Katherine Knight: Cannibal killer who stabbed her partner 37 times, skinned him and cooked his body parts

Knight came to be known as 'Australia’s most notorious psychopath,' becoming the first woman in Australian history to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole

                            Katherine Knight: Cannibal killer who stabbed her partner 37 times, skinned him and cooked his body parts

While most love quarrels end with an apology, this one ended in a gruesome murder and mutilation. In February 2000, an Australian abattoir worker, Katherine Knight, stabbed her boyfriend, 37 times as he tried to escape from her. And when she was sure he was dead, skinned him, chopped him up, and even cooked his body parts. Even before the brutal killing, Knight's upbringing hadn't been a happy one and her childhood was marred by violence and sexual abuse. Evidently, daddy issues could have led to her long history of violence against the men in her life.

Troubled childhood

Knight was born the product of a scandalous affair between a married woman and a violent alcoholic man, in Tenterfield, Australia. Her mother, Barbara Roughan, already had four sons with another man and met her father, Ken Knight through her husband. When their secret rendezvous became public knowledge, it wreaked havoc in their small conservative town. From then on Knight's life didn't get any better. Her father raped her mother multiple times a day, and she claimed that she had been assaulted by various family members until the age of 11. 

In school, she was apparently a bully that terrorized the smaller kids. she never learned to read or write properly and quit school at the age of 15 to work at a clothing factory. A year later, she landed a job at a slaughterhouse and learned to cut out the internal organs of animals. Evidently, she was good with a knife.

David Kellet

Her first marriage was to a truck driver, David Kellet in 1974, whom she met while working at the slaughterhouse. The couple went on to have two children, although their marriage was far from happy. Kellet was often subject to Knight's outbursts, Her attacks on him ranged from choking him on their wedding night because he wouldn't consummate their marriage to her expectation, and even threatening him with a knife to his throat. While still pregnant with her daughter, she allegedly torched his clothing and smacked him on the head with a frying pan. Despite her violent outbursts and even after being admitted to an asylum, he stayed with her for a while until he eventually left. 

David Saunders

Then came David Saunders, a local miner. The couple had one child, a daughter, and this relationship turned too toxic too fast, much like her first marriage. She became violent towards him and Saunders even claimed she had stabbed him with scissors during an argument. In act of pure malice, Knight even decapitated their puppy in front of him to show him what she was capable of.

Murder of John Price

John Price was the last of the men she had been with him. He too was a miner, and their relationship was without complications at the start. However, the trouble began when she proposed marriage and he declined. She even cooked up a story about how he was stealing from his work, and he got fired for it. On 27 February 2000, the couple had a violent altercation, and Price fled to a friend's house who lived nearby. He alleged that  Knight had threatened him with a butcher's knife. Two days later she stabbed him 37 times while he was asleep, but he woke up startled and tried to fight her off but in vain. She then skinned him, hung him from a meat hook, chopped him, and cooked his body parts. 

Price had previously been concerned for his safety and he'd told his friends that something were to happen to him and if he didn't show up at work the next day it meant that Knight had killed him. So when he hadn't come into work, his colleagues called the police. When the police arrived, they found his head in a pot of vegetables, and a dinner table set up with steak and other dishes made from meat -- human meat, to be precise. On the day of the murder, Knight had left her younger children with her adult daughter. Thus, John Price's slaughter was pre-meditated and well-planned. 


Knight was promptly arrested and charged with Price's murder. In an interview on March 4, she said she didn't remember committing the murder. According to 7 News, she  told police, "The last time I recall was, I don’t know about your dates, but I went inside and watched a bit of TV.” The psychiatrists that assessed her didn't believe a word she said. The psychiatrists who assessed her didn’t believe it.

Her trial began in October 2001, and she initially pleaded not guilty. She later changed her plea to guilty and the case was adjourned without any testimony. The judge said that Knight was an ongoing risk to the community and added that he found the “only appropriate penalty for the prisoner is life imprisonment and that parole should never be considered for her. "The prisoner should never be released," he concluded. Knight came to be known as 'Australia’s most notorious psychopath,' becoming the first woman in Australian history to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole at Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre. However, she still continues to maintain her innocence and refuses to acknowledge her crime. 

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