Join 3,432 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


'Bodies in the barrels' site is up for sale
March 11, 2012 1:21 AM   Subscribe

An oddly perky video of a real estate agent showing a real estate columnist around an old bank building and semi-attached house for sale (3:51). The building was offered on eBay, had its listing removed, and then reinstated. The reason for the video and the eBay concern? The bank (but not the house) had previously been rented to a group of serial killers.

Used as a set in the award-winning movie about the crime, the Snowtown bank was only the site of one murder, but investigators discovered 8 bodies stored in barrels in the bank vault (two more bodies were found buried in a backyard, another in a farm field, and another had been falsely believed to be a suicide). The barrels had previously been stored in cars and sheds but a police investigation into the missing wife of one of the group meant they needed a new hiding place. The ostensible reason the killers gave for the crimes was that the victims were pedophiles, while the police had originally begun their investigation over evidence of welfare fraud (the victims’ social security payments were being taken by the group). But only two victims were known pedophiles, while the rest were chosen for being gay, overweight, mentally disabled, and/or drug users - a ‘waste’ in the words of the ringleader, John Bunting. All victims came from within the circle of friends, family and neighbours of the killers, and none were from Snowtown.

Further details can be read in the judge’s justification for trialling one of the group separately from the rest - R v Bunting and Others (the most complete in detail, since not all trial documents are available online - some are suppressed, others only available to read in person). A more luridly atmospheric, but less accurate, account can be found at TruTV’s writeup of the case.

Residents of the town were unhappy with the publicity at the time of the discovery and during the trials. It isn’t known at present whether they approve of the real estate agent’s marketing tactics, although he has insisted that people wanting to view the property must show proof that they have at least spent money in the town before coming to look.
posted by harriet vane (20 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
The creepy bit - at least to my eyes - is that the murders aren't some part of the dim and distant past. The bodies were found in May 1999. Some had been brutally tortured to death.

Oddly perky? To quote the real estate guy: Certainly.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:06 AM on March 11, 2012


Yeah, turning that into a B&B seems like a risky endeavor.
posted by HuronBob at 3:48 AM on March 11, 2012


I always kinda assumed they would have bulldozed that place...
posted by Jimbob at 4:04 AM on March 11, 2012


Serial killers and real estate agents? Do I dare to dream?
posted by mattoxic at 4:21 AM on March 11, 2012


Seems like a pretty good deal. Might make a nice B&B.

Plenty of space for unexpected visitors!
posted by markkraft at 4:26 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, they'll have a barrel of fun, markkraft!
posted by Jimbob at 4:29 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Current bid: US $99,989.00.*

*Buyers should note that illegal activities were conducted in the old bank building and you should enquire to the nature of these activities prior to bidding.
posted by markkraft at 4:34 AM on March 11, 2012


"an ideal home for a family requiring space and either a home business premise or band/games room."

Would make a great place for Nick Cave, if he moved back to Australia.

(... or Rupert Murdoch, perhaps.)
posted by markkraft at 4:42 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eight bodies were found in six plastic barrels in the disused bank vault

And he's showing the vault with plastic barrels still in it? "These are from the movie, just film props." Hasn't he heard that you have to "stage" the property to sell people? Lose the barrels.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:09 AM on March 11, 2012


I think the choice to leave the barrels there must have been deliberate. It looks like they are trying to capitalise on the background, rather than sweep it under the table. In the video at least, talking about feeling "freaked out" and the "eery atmosphere" in the vault, and so on. Maybe some weirdos would actually pay extra for a house with a creepy history?
posted by lollusc at 5:13 AM on March 11, 2012


Also, selling property on ebay seems weird to me. ("Will arrange for local pickup only (no shipping).")
posted by lollusc at 5:16 AM on March 11, 2012


The sad thing is, only one of the killings occurred in Snowtown. As it says in the wikipedia article:

Though Snowtown is frequently linked with the crimes, the bodies had been held in a series of locations around Adelaide for some time, and were moved to Snowtown in early 1999, very late in the crime spree that had spanned several years. Only one victim was killed in Snowtown; none of the victims or the perpetrators were from that town.
posted by Pendragon at 6:23 AM on March 11, 2012


Even if Adelaide has no wider implications whatsoever, we punch over our division in weird murder mysteries and sort-of-gay premiers in pink hotpants.
posted by Wolof at 6:46 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Though Snowtown is frequently linked with the crimes, the bodies had been held in a series of locations around Adelaide for some time, and were moved to Snowtown in early 1999, very late in the crime spree that had spanned several years. Only one victim was killed in Snowtown; none of the victims or the perpetrators were from that town."

Hm. I see a business model!
posted by markkraft at 7:00 AM on March 11, 2012


Don't sell it too soon. After the election, a lot of Santorum supporters will probably want to emigrate, and the "deviant murdering" atmosphere will make it very much in demand.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:24 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You might say (removes sunglasses) the killers were caught in a pickle [yeargh]
posted by humanfont at 5:17 PM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like MuffinMan, I find the creepiest part of it that the locals and the victims' families are all still alive and still quite close (an hour drive from Adelaide, if I remember correctly). It's not like it's a murder from the 1890s or something. Hell, the trials and appeals were only finally concluded in 2005. I would have thought that a quieter method of sale, targeting people who are interested in setting up business in country towns (maybe post-NBN?) would be a) more respectful and b) more likely to find the town a long-term resident instead of just a curious rubbernecker.
posted by harriet vane at 2:49 AM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Forgot to add - Jimbob, the state housing residence in Adelaide's outer suburbs where two of the bodies were buried was bulldozed as soon as possible. There's brand new units there now, intended for elderly people. But my understanding is that the bank building's owner didn't see the point in destroying a perfectly good building. For a while, there was an indoor plant store there, which seems too specific to last long in a small town.
posted by harriet vane at 2:54 AM on March 12, 2012


The sad thing is, only one of the killings occurred in Snowtown.

Pendragon, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that you didn't mean what you wrote... since I'm pretty sure that's not "the sad thing" about these deaths.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:43 AM on March 12, 2012


I'm going to assume good intentions and guess that there's a kind of hidden clause to the sentence. Probably it was meant to be something along the lines of "The sad thing [for the people of Snowtown who had to put up with years and years of creepy bastards visiting the town just to literally sniff under the bank door, during a time of economic depression for the town] is, only one of the killings occurred in Snowtown." All that negative attention and press for the name of their little town, when it had hardly anything to do with anything.

There are too many sad and appalling things about this case to list them all at once. Different ones come to the front of my mind depending on which angle I'm currently looking from.
posted by harriet vane at 1:08 AM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older Old Book Illustrations...  |  "I draw with a Biro pen, i pai... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments