I wanted to give voice to the victims
Laurie has interviewed forensic pathologists, lawyers and homicide detectives, but has also spoken to the families of the victims. After spending time with the institute team, Laurie said she would describe the relationship between forensic workers and the victims and the families of the victims as “intimate.” “And yet the families don’t know them – I thought it was rather beautiful, in a macabre way.”
Many of the cases the institute’s experts talk about are high-profile crimes straight into the headlines – such as the murders of Eurydice Dixon and Aya Maasarwe and the serial killer Frankston – but those interviewed by Laurie do not make the news themselves, their work sometimes involving scenarios that most would not have imagined.
In a chapter on cricketer David Hookes, who died after an altercation with a pub bouncer in 2004, Laurie meets homicide investigating detective Charlie Bezzina, who faced a unique challenge when the decision was made. taken to remove Hookes from breathing assistance. Hookes was an avid organ donor, but Bezzina needed an autopsy for the investigation. Somehow, Bezzina was able to negotiate with Hookes’ family, the donor tissue bank, and the Director of Public Prosecutions to agree to the unusual arrangement of a VIFM pathologist performing a partial autopsy. during the organ harvesting process.
Something I had never considered would be necessary – or possible. “I had no idea either until I talked to Charlie,” Laurie said. “I don’t think even he knew you could do this, until he faced this dilemma.” He had to get it out of his behind! It shows that part of being a homicide detective is having that creative brain that solves problems. “
Other chapters shed light on different aspects of forensic science, such as the work of associate professor Richard Bassed, who spent months helping to identify hundreds of victims of the 2002 tsunami; forensic anthropologist Soren Blau, who uses both anthropology and archeology to solve war crimes and mass grave excavations; and VIFM deputy director David Ranson, who was tasked with identifying bodies at the crash site of Malaysian airline flight MH17 after it was shot down over Ukraine in 2014.
Then come the interviews with Marite and Anthony Maslin, whose three children were killed on flight MH17, which Laurie describes as “incredible”.
“And they really wanted to be involved. They wanted to read every word, so sometimes I would say to them, “OK, this is a little difficult, this is the crash site, are you sure?” And they were like, ‘We don’t want somebody else to read it for us, we have to do it,’ ”she said. “They speak openly about the fact that they made the decision to move on with their lives, and that’s why they wanted to participate in the book.”
True crime has fascinated Laurie since her childhood.
“It’s common among people who are interested in it – a lot of us were reading about it when we were 11 or 12 years old. serial killer Ted Bundy, The stranger next to me.
There was no particular crime that got her hooked, just “all the genre and the crime investigation”. However, she was never tempted to be a detective herself. “I like to test my own mind when reading a book, trying to think about a crime myself, but I’m a terrible detective.”
Real crime never really went out of fashion, but it has certainly boomed since podcasts took off – and it’s both driven by women and more popular with women. “My theory is that most of the victims are women, and we are told from the day we are born that we are likely to be victims of a crime, and it will probably be our fault if we are … I think that ‘there’s a part of us that feels like we’re almost… doing research, ”says Laurie. “No blame for the victim, but saying, ‘OK, she was a smart woman, how did this happen to her, what should I watch out for? I think… it sheds light on these things, makes you think, “My God, these things happen a lot, or these systems often fail us.” That’s what I like about real crime.
She and Webb insist that The real Australian crime don’t just “tell other people’s stories” or just use the abusers’ point of view. They are interested, she said, in the accounts of victims and investigators.
And although they don’t try to solve crimes, the show drew “interesting denunciations.”
“We get a lot of them! Most are nothing, but we’ve passed on a few that have been helpful. “
Laurie briefly returned to radio earlier this year to cover someone’s maternity leave, but she has definitely left the world of high-profile, high-paying commercial radio.
She and her business partner started a production company creating podcasts ranging from pop culture podcasts to others for nonprofits such as the veteran support organization Soldier On, and Calmy Farm, which offers wellness tips from comedians and other entertainment personalities.
“I’ve made a living from podcasting for years now, although most people don’t,” she says. The real Australian crime gets over a million downloads per month and now attracts reputable sponsors. “It’s not as lucrative as the breakfast radio, but I couldn’t do it anymore.”
Getting up at 4 am every day became “impossible” as her children grew older. “And, honestly, it gets to a point where you don’t need to make that kind of money anymore. The lifestyle is better and we have enough money for the three of us, ”says Laurie (she and her husband Adrian reconciled a few years ago after they separated but have become a“ victim of the lockdown. last year. ”“ I have a theory that COVID sheds light on things that were already there, and it sheds light on us that, no, we’re better apart.
One of the few advantages of Zoom is the glares it can offer of other people’s home life. Laurie is invited to see my daughter’s poetry at home school, while I admire several portraits behind Laurie’s desk.
“This is what I do to stay sane. I started in the first lockdown because I wanted to stop drinking – well, stop doing too much, ”she says. “I hadn’t painted for about 20 years, but I bought myself some paints and threw them all over the place. I am doing much better than I was last year. I think I might even have an exhibition.
She also reveals that she has 10 cats – that’s not a typo – but unfortunately none make an appearance. “When I stopped working, I told the kids we could start welcoming cats,” she says. “But we don’t always let them go …”
While stuck at home, Laurie is working on her next two books – also on real crime. For someone so immersed in the underworld and often in ghoulish stories, she is surprisingly upbeat and positive.
“I think meeting victims of crime and families of victims, you meet a lot of great, positive people who lead such thoughtful and deliberate lives,” she says. “Also, being Buddhists, we are encouraged to meditate on death every day – because Buddha believed that it is only when you truly accept death that you can truly accept life.”
CSI told you lies (Penguin) is out now.
THE CHECK, PLEASE
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