Monday, June 1, 2009

Rot in Hell

It's more of an angry, shouted order than a title, but it's certainly appropriate when applied to the audacious Mr. Dupas.

I was living in Melbourne when this pleasant individual stabbed a woman to death at the grave of her grandmother. It took enormous audacity and a heart of ice to violently attack a person at a loved one's grave. I reckon most killers would at least wait until their victim got back to his or her car. Then they'd do the deed.

Not Dupas. He killed at the grave, and by killing at the grave, he cut out several middlemen. No reason for a hearse. No call for an ambulance. Hell, he probably would have rolled his victim into the nearest open hole if the opportunity had presented itself. That would have kept things very clean and simple for him. It's doubtful police would looked beneath tombstones for a missing person.

Dupas's appalling crimes get the royal literary treatment in Jim Main's book, and there's a strange, slightly gleeful bounce in the writing that didn't go unnoticed by me.

Main describes Dupas -- "The Young Monster" -- as "short and built like a dumpling... he was a source of fun for bullies who nicknamed him Pugsley after the fat character in the TV comedy 'The Addams Family'..."

A '74 police report on Dupas had this to say: "He is a very dangerous young person who will continue to offend where females are concerned and will possibly cause the death of one of his victims if he is not straightened out.."

I love the very Aussie use of the term "straightened out" to describe an impossible form of rehabilitation for the rapist with a serious breast fetish. The book documents Dupas's obsession with breasts -- cutting them off women's chests.

On the back of the book, Dupas is defined as "a young rapist", the term suggesting he (once) had a great future of raping ahead of him. Like a young boxer, a young footballer, or a promising, young singer. That future, of course, was cut short, but not by a career change. But what a peculiar, interesting choice of language to describe him thus. He was released from jail on numerous occasions only to return to his chosen occupation. He didn't make much money doing it, but he was certainly productive and cunning.

He fostered relationships with vulnerable women and often sought advice on how to better his chances with the opposite sex.

He once answered an ad from a clairvoyant that read: "If you want to find direction in your life, then call..."

Dupas will rot in the hell of prison for the rest of his life.

Writes Main: "Like a bug, or perhaps a maggot, Dupas instead will crawl and wriggle through the rest of his life in a confined area, never to be released. For that, at least, we can be grateful."

Rot in Hell joins more than a hundred other books dedicated solely to Australia's rich and appalling history of crime. It's an official sub-genre.

* * *

For a fascinating weekly look at Melbourne and Sydney's highly active criminal
underworld, I highly recommend you listen on-line to one of Australia's leading
crime authors/commentators, John Silvester, who moonlights on radio as
"Sly of the Underworld" each Wednesday morning (Melbourne time) between 7 and 8 am as part of '3AW Breakfast with Ross Stevenson and John Burns'


Click on "Listen Live"


  1. If you have seen this maggots prison, then you might think twice about using the word 'hell'.

    However, if you mean he is confined to the prison of never again being permitted to execute his foul deeds and pursue his twisted obsessions and compulsions, then yes, 'hell' might very well be the absolute correct word to use.

    I can only imagine being confined in a place where I could no longer enjoy my movies.

    I simply would not last.

    Perhaps Dupas will not last; we can well do without this oxygen thief...

  2. I was definitely referring to the hell of deprivation of freedom, mandingo. I like "oxygen thief".