Murder Calls Australia


Murder Calls is a crime documentary series investigating extraordinary murder cases from Australia. In each murder case the investigators get a phone call which leads to a key clue…a clue that exposes the murderer. The series is a true-life, accounts of heart-wrenching stories and the unrelenting determination of detectives to solve the case. Produced by Screentime.

Saw a promo during cricket coverage this afternoon. It says the show will premiere in February next year.

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Not to be confused with “Murder Call” the Australian television drama series on the Nine Network between 1997 and 2000 starring Lucy Bell, Peter Mochrie, Glenda Linscott, Geoff Morrell, Jennifer Kent and Gary Day.

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Minor addition to description of this show

“Narrated by Nine’s Leila McKinnon”.

###Murder Calls Australia


From Wednesday 15 February at 8.40pm

Murder Calls Australia, a new, raw and confronting crime series that reveals the shocking truth behind some of the most heinous murders ever committed in this country, premieres Wednesday, February 15, at 8.40pm on Nine.

Narrated by Leila McKinnon, Murder Calls Australia reveals cases that were solved by the power of one of our most innocuous devices – the phone. It gives a never-before-seen or heard insight into the minds of the murderers through crucial phone calls that finally cracked the case and put the killers behind bars.

The series features calls from witnesses, the public, the perpetrators, even eerily from some victims beyond the grave – calls you have never heard before.

Each episode tells the story of one of Australia’s most shocking murder cases. The series features previously unseen interviews with the victims’ families and the police, as well as unearthed crime scene footage and the phone calls that delivered the key piece of information and evidence that brought some of Australia’s worst killers to justice.

Episode one follows the investigation into the murder of multi-millionaire Herman Rockefeller, a devoted husband, father of two and model citizen from the affluent Melbourne suburb of Malvern.

However, unbeknown to his family and friends, the 51-year-old property investor had a dark secret: a hidden double life. His four mobile phones and many aliases took him to the other side of town where his need for sex eventually turned deadly.

When Rockefeller disappeared his family and the police were at a loss. Not a trace of evidence or information came to light until a series of phone calls gave the police the breakthrough they needed. The calls, one from an observant member of the public and another from someone within Rockefeller’s dark and seedy secret world, shocked his family, police and a nation, but they were the key evidential moments that turned the investigation and located his killers.

Murder Calls Australia is produced by Screentime Banijay for the Nine Network.

Given Seven has Murder Uncovered at 9pm Wednesdays (from next week), it means two shows with similar genre will just cannibalise each other. Ten and ABC may benefit from this.

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Another case of copycat programming and in the end it’s the viewers who suffer.

Seriously??? How dumb!

Stupid programming. Hopefully that kills off both quickly.

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Nine haven’t shifted on the timeslot but they could be really worried after Murder Uncovered debuted big.

‘There is a person hidden in the fridge’

Wednesday 8 March at 8.40pm

The third instalment of confronting true-crime series Murder Calls Australia explores one of Sydney’s most gruesome double murders this Wednesday, March 8, at 8.40pm on Nine.

The victims were 34-year-old single gay man, Stephen Dempsey, and 42-year-old Lebanese-Australian father of seven and devoted husband, Ezzedine Bahmad, a taxi driver. It would take the investigators time, patience and a number of vital phone calls before they caught the evil psychopath who killed for thrills.

In a heartfelt, first-time interview, Ezzedine Bahmad’s daughter, Diane, breaks her silence and reveals how her distraught mother learnt that her hard-working husband would never walk through their front door again.
“I thought there was a crazy person out there,” Diane laments in this Murder Calls exclusive.

To this day Diane is still emotionally troubled, especially by the fact that the brutal slaying of her father could have been prevented if the killer’s girlfriend, Denise Shipley, had gone to police about the first murder that her boyfriend committed on Stephen Dempsey.

He told her, “There’s a man in the fridge”, meaning a cut-up body. But instead of telling police, Shipley kept quiet and in fact, unbelievably continued in her relationship with the murderer, Richard Leonard.

