Put simply, this book is terrifying.
In 1991 Six-year-old girl Sheree Beasley was abducted while riding her pink bicycle in the Victorian seaside town Rosebud. A few months later her tiny body was found stuffed into a concrete pipe. It was a crime that appalled Victorians. Sheree was targeted by her killer who had followed her before and seen that she was often out and about riding her bike alone. Sheree was made more vulnerable it seems, from a lax home environment and the youngster had been shunted around from her mother to her maternal and paternal grandparents then back to her mum and new partner. This case is the cautionary tale for not letting very young children out alone, no matter how safe a community seems.
The Book The Evil: Inside the Mind of a Child Killer by Margaret Hobbs and Andrew Rule delves deep into the story of the crime, in particular the man responsible. Margaret Hobbs was a psychotherapist and this book draws on the confidential records she kept over the years she treated little Sheree’s killer Robert Lowe – on the face of it a seemingly respectable, devout husband and father of two who lived in the mild suburbs of Melbourne. Hobbs was seeing Lowe after he was charged with exposing himself to schoolgirls. Her notes detail their sessions, her growing fear that Lowe had abducted and killed Sheree and her work to have him reveals the truth of what happened to the little girl.
Veteran Melbourne crime journalist and author Andrew Rule was tasked with writing this book after the sudden death of Margaret Hobbs in a car accident in 1996. After Lowe had been convicted and jailed for life, Hobbs made notes about her experiences with Lowe – she had spent three disturbing years treating him and suspecting he was a child killer. As Hobbs had intended, Rule tells the story of her journey into the mind of (in her own words about Lowe)`an evil man”.
In the preface to the book, written before her death, Hobbs said she wrote the book as a personal catharsis:
“…My three-year journey with Robert Lowe, the cruel and remorseless killer of a child, encapsulates a microcosm of society’s ills. It was a long and arduous journey and one along which I believe I encountered the face of evil…”
I picked up a copy of The Evil at an op shop and from online investigation it is possible to get a copy of this book from second-hand sites like eBay and Amazon.