Rodney Thomas Clarke

Posted: October 22, 2012 by Serendipity in NSW
Tags: ,



Clarke is being considered for day release.

The Serious Offenders Review Council have told the Keegan family they planned to reduce his security classification, which would make the killer eligible for day release.

The recommendation for day release is still before the corrective services commissioner, who will decide whether to put it before the parole board.



Clarke will be eligible for release on parole on 21 July 2015.

Child killer given chance for eventual release

By Natasha Wallace
May 5, 2005

The child killer and rapist Rodney Thomas Clarke took 12 years to admit his violent sexual fantasies about young girls and, in particular, that he intended to attack his nine-year-old neighbour while she slept in her room.

Jailed for life in 1988 after smothering Deborah Keegan to death while repeatedly raping her, Clarke, then 21, finally showed remorse in 2001, telling a psychiatrist he had targeted the girl and it was an “evil” act.

So yesterday a NSW Supreme Court judge gave him an opportunity for future release, saying he needed an incentive to continue rehabilitation and noting that it was not known if he intended to kill Deborah in her Tregear home in July 1987. Justice Peter Hidden granted Clarke’s application for a non-parole period, setting it at 28 years, making him eligible for release in 2015. By then he will have served 28 years of his life sentence, but if released he will remain on parole forever.

The NSW Attorney-General, Bob Debus, has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider appealing against the decision.

Outside court, Deborah’s family were inconsolable. Her father, Brian, who was separated from his wife Suzanne at the time, could barely speak as he sobbed, “I wasn’t there, I couldn’t help.”

Her mother, who has found solace in a group called White Goddess Healing Centre, said: “She was in there with me, literally in me, wanting to get over that bench and wring his neck.”

Clarke was entitled to a redetermination of his sentence despite truth-in-sentencing legislation introduced in 2001 because his file was not stamped “never to be released”, a spokesman for Mr Debus said.

The Crown had opposed the application and asked that he never be allowed to reapply.

Justice Hidden agreed with remarks by the sentencing judge, Justice Terence Cole, that the attack was “too horrible to contemplate”.

“He gratified his sexual desires upon an innocent nine-year-old girl while slowly killing her,” Justice Cole had said.

But Justice Hidden said that while the Keegan family had his “deepest sympathy”, Clarke’s family “is to be commended”, given his limited intellectual capacity, for his progress.

During a sex offenders program in 2001, Clarke admitted having fantasised about Deborah and having thoughts of abducting her.

“My conclusion that the applicant ought to have the opportunity for release in due course is fortified by my view that the case cannot fairly be approached as one of intended killing,” Justice Hidden said. “That remains my view notwithstanding his revelation in recent years that the purpose of breaking into Deborah’s home was to sexually assault her.

“The time has come to set a date on which he has a prospect of release on parole, providing him with an added incentive to come to terms with the aspects of his personality and background which led to his offences and to work towards a law-abiding lifestyle in the community.”


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  1. Clarabell says:

    This man is my relative (by marriage). I have 2 young children (including a young girl). This man should NEVER EVER be released! E.V.E.R!!! There is no rehabilitation for monstrous people such as this. My heart goes out to the Keegan family. They have my full support and I will stand behind them!

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