July 29, 2017 at 8:15 am #53
On August 8th, 1984, the bodies of 35-year-old nurse Margaret Tapp and her daughter Seana, 9, were found in their Ferntree Gully home. James Rollins, who had arrived at the house to take Margaret to the opera, discovered the bodies after he let himself in through an unlocked back door. Margaret had been beaten and strangled to death. Seana had been raped and strangled. Fibres found suggest they were both strangled with rope. It is believed they were killed after they went to bed on the 7th of August or in the early hours of the 8th.
There were many suspects in this case as Margaret knew a large amount of people. Not only was she a nurse who had worked at several hospitals, she was also a law student at Monash University.
Margaret Tapp had been having an affair with a married doctor who had provided her with the house she was living in. The doctors wife knew about the affair and had argued with Margaret about it on several occasions. After the doctor died in a car crash, Margaret took legal action to gain ownership of the house. She was granted half the house but had to purchase the other half from the doctors estate.
This doctor was not the only married man Margaret had been seeing. There were several other doctors and a married man who she had studied with at Monash. This man had sex with her the Friday before she died and had lunch with her on the same day she died. There was also a 19-year-old man she had met at a disco.
Another suspect was a teenager who mowed the Tapps lawn. The neighbours felt his behaviour was weird. His sister lived in a caravan with a man who was later convicted of rape.
There was also a family friend who was a former police officer. He had spent the night at Margarets home shortly before the murders and she had complained to friends that he had tried to get her to sleep with him. A whip and rope where found in his car. Although she had complained about his unwanted attentions she had still visited his country property a few months before the murders with Seana and her teenage son.
There was also a driving instructor who was giving Margaret free driving lessons because he was interested in her. He denied ever being in the house but police found his fingerprints in there.
Margarets sisters boyfriend was also considered a suspect after it was discovered he had visited the house on the 8th of August. Then there was a workmate of Margaret’s brother who had delivered furniture to the house. He was a violent man with a record.
There were no stranger prints left at the scene. A long blonde hair and some shorter grey hairs that were dyed brown were found on Seana’s clothes and bedsheets. There were also semen stains on Seana’s nightie and footprints in the bathroom and Margaret’s room that matched a Dunlop Volley tennis shoe. The shoe size did not match any one in the house. There was also a pizza in the oven.
There was no forced entry which suggests that either Margaret let the killer in through the front door or the killer entered through the back door with the broken latch.
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