KILLING JODIE - Janet Fife-Yeomans

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

I've been meaning to pick up KILLING JODIE since a friend, who knows her True Crime mentioned the book in glowing terms.  I can see what she meant.  This book probably told me more about the frustrations of investigating crimes and illustrated the dedication of members of Police more than any other True Crime book I've read in a while.  It also provides a very poignant reminder that murder can devastate the lives of more than just the immediate victim(s).

The book is the story of the investigation into the activities of one Daryl Suckling.  Accused of rape and kidnap, the tale that unfolds around Suckling's seeming luck in evading conviction is breathtaking (and not in a good way).  The way that the original investigators stayed with the fate of Jodie Larcombe for as long as they did really was a profoundly reassuring aspect of this book.  Extremely well written, the author, Janet Fife-Yeomans tells the story, she doesn't overtly editorialise, there's no overarching sign of her own voice in the book.  The story is told carefully and sensitively, informatively and illustratively without the need to direct a reader's conclusions, emotions or reactions.  The events do that perfectly well for themselves.


Daryl Suckling's arrest in remote NSW in the late 1980s revealed his disturbing connections with the disappearance of Jodie Larcombe from Melbourne. Charged with the murder of Jodie, then a sex worker on St Kilda's streets, Suckling was allowed to walk free, as police investigators struggled to prove a homicide without a body. He'd previously escaped conviction more than once after brutally abducting several women.

Frustrated by legal obstacles and bad luck, one officer resigned from the force in disgust, but the case was never forgotten and investigators closed in as Suckling stalked his next victim. The grisly murder linked St Kilda with the lonely, windswept sandhills of the NSW outback near Mildura, and brought two hardened policemen close to a brave family pushed to breaking point - in the end, it was too much for Jodie's mother, who committed suicide when Suckling appealed his eventual conviction. 

Suckling is now one of 15 prisoners serving life in NSW, never to be released.

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