Backpacker killer: ‘I can’t let this monster out’

 

 

THE estranged former partner of Childers backpacker murderer Robert Paul Long has vowed she will "never give up trying to keep the monster" behind bars.

Speaking exclusively to the Bulletin from her Gold Coast home, Christine Campbell said she was fighting not only to protect the lives of her children, grandchildren and great grandchild but for "all the Childers survivors".

"I was eating my dinner when I found out he was up for parole and I nearly threw up," she said.

Christine Campbell is fighting to get fresh charges on historical events laid so convicted murderer Robert Long remains behind bars with no chance of parole. Photo: Scott Powick
Christine Campbell is fighting to get fresh charges on historical events laid so convicted murderer Robert Long remains behind bars with no chance of parole. Photo: Scott Powick

The 64-year-old revealed she is working with detectives in Darwin who are "digging through archives" with a view to pressing fresh charges against Long in relation to an alleged arson and murder attempt at a caravan park in 1993.

"They have asked me if I was prepared to travel to the Northern Territory to testify in court and I said I would be there tomorrow if I had to. I will not give up trying to stop him from being released from parole, but if he does I'm trying to get him extradited to Darwin."

Convicted murderer Long was sentenced to 20 years in jail after he deliberately set alight the Palace Backpacker Hostel at Childers on June 23, 2000. Fifteen people died in the blaze.

Long was only convicted of the murders of two victims and has now applied to be released from jail after becoming eligible for parole.

The burnt out remains of The Palace Backpackers Hostel at Childers in north Queensland, Australia. (AP Photo/Dennis Pasa)
The burnt out remains of The Palace Backpackers Hostel at Childers in north Queensland, Australia. (AP Photo/Dennis Pasa)

 

Victim impact statements from more than 30 survivors as well as a 12-page statement from Long's estranged stepdaughter Lauren Campbell have been handed to the Queensland Parole Board and a petition against his release has received more than 18,000 signatures.

"I can't let this monster out. I'm fighting not just for my family but for the Childers victims and survivors. He hasn't changed and I know him better than anyone else does," he said.

"I'm not going to let this scumbag get away with anything, because if the Childers survivors have to live with him on parole and he's a free man, it's going to cause them more psychological harm.

"He is dangerous."

Ms Campbell said Kirra, the daughter she had with Long, had been in touch with her father in jail, writing to him and sending photos of his grandson in "the hope of forming a relationship with him".

Christine Campbell, former estranged partner of Childers' backpack murderer Robert Paul Long. Photo: Scott Powick
Christine Campbell, former estranged partner of Childers' backpack murderer Robert Paul Long. Photo: Scott Powick

 

"Kirra told me he deserves to be a grandfather, but I said it takes a man to be a father and more than a man to be a grandfather and he has got no qualifications," she said.

"He strangled me and attacked me with scissors when I was pregnant with Kirra and Lauren was on top of me. Lauren has been through hell and back, she's had to deal with so much, he's choked, strangled and nearly killed her."

Ms Campbell said she had no doubt in her mind that if released on parole, Long would attempt to harm Kirra.

"He's tried to kill her inside of me. I'm not going to let him do it," she said.

"She thinks he's rehabilitated, I do not. He's like a caged animal in prison.

 

Childers survivor Richard Tempest (right) and Bundaberg deputy mayor Bill Trevor (left) who handed over letters to the parole board president Michael Byrne. Pic Peter Wallis
Childers survivor Richard Tempest (right) and Bundaberg deputy mayor Bill Trevor (left) who handed over letters to the parole board president Michael Byrne. Pic Peter Wallis

 

"Apparently he is looking after terminally-ill people, Kirra told me about it, that he's trying to make himself good. But just lies, he can't even lie straight in bed, and no one knows this man better than me."

Suffering from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and reliant on a walker, Ms Campbell said Long's late father Sid "enabled Robert's destructive behaviour."

"He would give him money for alcohol. I had a go at him because I told him he was enabling Robert and he knew what was happening. When he (Long) strangled Lauren and she had to go to hospital, he sent her a doll to say sorry for what his son had done.

"You'd think he'd get him help. As far as I'm concerned I blame Sid in some ways for how Robert got away with things."

Lauren Campbell, the estranged step daughter of Childers Backpacker fire killer Robert Long, pictured in regional NSW. Pic Nathan Edwards
Lauren Campbell, the estranged step daughter of Childers Backpacker fire killer Robert Long, pictured in regional NSW. Pic Nathan Edwards


Speaking to the Childers survivors, Ms Campbell said: "I have got your back and if we fail to stop him from being released, please know it's not over. I will not give up, never never ever, not while I've got breath in me.

"They (the survivors) are like my own children probably because I feel responsible. But I'm not but that's where it's coming from.

"I'm not going to let that man walk, for them, for my family and not just selfishly. I'm so sorry, just so sorry.

"I've got to do what I've got to do and even if she (Kirra) doesn't talk to me for a while, that's fine, eventually she'll see it."

 

Originally published as 'I can't let this monster out'


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