In June 1993, Elizabeth Stevens, 18, was murdered on her way home from the bus stop. Her death began a seven-week reign of terror for the people of Frankston. A serial killer was on the loose. No one was safe, not young mother, Debbie Fream, 22, taken on a trip to the shops, nor Natalie Russell, 17, murdered on her way home from school. The serial killer, Paul Denyer was captured and sentenced to life in prison. On appeal, he was granted a 30-year minimum sentence. Fast forward 30 years and Denyer has applied for parole. Award winning crime writer Vikki Petraitis was on patrol with police the night the final murder took place. She wrote the bestselling book, The Frankston Murders which has never been out of print. Vikki has revisited the case in a longform podcast to remind the world why Denyer must never be released. The Frankston Murders Podcast uncovers new material and new victims stalked by Denyer in the lead-up to the killings. Vikki interviews prison guards, police officers, family members, and people caught in the periphery of a serial killer.
Created by Vikki Petraitis
Research and writing by Vikki Petraitis
Audio production and scoring by Mike Migas (https://mikemigas.com/)
Audio production by Anthony Telfer
Archive production by Catherine Seccombe/Arcdive (https://www.arcdive.com/)
Archival audio supplied by The Footage Company / Nine Network Australia
Episode 1: In the lead up
The signs were there but no one recognised them as a serial killer in the making. Stalking, ‘accidentally’ ramming women and children with shopping trolleys, pets at the local kindergarten killed and left for the children to find.
Episode 2: Stalking turns to murder
When Elizabeth Stevens left Tasmania, seeking a career in the army, she stayed with relatives, finally settling in Langwarrin to finish her studies. On a cold Friday night in June, her worried aunt and uncle wait for her, but she doesn’t come home.
Episode 3: Attempted abduction
After work Thursday 8 July, Roszsa Toth caught the train home to Seaford. Walking in the dark past the Seaford Reserve, Roszsa saw a man watching her. He suddenly lunged and grabbed her. She fought her way from him and was picked up by a passing car.
Episode 4: A young mother vanishes
Debbie Fream’s new baby was just 12 days old when she invited a friend over for dinner to show him the baby. In the middle of cooking, she ran out of milk and left the friend with the baby while she went to the local store. She never returned.
Episode 5: The investigation
A frantic hunt for Debbie is shadowed by images of her partner Garry and their tiny baby. He begs for Debbie to come home on the nightly news. Four days later, a farmer discovers her body. The public panics and fears of a serial killer grow.
Episode 6: Natalie, the final victim
Natalie Russell was on her way home from school at 2.30 in the afternoon when she was targeted by the serial killer. He had grown cocky and left evidence at the scene that would link him to the murders.
This podcast was so well organized and the stories/interviews/history of each girl was so well done. I highly recommend!!!
This is an exceptional podcast mini-series
I like a lot of listeners consume a lot of true crime. This far and away is the best I’ve ever heard. There was clearly an exceptional amount of interviewing and research put into this and that’s what makes this podcast so good. I most appreciate how the creator of this podcast Vikki Petraitis painstakingly documented the many many encounters the killer had with people before he killed — being a nuisance, harassing, creeping, crowding, offending, tormenting, and terrorizing dozens of people (probably more) over the years he was a free child and man.
I’ve also never listened to a podcast that so profoundly made me care about the victims. For me the story of Elizabeth is the most heartbreaking because my early childhood shared similarities with hers. What a tragedy her work to make a good life for herself as she entered adulthood was destroyed.
Very thought provoking. An exceptional podcast.
Incredibly moving and important story that needed to be told
I’ve listened to many, many true crime series, but very few have been as impactful, as effective, and as compassionately told as this one. At the conclusion I’m left with the families, friends, and the girls’ stories above all else. The story of community and the work of the police, it’s lasting impact on them and the wider community, will be something that stays with me for a long time to come.