One of South Australia’s worst mass murderers was living in the community for decades, after only serving 8 years for the massacre of his family in 1971.
The Sunday Mail has a fascinating insight into the mysterious disappearance of Clifford Bartholomew, who changed his name to Clifford Palmer upon his release from prison and moved to Victoria and then on to Queensland in 1990.
Bartholomew’s niece, Noeleen Paltridge (55) only found out last week that “Uncle Barty”, the man she’s been living in fear of, died back in 2002 at the age of 71.
“I’m glad he’s dead but there are a lot of questions I’d have liked to have asked him, face-to-face,” said Ms Paltridge, who still has regular nightmares about the killer.
“I just hope he died a horrible death like my family did” she also told The Sunday Mail.
“I hope his last few years were miserable and he died painfully of asbestosis or something.”
Initially sentenced to hang for his heartless butchery, Bartholomew had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment by the Dunstan government, which was opposed to capital punishment.
But the decision by the South Australian Parole Board, led by Dame Roma Mitchell, to release him after less than eight years caused outrage in the community.
Bartholomew remarried, but it’s unclear whether he told his second wife about his past. It is understood she died 10 years later.