Here is an update I have written to this August 25 blog post on the Tapp murders about the tragic effect the crimes have had on the surviving family, namely Justin Tapp, who died earlier this year at age 44. Mr Tapp was traumatised by his mother and sister’s death and struggled for the rest of his life with depression and alcohol abuse.
AN INQUEST in England into the death of an Australian man whose mother and sister were murdered 30 years ago in Melbourne has delivered an open verdict.
Justin Tapp, who was 14 when his mother Margaret Tapp and nine-year-old sister Seana Tapp were killed on August 7, 1984, died earlier this year.
Mr Tapp was not at his family’s Kelvin Drive, Ferntree Gully home on the night of the still unsolved murders and moved to England in 2001 where he lived until his death.
He was found dead in his Wycombe bedsit on June 3 by ex-girlfriend Wendy O’Donovan, with whom he had remained friends in the years since their separation.
Ms O’Donovan told the Buckinghamshire Coroners’ Court on September 23 that Mr Tapp had problems with alcohol and had tried several times to commit suicide.
He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had depression.
The body of Mr Tapp, aged 44, was in such a state of decomposition that the cause of his death could not be found by a post-mortem.
Police found a book and other literature about suicide near his body.
Accounts from neighbours on Mr Tapp’s last known movements indicate he may have died around a week before he was found.
The Bucks Free Press newspaper reported that Mr Tapp had no family living in Britain and it was after a concerned aunt in Australia contacted Ms O’Donovan that she went to his flat.
The coroner’s court heard that Ms O’Donovan looked through the window and saw Mr Tapp collapsed on the floor.
A former neighbour of Mr Tapp, Charlotte Kirby, contacted True Crime Reader via a comment on the blog post “Margaret and Seana Tapp murders – more tragedy” and said she knew nothing of his traumatic history until she read about it last week on the front page of her local newspaper Bucks free Press.
Ms Kirby told True Crime Reader that Mr Tapp was a ‘very quiet and private man’ and she wished they had talked more.
“I felt really bad about his death and cried when I read the newspaper,” Ms Kirby said.
She said they both lived in an old house in Wycombe that had been split into three flats and Mr Tapp lived in the basement one.
They both moved away in 2011.
“Justin did not wish to be bothered really by the world,” Ms Kirby said.
“It is just a shame that he lived in isolation, but with that kind of trauma in his past, no wonder.”
Ms Kirby said she had often wondered about Mr Tapp’s past.
“I suspected there were reasons for his departure from Australia and even asked him why he left,” Ms Kirby said.
“All he told me was that he had grown tired of Australia.
“I just pray he rests in peace and that he has a decent funeral and resting place.”
The cold case murder of Margaret and Seana Tapp is one of Victoria’s biggest mysteries. On August 7, 1984 Margaret Tapp, 35 was strangled in her bed. Seana, 9 was sexually assaulted and also strangled.There was no sign or forced entry, which suggested that the killer was familiar with the house. The backdoor had a broken latch and could not be locked. A neighbour heard a muffled scream at around 11pm and other neighbours heard the Tapp’s dog barking frantically, which was not usual. The murders of the mother and daughter were not discovered until 6pm the next day when a friend of Mrs Tapp arrived to take her on a pre-arranged date.
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000