Review - THE MURDER OF ALLISON BADEN-CLAY, David Murray
Many with a passing interest in the news might remember aspects about the case of the murder of Allison Baden-Clay. Unfortunately she is yet another woman, killed by their domestic partner, for reasons which are impossible to justify. David Murray has done an outstanding job in THE MURDER OF ALLISON BADEN-CLAY in relating the stories of both sides of this case without resorting to either sensationalism or conclusion.
Whilst plenty of time is spent looking at the personality, behaviour and family background of Gerard Baden-Clay, equally Murray takes the time to introduce the reader to Allison, something which, unfortunately, is often missing from the reporting of a crime and the subsequent trial. Allison seems to have been a very conscientious and loving woman who was prepared to try to make her marriage survive, despite the serial unfaithfulness of her husband. A classic case of emotional abuse and controlling behaviour the informed manner in which Murray lays out the details of the case make the events even more chilling. The pointers to Gerard Baden-Clay's personality type are there, with the benefit of distance and hindsight, more sobering perhaps because of that. His behaviour post Allison's disappearance was particularly bizarre, and the reader can't help but wonder if that level of lack of awareness of reality is believable. Which, obviously, it is. Here is a man after all that callously dumped his wife's body, pretended he had no idea what had happened or where she was, stayed away from the massive search looking for her, tried to maintain his control over his daughters and basically acted like nothing was his fault / nothing would ever touch him.
From the outset he's clearly a narcissistic personality type, the theory and attributes of which Murray expands on at the end of the book. It's not just Allison that he seems to have been able to deceive though, although the unravelling of his business relationships happened pretty rapidly, and about the time in which his relationship with Allison started to experience some real pressure from her. Having said that, the idea that a man like Baden-Clay could attract another woman (his long-term mistress), who remained faithful even without the complications of children to support and financial / social ties that bind, is discomforting to say the least.
Murray has approached the subject matter of THE MURDER OF ALLISON BADEN-CLAY with care and respect. He looks at all the aspects of what makes a man not just kill his wife, but dump her body so disrespectfully, and then behave in such a callous and calculating manner, but he remembers to give the victim a profile, and her grieving family and friends a voice. Worth reading if you're at all interested in some insight into the shameful level of domestic violence cases occurring with horrific regularity in Australia.
How did a father with no criminal history come to be on trial for the brutal murder of his wife? All marriages have their secrets. Things started to unravel for Gerard Baden-Clay the night his wife Allison vanished. Within days everything private would become public.
Behind the façade of happiness their life together was riven with debt, infidelity, unfulfilled dreams, and bitter jealousy. It began with a phone call to police in Brisbane on April 20, 2012. Gerard wanted to report his wife missing. When officers arrived to investigate, they found the real estate agent neatly dressed for work. Weeping welts on the side of his face were simply shaving cuts, he told them. Police weren’t so sure and opened the book on one of Australia’s biggest-ever missing persons investigations, conducted in the heart of one of Brisbane’s wealthiest suburbs. The Baden-Clays had been married 14 years. They had three young daughters and were prominent figures within their well-heeled community. Gerard was the great grandson of Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell, president of the local chamber of commerce, and vice-president of the school P & C. His wife Allison was a one-time beauty queen who spoke six languages and was global human resources manager for a travel firm when she gave it all away to marry the man of her dreams. Together they made their home in Brookfield, an idyllic semi-rural suburb, but all was not as it seemed. 10 days after Gerard reported her missing, Allison’s body was discovered on a creek bank 14km from her home.
This is the definitive story of a crime that captured the nation—the unbelievable twists, turns, secrets, and lies. Written by the journalist who covered the case from the outset, it weaves together exclusive interviews and police and court records to explain how a father with no criminal history came to be on trial for a brutal murder. It’s a story about love, lust, image, ambition, and marriage, and about every day choices and their consequences.