Leonard was a 22-year-old ex-abattoir worker with a love of knives, bows and arrows, and out of 122 phone calls made to police his name continually popped up as a potential suspect. He was a psychopath who thought he was much smarter than the detectives chasing him. He thought he could get away with a double murder but incongruously, one of his own phone calls would put him behind bars for the rest of his life – never to be released.

I watched this program last night for the first time and it reminds me of Forensic Investigators that aired on Seven. Last night’s story was done by Forensic Investigators when it was on air. What’s the point of doing it again

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Yeah, I thought it sounded kinda familiar when I watched it earlier today.

All that was needed was Lisa McCune hosting it and you have FI from 13 years earlier. :grin:


Wednesday 15 March at 8.40PM

The fourth instalment of confronting true-crime series Murder Calls Australia explores one of Far North Queensland’s most cold-blooded cases and every parent’s worst nightmare tomorrow night at 8.40pm on Nine.

The victim was 17-year-old schoolboy Gabriel “Gabe” Meyer who had his whole life ahead of him.

On January 12, 1993, Gabe did not return home. Alarm bells rang for police upon discovering the last person to see Gabe alive was Damon Calanca – a suspect in a violent assault and stabbing of a man who was dating Calanca’s ex-girlfriend at the time.

Now just months later, Calanca’s latest romance was with Gabe’s older sister, Fawn, but it had ended badly when she moved to the United States to go to university and told Calanca she would not be coming back and the relationship was over.

But Calanca’s twisted obsession with Fawn was overpowering and it became deadly after Fawn broke off the relationship. He was incapable of accepting rejection and in his deranged mind he was prepared to do anything to get Fawn to return from America to Far North Queensland – even if it meant killing a member of her family.

However, seeing Calanca as a prime suspect, and proving the textbook sociopath was the evil killer, was a difficult job for the Queensland detectives.

Their appeals to the public would lead to many significant calls that had them diving in croc-infested waters, finding eerily empty graves in a rainforest, as well as asking the object of Calanca’s desire – Gabe’s sister – to help trap him in a recorded telephone conversation.

It seemed Calanca was about to get away with murder. And then a phone call came through on Australia Day that would crack the case wide open but also break the heart of a mother.

“They said a body of a young boy had been found,” explained Gabe’s grief-stricken mother, upon learning that her son’s remains had been found near Calanca’s parents’ house.

The calculated killer, Damon Calanca, was sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 13 years.
Had he been convicted for his violent crime of assault, Gabe would be alive today.



The fifth instalment of confronting true-crime series Murder Calls Australia explores a puzzling Melbourne case involving torture, drugs, and greed.

The victim was 56-year-old multi-millionaire and father of three, Peter Shellard, whose partially clothed body was found bound and beaten on the bedroom floor of his North Caulfield mansion. A number of bondage items were found nearby.

His long-term girlfriend Shirley Withers, 38, made the gruesome discovery on May 7, 2005.

Her distraught call to Triple-0 set off a bizarre investigation that had many twists and turns.

Peter Shellard suffered from bipolar disorder and had been involved in many disputes with neighbours and councils. He also had a fetish for bondage and S&M, so there were many avenues to follow.

Then there was Peter’s Will.

While Shirley, his girlfriend of four years, was automatically a suspect, she did not benefit from his death.
In fact, she had witnessed the Will that gave everything to his daughters and a token dollar to each of his ex-wives.

Shirley, it seemed, had been well looked after – Peter had financed a fashion boutique and bought a house for her (although keeping it in his name).

However, when police secretly listened to a phone call made by Shirley they discovered that she had typed another will for Peter – a Will that left everything to her.

Homicide detectives had also looked at his phone records and discovered that only days before his death Peter had called a number of friends, saying that he thought Shirley had been stealing money.

“I got a call from Peter and he sounded scared, fearing for his life,” Peter’s second wife, Liz Shellard, reveals.

