Betty Shanks case stalled as author vents frustration
THE BETTY Shanks murder remains unsolved and author Lyle Reed's frustration that his theory about her killer has not been thoroughly investigated is at breaking point.
In his unpublished manuscript, Mr Reed has identified a policeman, who died more than a decade ago, as the person who caused Ms Shanks' death on a motorcycle and then covered it up on the night of September 19, 1952.
He said his aunt left no doubt as to who the culprit was, as he was related to both her and Mr Reed.
Mr Reed has alleged that the injuries to Ms Shanks came from the motorbike being driven by the policeman and that the imprint upon her forehead was caused by the pattern of a knee guard that was worn by the motorcyclist.
Mr Reed said a male officer from the Homicide Investigation Unit took a copy of his manuscript and a copy of a video which contained what he said was a compelling interview with his aunt after he visited Mr Reed this year.
"My aunt told me about this policeman's demeanour, how he treated his family and how he was hated by other police officers," he said.
"She said that there was no doubt that he was the murderer of Ms Shanks. My auntie lived with the policeman, my then uncle."
The QT has sighted correspondence between Mr Reed and the Attorney General's office where he initially expressed his disappointment that his theories had not been followed up by the police to his satisfaction.
That letter was passed on to the Police Minister's office which confirmed in a letter, from the chief of staff, that Detective Sergeant Virginia Gray from the QPS Homicide Investigation Unit had visited Mr Reed on May 18, 2016, and that exactly one year later he had been visited by Acting Detective Inspector Chris Knight from the same unit.
Mr Reed agrees with that version of events but is unhappy with the outcome.
"I don't have a publisher and my frustration is that the homicide unit has not really gone right into it," he said.
"No-one has said I am wrong. I have got no answer.
"If I am wrong, I want to be told why I am wrong.
"But I feel as though I have been set aside and they don't want to know about it because it is a policeman I am naming.
"It is a conspiracy because as Detective Ted Chandler said 'if ever a murderer was protected, this is one'.
"When I was visited by Chris Knight and his partner, he was very taken aback with what I said. He said it was sensational information.
"But I will go ahead and publish it anyway if I can get someone to."
The QT has contacted an officer at the Homicide Unit and we were told that they had received Mr Reed's information on the case but that as it was an ongoing case they were unable to comment.
The letter from the Police Minister's office of September 14 made it clear that "no members of the QPS Homicide Investigation Unit would comment on your book, as it would be unreasonable to comment on an unsolved homicide investigation".
Mr Reed said that many crime buffs over the years could never solve how the imprint appeared on Ms Shanks' forehead, but that he had a stunning answer.
"I have worked hard on trying to discover what caused the imprint and I am sure I have discovered it. I have narrowed it down to one item, the rubber knee pad situated on the fuel tank of a motorcycle," he earlier told the QT. Mr Reed demonstrated his theory with some black shoe polish, a shoe brush and a knee pad from a 1952 motorcycle.
"These pads were very similar when they were all made together in production," he said
"On the inner border of this knee pad there are hundreds of little pins or rubber needles."
Mr Reed applied the polish to the knee pad and then placed it on an A4 piece of paper to produce what he said was "an identical" reproduction of the imprint on Ms Shanks' forehead.