On October 20, 30 years ago, 23-year-old Tracey Wigginton brutally stabbed father-of-four Edward Baldock.
The murder became one of Brisbane’s most notorious crimes — known as the lesbian vampire killling. In his book, Killer Instinct: Having a Mind for Murder, leading forensic psychiatrist Donald Grant investigates Baldock’s murder — and interviews Wigginton at the Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre at Woolloongabba. Read an edited extract below.
Forty-seven-year-old Edward Baldock sat naked on the grass on a cool October night in 1989. Edward’s new acquaintance, Tracey, had just slipped off into the darkness to have a pee, having first taken off her shirt to reveal her breasts and offering to have sex when she came back.
He had taken off his clothes, folded them in a pile, and pushed his wallet under the roller door of the rowing club a few metres away.
He was fairly tipsy, having been out with mates at the Irish Club in Brisbane’s CBD. He had walked across the river towards his inner-city home when Tracey and her friends called him over to their car and offered him a lift.
He now sat waiting for what must have been an unexpected treat — sex with a woman twenty-five years his junior.
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Sensing Tracey coming out of the darkness behind him, Edward said, ‘What are you doing?’ She replied, “Nothing,” as she removed a knife from her trouser pocket.
A second later, she plunged the knife up to its hilt in Edward’s neck.
He tried to grab her hand but she pushed his arm down.
She withdrew the knife and stabbed him again, first in one side of the neck, then in the other. She continued stabbing him before grabbing his hair and slashing the knife across his throat. Despite his injuries, Edward was still alive.
He made gurgling noises and rolled onto his side.
Tracey again stabbed his neck, trying to get into the bones and cut the nerves.
Blood welled from Edward’s mouth.
Tracey sat and watched him until, finally, he was motionless.
To make sure he was dead, she plunged the knife deep into his side.
Tracey went to the river and threw in the knife, then washed her hands and arms. She dressed and returned to the car where her three friends had been waiting for the past half-hour.
They were convinced Tracey was a vampire and that she had killed the man to drink his blood — she had earlier told them she “needed to feed”.
When she got back in the car, they were sure they could smell blood on her breath.
At 5am the following day, a jogger almost tripped over Edward’s body.
The naked man with gaping stab wounds and covered in blood was a sight no-one would want to see.
Police were quickly summoned and a forensic pathologist was brought in to see the crime scene and examine the body.
The main wounds were to the back and front of the neck. Huge, gaping holes marked the two major injuries, with fourteen satellite stab wounds.
The spine in the neck and the spinal cord were three-quarters cut through, an injury that would have required considerable sustained force. The two main arteries in the left side of the neck were completely severed. The adjacent jugular vein was partially severed. The chest showed three further stab wounds.
What police found at the scene of this murder made it one of their most easily solved cases, given that such a seemingly random killing could have been so difficult to untangle.
The blue wallet under the clubhouse door contained a credit card in the name of “E Baldock”. A pair of men’s shoes lay next to the body, and in the toe of one was a bank key card in the name of “Miss T Wigginton”.
By 10am, police were at an address in a northern suburb of Brisbane, where Tracey answered the door.
The sequence of events on that October night was pieced together by police largely from accounts given by Tracey’s friends rather than by Tracey, as at first she claimed to recall little of what had happened.
After leaving the riverside park, Tracey drove to her friends’ house and went to sleep. She awoke early and realised she had lost her key card. She and one friend went back to the park to find it, but they saw a man’s body, became alarmed, and left.
Tracey went home to her own flat and shouted to her girlfriend Debbie, “I want you in the bedroom right now, I’ve just seen a dead body!”
Debbie drove her to Orleigh Park. By then, police were at the scene, attending to the body.
Tracey became distressed and said, “Oh my God, it’s real!” before curling up in the foetal position in the car.
The women returned to their flat and Tracey went to sleep after Debbie gave her two sleeping tablets.
Three hours later, the police knocked on their door. Debbie was surprised to see how calmly Tracey spoke to them, as if it was all about some minor matter.
Tracey was interviewed three times by police before a charge of murder was laid.
