Free Beer & Sex
card belonged to one of his killers and that is how they were traced. It seems the man
found the card lying on the ground while preparing for the sex romp that never came .
Thinking it was his he placed it in his shoe.
I last heard of Ms Wigginton when she applied for early release from a life sentence.
Previous parole applications had been turned down. She was, at the time, living in a
prison farm near me.
14 Dangerous company
Back in 1987, three people were taken by crocodiles in northern Australia ... two
of them tourists. It was the year we opened our hostel and we were deeply in
debt to the bank. The thought of tourists being scared off by the attacks was
alarming but we needn't have worried. The publicity did marvels. Australia
joined Africa as an exciting place where people get eaten by wild animals. Of
course, no one expects that to happen to them ... being eaten is what happens to
We lived in Townsville, which is in croc country, and our hostel was next to the
harbour where the dive boats were moored . When I was in the scuba diving industry I
spent a lot of time there. Our customers came on board in the early evening and were
briefed for the trip out to the Great Barrier Reef. We then hung around on deck until
midnight before putting to sea. That way we could cruise out slowly and arrive at the
dive site towards sunrise. I could often be found leaning over the rail, having a beer or
two with my mates, while we waited to leave port.
During the day there was never much sign of life in the murky waters of the harbour.
Night was different. Big things came to the surface and moved around in the dark .
Huge gropers (giant wrasse) lived beneath the wharves and we saw them in the
beams of our spotlights. Telltale fins betrayed the presence of sharks. Sometimes the
creature in the water seemed more reptilian than fish.
Crocodiles were once common in the harbour. Early settlers talked about them.
The evidence suggested they were back. We couldn't be sure and it didn't matter.
Gropers and sharks had a sufficiently sinister reputation. If work had to be done on the
hull of the boat, we waited until we were out in the clear blue waters of the Coral Sea
and did it there.
When I set up the hostel, I forgot about the crocs . Then a commercial diving
academy opened nearby and some of its students stayed with us . They told me about
their course. One part involved underwater navigation in zero-visibility conditions. The
academy was near the harbour and its muddy waters were ideal. I mentioned
crocodiles and the students consulted their notes. Currents and tidal conditions were
discussed in detail but not crocs. Weeks passed. New students arrived and I
continued to talk about the big reptile. Nothing happened and I was beginning to feel
alarmist when everything changed.
"Take a look at that!"
A photograph was pushed under my nose. It wouldn't have won a prize in a
photographic competition but its message was clear. A huge crocodile had plodded