Random Analytica

Random thoughts, charts, infographics & analysis. Not in that order

Tag: Death

12. Mefloquine Dispatches: The Claremont Serial Killings, April 1997

We look down at the near century old corpse. We all laugh. The beret’d Sergeant tells us to shut the fuck up and concentrate. At the bottom of the pit lays the skeleton of the previous occupant. A cheap burial perhaps? The wood has mostly crumbled into dust. It’s been 99-years and they are getting moved on. The coffin lowers into the six-foot hole with a quiet concentration. Later that day we will lower the corpse of my very good mate. It is both a moment of gravitas and levity.

There are seven of us. Six Other Ranks (ORs) and a Sergeant. The Sergeant and four of the ORs are from the Regiment. Two Signal blue from Townsville. Might have been an even number of beret’d and Signal blue? We all know each other or are known to each other. A good set of blokes. It is an official burial with a catafalque party in Perth, WA.

We finish the practice session.

On the return to Campbell Barracks we read the paper. In the pages are the latest updates on the third murder. A serial killer was stalking the streets of Perth. Three girls. All similar. Young. Good sorts. The first two in 1996 then a big gap until last month. No idea who was murdering them.

One of the Boys tells us that the WA ‘coppers’ have visited the Barracks recently. They haven’t ruled out it might have been a soldier who was knocking off the women. Just a friendly interview at this stage just to rule the Regiment out of it.

Opinions rattle and roll around the bus. It’s good banter and it takes our mind off things.

I rattle off a quick-fire set of statistics. I don’t yet know it but my brain has changed in the last month and I am now recalling information differently than before the MLD [Mefloquine Loading Dose]. At the end I opinion that it was highly unlikely for a Regiment guy to be the killer because most US serial killers historically kill after they leave the services. Not always, but mostly. Think Jeffrey Dahmer. I read a lot of criminal investigation books in those days.

Everyone is impressed with our wisdom until the Sergeant comments out of the side of his mouth.

“Fuck off you idiots”.

We all laugh. Another moment of levity before the tension of the day.

To the Lost.


Image: The West Australian

If you or someone you know needs help, please phone Lifeline on 131 114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046.

QuikStats: Invocare & Australian Deaths 1989 – 2011

It’s a ‘Mr. Death’ or something. He’s come about the reaping? I don’t think we need any at the moment. (Monty Python, 1983)

Last Sunday Michael Rowland hosting Inside Business made light of the funeral industry. Recent comments by Andrew Smith, CEO of Invocare, Australia’s largest operator of funeral services provided the opening when during an investor presentation he pointed to lower than projected H1 mortality rates had created a “headwind” for the company.

Andrew Smith went on to state “In terms of an operating result this has been a challenging first half with the number of deaths and market share falling below expectations in Australia and NZ,”.

These comments were reflected in the Investor Presentation which noted that:

  • Comparable funeral case volume growth of 1.3% at April YTD dropped to decline of 0.7% by end of half (June).

An unseasonably warm winter in Australian seems to have caused a slow down in deaths across the country this year. It must be a significant drop to impact the forecast revenues of Invocare who seemed to be tracking well to the start of autumn.

Here’s a look at Australian Deaths (Male/Female) from 1989 through to 2011.

1 - AustralianDeaths_1989~2011_130830

The really surprising finding from this QuikStat was that I could not readily access temporal pattern data (that is deaths by month). I would think that this type of data would be becoming more useful due to the possible impacts on mortality from climate change. Of course, that’s not to say that there isn’t any done but it would certainly require more digging.

As for Invocare, they believe that the FY 2013-2014 offers further challenges with a summary point noting that the number of deaths will be below expectations in Australia and New Zealand!

Let’s just hope that Andrew Smith doesn’t end up knocking on your door to discuss the ‘reaping’ anytime soon.

Update (31/08/2013)

  • Michael Rowland responded to the article with the following tweet. As it turns out he is not just scripted funny (but the real deal). My thanks!

2 - mjrowland68