that Jeff has been the victim of a terrible miscarriage
of justice. The fact that we have two trials in 2008 - one with a hung jury and one with a jury
that took eight days to reach a verdict - indicates very strongly that this is by no means a
clear-cut, easy case. So we set up a support group to look towards working on issues for an appeal.
The core group of people who actively work on the case is about twenty. And the common thread is
that they have known Jeff and Robecca for a very long time.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: I think Jeffrey's support group are completely delusional and grasping at
straws. They've been conned exactly the same way that I was conned. And also, Jeffrey was setting
his brother up. Three weeks before the murders he was telling his friends and girlfriend that um
Christopher was fighting with his father, and that, that shows the premeditation of the event.
Jeffrey's story was fanciful, and the Crown presented fourteen separate points that went to proving
his guilt. He killed his father Stephen first, then his mother Helen and then his brother
Christopher. I think he washed himself to remove blood and then also wiped the murder weapon clean
of fingerprints and blood also. There was also a syringe with Panadol paste. I believe that Jeffrey
used this to make it look like Christopher was going to commit suicide. At some point he went
looking for an accelerant. He tried siphoning fuel from the car. That failed. He then found a
number of bottles of turps. He then set fire to his parents' body and other parts of the lounge
room to destroy evidence and then waited for that to take hold before going to the neighbour's
house to raise the alarm.

JILL GATLAND, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP LAWYER: The case against Jeff is circumstantial. The issues
are very complex, and there's a lot of arguable detail.

(Excerpt of computer animation of the crime scene showing the rooms from above and the red figures
of a man standing over a bed with two people in it)

TIM SPENCER, ANIMATOR: Now this is a scale representation of the crime scene. The alternative
theory says that Chris attacked his father first and the screams could be heard across the road,
some fifty metres.

(End of excerpt)

JILL GATLAND, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP LAWYER: We think Christopher killed Stephen first and that the
attack on his mother Helen happened in two stages. Christopher probably thought he'd killed Helen,
and then we think he went downstairs and had a shower to wash off the blood. In the crime scene
photograph, he seems to have soap in his ear. And his glasses have been left on the bathroom ledge,
near the window. And then we think he heard Helen, when she was calling Jeff on the intercom. So he
raced back to his bedroom. He threw his towel down in a hurry and grabbed a dressing gown, or a
shave coat. There's a towel with his name monogrammed on it found rolled up in a ball in the
bedroom. We think Christopher ran back upstairs and found Helen at the intercom and realised she
wasn't dead, and that's when he attacked her for a second time. And that's when Jeff came in.
Picked up the knife and chased Christopher, killing him.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: We know neighbours heard guttural screams before 4 am. That was when the
murders were taking place. The Triple O call was made at 4:34 am, so there's a half an hour. And
for Jeffrey's story to be true, his mother would have had at least been alive for twenty minutes
before making a call over the intercom to Jeffrey in the boatshed, with serious stab wounds to
herself. Now, I don't think so.

SONYA NOLAN, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP RESEARCHER: Because of Robecca's limited budget, she hasn't got
the resources to get this professionally investigated. So she relies on the group to do the
groundwork. Once we get a sense of that, then the information's discussed with the lawyers and then
we can go to the experts.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: There are concerns with all of the areas of expert evidence. We've found that
key witness statements have materially changed over the years, as well as new witnesses have come
forward with differing eyewitness accounts - some up to twelve years after the event. Jeff's
lawyers have filed eighteen grounds on which they are appealing against his conviction. Ten of
these are supported by evidence that was not presented to the jury at Jeff's trial.

PAULA MACKIE, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP RESEARCHER: I have a science background so a lot of the work
I've done with the support group has been looking at the scientific evidence. When watching the
crime scene video for the first time I observed the process of the investigator pointing at key
items. It seemed quite evident that there was a bloodied fingerprint mark right next to the call
button on the intercom. And I was absolutely shocked to see this gloved finger wipe across that,
that bloodied fingerprint.

JILL GATLAND, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP LAWYER: According to the Crown scenario, there would be no
call from Helen to Jeff on the intercom because Jeff was up there and attacking Helen.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Even if it is a fingerprint, it could be Helen not going for the intercom but
going for the phone to call police - not Jeffrey because Jeffrey's already there murdering her.

JILL GATLAND, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP LAWYER: The prosecution went to extraordinary lengths to
present evidence that there was some kind of pattern or similarity between the wounds inflicted on
Helen and Steve, and those inflicted on Christopher. The jury were shown diagrams. When we looked
at them, they have no scale. They have no accuracy in respect of the actual wounds inflicted on
each of the victims. Some fundamental differences include the fact that both Helen and Steve
received slash wounds to their necks, whereas Christopher does not have any slash wound to his
neck. The orientation of the stabs is quite different. Helen and Stephen both received stab wounds
which are more or less up and down. They're vertical. The lion's share of Christopher's wounds are

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Now you can't say the stab wounds were identical but they're so damn close,
it's not funny. So why would two different murderers be so uniquely similar? The chance of that
happening is astronomical. There were just too many unanswered questions and things that just
didn't make sense, and one of them was to do with the fire.

(Excerpt from police video of crime scene walk though, 28 August 1993)

DETECTIVE: Did you use that hose last night?

JEFFREY GILHAM: Yeah, me and my father used that hose last night.

(End of excerpt)

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Jeffrey told police that he and his father siphoned petrol from a car at
approximately ten o'clock or eleven o'clock the previous night to use for a boat the next day. But
the only problem with that is that my brother was playing golf the next day so he had no need for
the boat. And why would you be siphoning petrol out of a car - which is a hard thing to do anyway -
late at night in the middle of winter?

JILL GATLAND, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP LAWYER: The samples taken from the crime scene indicate that
there was only mineral turpentine used as an accelerant in the fire. Nonetheless, there's a litre
of petrol in that jerry can - a highly volatile accelerant. There's a real question as to why Jeff
would not have used the petrol that was in the jerry can anyway in attempting to burn down the
house, if in fact he had anything to do with the fire.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Maybe he thought it was too volatile or he didn't have enough. But how do you
explain the fumes on Jeffrey's breath? In the autopsy of Christopher there was no, no mention of
any fumes in his lungs, so in other words the only one smelling of accelerant is Jeffrey.

SONYA NOLAN, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP RESEARCHER: In 1993 a neighbour said there was a
smokey-keroseney smell on Jeff's breath, but no witness back then said they smelt petrol. The only
evidence that Jeff smelt of petrol came from a fireman who made a statement twelve years later in
2005. Now, he says he was in close proximity with Jeff for an instant and it's during this time
that he made that observation.

JILL GATLAND, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP LAWYER: There are a number of points relating to the fire at
the Gilham home that are being challenged. For me, the most compelling is to do with carbon
monoxide. When people are killed in a fire, one of the checks that's undertaken to determine
whether or not they were dead before the fire started or after is to check their level of carbon
monoxide in their bloodstream. Now the normal level for non-smokers of carbon monoxide is between
0.5 and 2 per cent. All of the Gilhams who died that night had levels higher than this. But
Christopher Gilham - who uniquely died well away from the fire and was in no way burnt - had the
highest level of carbon monoxide of all. He had a level of 6 per cent. At the trial, it was said
that anything under 10 per cent was not significant. Our research contradicts this. I think 6 per
cent means Christopher must have been alive and near the fire for at least a short time.

PAULA MACKIE, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP RESEARCHER: The Crown's case is that Christopher was
downstairs and dead some time before the fire was started upstairs. If that is true, how can we
explain the six per cent level of carbon monoxide and the fact that Christopher has inhaled smoke
prior to his death? It is completely consistent that he has inhaled smoke in Jeff's story.

SONYA NOLAN, FRIEND & SUPPORT GROUP RESEARCHER: I can see that people might think that it is
feasible that either Christopher or Jeff are responsible for the deaths of Helen and Stephen.
Mainly because all of the physical evidence has been destroyed so it's impossible to definitively
rule either of them out. And I believe that with our new discoveries we now have a level of
reasonable doubt. And I- I think it points to Jeff being innocent.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Jeffrey committed one of the most vicious, worst crimes in New South Wales
history. He exterminated his- his whole family and the judge sentenced him never to be released and
that's exactly what I want. I want him never to be released and I want him to die in jail.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: Jeff's now located in Goulburn jail. It's about two and a half hours drive
from where we live in Sydney. We probably visit most weekends. I think our family is Jeff's world.
He's extremely close to our girls. They adore him. It's completely devastating. He's my life
partner. I have a relationship that many people probably wouldn't have the chance to know in a
lifetime, and it's incredibly special. If I believed that Jeff was guilty, I'd be the last person
to support him and in fact I think I'd be the person most angered by having been misled for all
these years. I guess I reject outright the possibility that he could never be released. I don't
think I'll ever be able to accept it. I never will accept it.


In 1996 Jeffrey Gilham inherited his parents' estate, then valued between $800,000 and $900,000.

He made a $35,000 lump sum payment to his grandmother Jessie, who was also provided with
accommodation under the will. She died in 2003.

The appeal against Jeffrey Gilham's conviction and sentence begins in late November.