Sophie Helen WOODMAN
Age at time of disappearance: 13 years
Height: 170 cm
Sophie was last seen about 7pm in Victoria 21 March 1980 having made arrangements to meet her girlfriend in Queensland. The friend has been located but was not able to assist with the location of Sophie.
May 17, 2008 11:50am
THE condition of convicted child killer Valmae Faye Beck, formerly known as Fay Cramb, has improved and it is believed she is out of a coma.
The Department of Corrective services said Beck was now in a stable condition in the Townsville General Hospital.
Beck was in a medically induced coma following complications with heart surgery.
It is believed she is out of the coma but still not speaking.
Beck and her former husband Barrie Watts were jailed for life in 1987 for the torture and murder of Noosa schoolgirl Sian Kingi.
Cold case detectives want to interview the 64-year-old high security prisoner over more unsolved crimes, hoping for confessions as she faces her own mortality.
Detectives believe the notorious criminal may know the fate of several unsolved cases involving young girls and women across Australia.
In August 1995 a Supreme Court jury in Brisbane acquitted Watts of murder and a lesser charge of manslaughter in relation to the death of a woman whose body has never been found.
Watts pleaded not guilty to murdering Helen Mary Feeney, a 31-year-old student, between October 29 and December 1, 1987.
Beck testified that Watts had dumped Ms Feeney's body and burned it at a rubbish tip near Lowood, west of Brisbane.
But detectives believe the body was actually disposed of elsewhere and Beck knows the location.
Beck has been questioned about the disappearance of 14-year-old Sophie Helen Woodman, who went missing on March 21, 1980, after leaving her Perth home with a girlfriend and travelling to the eastern states.
She and Watts have been linked to the murders of Sharron Phillips, 20, in Brisbane's outer west, Stella Mary Farrugia, 19, and Louise Bell, 10, in Adelaide.
Treatment of morbidly obese Beck sparked a public outcry with Premier Anna Bligh forced to defend her rights to taxpayer-funded health care.
"While I understand that people might have some questions about this, in this country we don't have a death penalty - we do provide medical services to people who are in our prisons,'' Ms Bligh told reporters in Brisbane.
Two prison officers have been posted at Beck's hospital bedside with
concern she may be a target for reprisals rather than posing any threat given
her medical condition.
THE notorious child killer Valmae Faye Beck, formerly known as Fay Cramb, has died in hospital, Queensland's Acting Police Minister, Robert Schwarten, said yesterday.
Beck was admitted to a Townsville hospital earlier this month suffering difficulty in breathing and chest pains.
She was placed in a medically induced coma following complications with heart surgery.
Beck and her former husband Barrie Watts were jailed for life in 1987 for the torture and murder of a Noosa schoolgirl, Sian Kingi.
Detectives, seeking deathbed confessions, were hoping to interview the 64-year-old high-security prisoner over more unsolved crimes.
Detectives believed the notorious criminal may have known the fate of several unsolved cases involving young girls and women across Australia, including the death of Helen Mary Feeney, a 31-year-old student, between October 29 and December 1, 1987.
Beck gave evidence that Watts had dumped Ms Feeney's body and burnt it at a rubbish tip near Lowood, west of Brisbane.
Watts was acquitted of the murder, but police believe Beck knew exactly where Ms Feeney's body was buried.
Today, Mr Schwarten, who is the acting Police Minister while Judy Spence is overseas, confirmed Beck had died in Townsville General Hospital without having regained consciousness.
"She got a life sentence and it turned out to be that," Mr Schwarten said.
"Right until the end, she was of no assistance to police. Harsh as it may sound, and people may judge me on that, I don't think there will be many Queenslanders who would shed a tear in her direction and there would be some who would cheer."
Beck and Watts moved from Western Australia to Queensland when they embarked on an eight-week crime rampage that ended with the abduction, torture, rape and murder of Sian. "There are a number of other unsolved cases that involve similarities to the well-planned killing of Sian," a police source said.
Queensland's Police Commissioner, Bob Atkinson, is expected to give a statement this week on Beck's death.