Leslie Alfred Camilleri

Address: Yass, NSW, Australia
Age: 54
Sex: Male


Date: 27 April 1999
Charges: Murder
Category: Murder
Court: Supreme Court of Victoria
Judge: Justice Vincent
Penalty: Life in jail with no chance of release

"Through your own actions, you have forfeited your right ever to walk among us again." - Justice Vincent in sentencing Camilleri

Camilleri was convicted for the horrendous murders of two New South Wales schoolgirls in 1997. Police and the Bega Community applauded the punishment but said the murders would not have happened if Camilleri had not been bailed by a judge while awaiting trial on child sex charges three weeks before the killings.

The Bega schoolgirl murders refers to the abduction, rape and murder of New South Wales schoolgirls, 14-year-old Lauren Margaret Barry and 16-year-old Nichole Emma Collins of Bega, New South Wales on 6 October 1997.

The girls were abducted by Leslie Camilleri and Lindsay Beckett, both from the New South Wales town of Yass, some 60 km from Canberra. The men subjected the girls to repeated rapes and sexual assaults on five or more separate occasions, while driving them to remote locations throughout rural New South Wales and Victoria. Over a twelve-hour period the girls had been driven several hundred kilometres from Bega, New South Wales, to Fiddler's Green Creek in Victoria, where they were stabbed to death by Beckett under the order of Camilleri.

The girls were reported missing on the day of their disappearance, and a massive manhunt consisting of family, friends, police and members of the Bega community combed the area but failed to locate any sign of the missing girls.Police investigations lasting several weeks eventually led to Camilleri and Beckett, career criminals with over 200 criminal convictions between them. Camilleri, who claimed he was innocent of any crime and insisted Beckett acted alone, was facing existing charges relating to other sexual assaults against minors at the time of the schoolgirl murders.

The trial of Camilleri for the murder of Barry and Collins began on 15 February 1999 and ran until 10 April 1999. A total of 70 witnesses were called. Prosecution evidence included a shirt belonging to Barry containing semen matching the DNA profile of Camilleri. The shirt was discovered at the rubbish dump in Old Wallagoot Road where the pair had first taken the girls. Police recovered evidence from almost every location the pair had taken the girls and assaulted them. Beckett was called to give evidence against his co-accused and spent five days in the witness box.

Camilleri claimed he was in a drug induced stupor when the girls were with the pair, and that he barely remembered them, hoping to lay the entire blame for the murders on his associate Beckett. He was found guilty by the Supreme Court jury and on 27 April 1999 was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders, never to be released.

In sentencing Camilleri to life imprisonment, never to be released, the judge remarked

    "Using the control which you clearly had over your weaker willed but equally evil companion (Beckett), you instructed him to perform acts that, in a somewhat perverse way, it could be said that you probably did not possess the courage to perform yourself."

    "It is terrible to contemplate the prospect that, as a consequence of the order which in my view justice and a proper appreciation of sentencing principles would require in your case, you may never be released from prison. However, I consider that my duty is clear. Through your own actions, you have forfeited your right ever to walk among us again."

Camilleri was 28 at the time of his crimes and 29 when sentenced. Camilleri appeared before the Supreme Court in 2001 to appeal his sentence; the appeal was unsuccessful . He later appealed to the High Court in May 2002 and again his appeal was dismissed. Camilleri has received numerous death threats from other prisoners and remains in protective custody.

Camilleris' victims, Lauren Barry and Nicole Collins


Leslie Alfred Camilleri (born 31 May 1969) was born to a family of six children in Liverpool, New South Wales. He did not meet his natural father until he was 13 years of age. A psychiatric report prepared in 1993 spoke of Camilleri's deprived childhood, and "a pattern of theft and vandalism which have been his reaction to social ostracism, leading to frustration, which because of poor impulse control has ended in explosive outbursts of destructive behaviour."

Camilleri was considered "uncontrollable" as a child, and spent a large part of his childhood in juvenile detention. He escaped the institution and between the ages of 10 to 12 lived on the streets of King's Cross in Sydney as a street kid. He was eventually taken before the Children's Court by police and ordered to return to the institution where he remained until he was 15.

Four days prior to the abduction of a girl, Rosamari Gandarias, in Canberra and three weeks prior to the schoolgirl murders, Camilleri appeared in the District Court of New South Wales on trial for charges relating to sexual offences against his defacto's daughter. After two days the trial was aborted and Camilleri was released from custody on bail. Camilleri had 146 prior convictions for offences such as dishonesty, theft and wilful damage. At the time of the murders Camilleri lived in Yass, New South Wales. He had known Beckett for a period of two to three years and would often associate with him to steal cars.

In 2012 Camilleri appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court via videolink from prison charged with murdering Prue Bird, 13, a schoolgirl after she disappeared from her Glenroy home between February 2 and 11, 1992. Camilleri had made admissions in a police record of interview but there was a dispute over the alleged motive and how the murder was effected

On 5 December 2013, Camilleri was sentenced to an extra 28 years imprisonment for the murder of Prue Bird.