In the first interview, she denied knowledge of any murder but admitted having been at Orleigh Park the night before.
The police took her there and she showed them the playground area where she said she’d been playing with two friends, and where she must have lost her key card. Police told her it was in that area that a man had just been murdered. She responded, “Oh, no!”
She then told police there had been a third girl present that night — Linda. Tracey hadn’t mentioned her before because she didn’t want Debbie to know she was seeing Linda.
A second interview was then conducted.
Police told Tracey that her friends had told them she’d seen a body the previous night. Tracey became upset and confirmed she had seen the body.
It was horrible, she said, and she and her friends hadn’t known what to do about it. They were “scared sh*tless” and decided not to say anything and just forget about it.
Shortly after that, police interviewed Tracey a third time, telling her that her friends had confessed.
She became distressed but, once she was convinced the confession was real, she said, “Put the tape back in, I’ll tell you what happened.” She said her previous two accounts were all lies and then gave a detailed account of the events that resulted in the murder.
Tracey told police that she and her three friends had been at Club Lewmors in Brisbane’s nightclub district, drinking Riccadonna spumante. They decided to entice a man down to the river as a joke — Tracey was to turn him on and then leave him there.
Then she gave police a detailed account of how she had killed Edward Baldock.
Her motives were entirely unclear, but the police had their killer and Tracey was charged and detained in custody.
Information was now gathered from friends and family to try to understand what led to the killing, with several people speaking of Tracey’s apparent interest in sadism and the occult.
Debbie had been with Tracey for almost two years, but for the six months prior to the killing the relationship was very strained and “open”. The pair had been planning to go away together to get close again, though Tracey had started an affair with Linda two weeks before the murder.
Two days before Edward’s death, Tracey had been withdrawn and sullen and spent a lot of time sharpening a knife she owned.
The night before the murder, she dyed her hair “midnight black”.
Her more recent friends reported that Tracey had told them she was a vampire.
Linda said Tracey told her she would get pig and cow blood from the butcher to drink. Four times Tracey had persuaded Linda to cut her wrists so that she could suck her blood.
Before the killing, she talked about her need to “feed” and indicated she would drink the victim’s blood.
However, the three friends who were with her that night did not witness her doing so.
They were too scared to leave the car when Tracey took Baldock down to the riverbank — she threatened that if anyone touched her during the process, she was liable to rip their arm off. They had been reluctant to believe Tracey would murder but were convinced by the smell of blood on her breath after the event.
In the weeks before the killing, Tracey and her friends had picnicked at night in the old Toowong cemetery, just west of the city, and had taken home a fallen headstone.
The friends felt controlled by Tracey. They believed she had some kind of supernatural power. She had told them to sit cross-legged in front of her and hold eye contact, with the light behind her. They saw Tracey’s body disappear, leaving just two cat’s eyes floating before them.
In the week before the murder, Tracey and one friend had watched a vampire movie in which a couple was abducted and killed. They had also watched, over and over again, a video of someone having their head blown off by a shotgun.
Knowing all the details of the horrific offence, I was not sure what I would find when I met Tracey.
She was a large young woman, by then twenty-five years old, wide about the hips and thighs. Her face was disarmingly pleasant and her gaze direct. She was polite and her language skills were good. She seemed intelligent. She knew exactly what she was charged with.
Tracey told me she had little recollection of the third police interview.
She reported being furious with her girlfriend Debbie in the period leading up to the murder. She felt she had given everything to Debbie, spoilt her with expensive gifts and bent to her every whim, only to be repaid by having to listen to Debbie having sex with other lovers in the room next to hers.
Later, she was able to admit that she felt murderous.
At first she could not vent that rage directly onto Debbie, or any female friends, but it got to the point where she couldn’t handle her anger towards her girlfriend any longer.
She said, “If I’d stayed in the house that night, I think it would have been her that got killed.”
— This is an edited extract from Killer Instinct: Having a Mind for Murder by Donald Grant (Melbourne University Press, $34.99).
Originally published as Shock revelation in ‘vampire’ killing