Shirley was definitely firming up as her lover’s killer. That was until a fingerprint at the crime scene pointed to someone else: a low-level drug user called Sophia Stoupas and her associate, Stanley Callinicos.

As police were preparing to bring the two in, they overheard another shocking phone call.

Not only did Shirley Withers know who killed Peter, she wanted to kill “the dirty little druggies”.

In a risky move, an undercover police officer took on the role of a hitman.

As a result, police learnt of Shirley’s willingness to have two people murdered, her dark secret, and her involvement in Peter’s death.

Peter’s greedy lover, Shirley Withers, was found guilty of murder but an appeal quashed the finding and she was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a maximum of 13 years with a non-parole period of nine years. She is now out of jail, released on early parole.

Her accomplices received a maximum sentence of six years for manslaughter.



The final episode of true-crime series Murder Calls Australia explores the vengeful and callous assassination of one of Australia’s leading mental health reformists.

The victim was Dr Margaret Tobin, Director of Government Mental Health Services in South Australia, who was blatantly shot four times in the back as she exited a lift in her central Adelaide office on October 14, 2002.

Dr Tobin worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the mentally ill. However she had many disgruntled clients, co-workers and ex-employees who didn’t respond well to her driving force for change.

Incredibly, out of 400 office workers in the building the day Margaret was murdered, not one person witnessed the fatal shooting.

All police had to go on was an identikit of a man with long hair and a beard who was in the lift just before Margaret was shot. But his real identity and his location eluded the detectives assigned to find the brazen killer.

A public appeal gave police their first breakthrough from a phone call. But weirdly, the call was in regard to an incident six months before Dr Tobin’s death – and 2000 kilometres away in Brisbane.

“I heard a strange clattering noise on the ground behind me, and I thought that sounded like a gun,” said Bob Champion, a sound engineer working at the Brisbane Convention Centre where Dr Tobin was a keynote speaker in April 2002.

Bob Champion’s call was hugely significant. It led to Jean Eric Gassy, who had worked as a psychiatrist in New South Wales until his former boss – Dr Margaret Tobin – raised a report about his mental health that caused his deregistration and ended his career. Eric Gassy had been diagnosed as delusional and paranoid. It seemed that Gassy harboured a grudge and had been stalking Dr Tobin for some years, but his opportunity to kill her in Brisbane had been interrupted.

“He had a list … Margaret’s name happened to be at the top,” Dr Tobin’s colleague and friend, Learne Durrington, recounts of the police investigation after searching Gassy’s house.

It was clear that Gassy had a motive, but while the circumstantial evidence mounted – including finding videos of Gassy at a shooting range and numerous guns plus ammunition at his home in Sydney – detectives could not place Gassy in Adelaide at the time of the murder. They desperately needed more.

As police travelled from Sydney to Adelaide looking for evidence that Gassy was on a murderous journey to kill his former boss, they hit gold. A motel owner in NSW believed a man fitting the description had stayed at her motel under a false name.

Though close to an arrest, detectives still needed the final piece of the puzzle – someone must have seen the long-haired, bearded man in Adelaide who may have used a false name at a motel on the day Margaret Tobin was murdered.

And someone did – a man’s call to Crimestoppers clinched the case and led to the arrest of Eric Gassy for the Tobin murder.

Gassy was found guilty and given a life sentence. He will be eligible for parole in 2032.

Both these telephone calls that solved the investigation are featured in the final episode of Murder Calls.

Murder Calls Australia, narrated by Leila McKinnon, explores murder cases that were solved by the power of one of our most innocuous devices – the phone.

Murder Calls Australia is produced by Screentime Banijay for the Nine Network.

Interesting to note the final episode has not been scheduled for WA anytime this week - not sure why.
If (for example) the episode is to be shown on May 31 while other states have game 1 of State of Origin, then WA viewers will have to wait a long time for the broadcast, unless to they go to 9Now.

A post was merged into an existing topic: MasterChef Australia

The episode has already been shown in WA.
They were a week ahead with Murder Calls and Planet Earth due to cricket coverage earlier in the year