Norfolk Island sex talk

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There are men not letting their wives go out for their evening walks - and, in some cases, even to work. Teenagers too frightened to enter the empty family home at the end of the school day. Friendships destroyed by accusations and suspicion and merciless gossip. And many people worried that "there's a serial killer hiding in every bush".

This is, in part, what fear is doing to pretty Norfolk Island, two weeks on from the murder of Janelle Patton - the first recorded homicide in nearly years of permanent settlement. Ms Patton, a Sydney woman who had been working on the island, was found beaten and stabbed to death. It's a complex scene. And everybody agrees: things feel different now, things don't feel good.

Reduced to embers. And obviously there's this desperation to know who did it. Equally desperate and vexing is the idea that it could be a local. On Norfolk Island, a local means someone from one of the old families, someone whose bloodline goes back to the Pitcairners, back to Fletcher Christian and his mob from the mutiny on the Bounty. There are also the long-term residents, the Australian and New Zealand families who make up two-thirds of the permanent population of aboutmany of whom have married into the old families. Tracey Crane, 25, one of the last people to see Ms Patton alive, said: "We don't want to accept the fact that it was one of us.

How could it be a local? We don't want it to be. At the bottom of the social heap are the or so TEPs pronounced tee-peesthe mainly young people on three-year temporary entry permits who come to earn tax-free dollars serving tourists as waiters and shop assistants. You sense that the permanent residents, unable to cope with the idea that Ms Patton's killer might be a local, have a weird kind of hope that it was a TEP instead.

Underneath there are these undercurrents of tensions and rivalries, and people who are feeling not accepted. It's a pity there are those divisions here - and divisions become manifest when you have something happen like a murder," said Tom Lloyd, editor of The Norfolk Islander, whose bloodline goes back to Pitcairn Island. What control do we have over them coming here? How do we know if they have a criminal record? Never asking the question: what happens if it's one of us? I would hope it's not somebody with a Norfolk Island connection because the ramifications for that family will be there for the rest of our lives.

A young family man who later asked not to be named when a relative called to ask why he'd been talking to journalists told me: "Yeah, there is a division here. You can't make a cat a dog.

Norfolk Island sex talk

I don't worry about that. I have friends who are TEPs. But I do worry about it being a local. I feel very sorry for Janelle's family. But if it's a local, you have a big family to feel sorry for as well. An island family can be or people and they'll all cop it. All of a sudden that surname is going to be tainted. A TEP working as a barman complained: "We're second-class citizens here anyway. It's easier for them to cope with it.

Mr Gardner had heard the same line: " 'It can't be us. It must be one of them. All I can say is somebody on this island committed a terrible offence. But there was profound denial from the start, when it was announced on local radio that tourists had found a body at a secluded barbecue spot called Cockpit Waterfall on Easter Sunday. Said Tom Lloyd: "I think most people were hoping against hope that it was a hit-and-run - and that the driver had felt guilty and taken her body up there.

We all looked to that as an excuse. Three days on, the truth came over the radio: Janelle Patton, a TEP two-and-a-half years into her term, had left work at the Castaway Hotel dining room about 11am on Easter Sunday. She went to the Foodland supermarket to buy the makings of a lunch for her parents, who were visiting from the mainland.

As part of a tour of the island, Mr Gardner took me up to where Ms Patton was last seen: by a passing motorist, about The chief minister quietly pondered that the fabulous view was probably the last thing Ms Patton ever saw. He then drove me to where she was found about 6pm on the Easter Sunday night, wrapped in black plastic, beaten terribly, stabbed many times, dead for at least two hours, probably killed elsewhere.

I've had a few sleepless nights - and not from the perspective of being chief minister. When I heard it was a murder I went home and sat my year-old son down and told him what had happened. The young family man later told me that soon after the news broke "you felt this mood swing. Everybody went out and bought locks for their houses. I didn't. There are windows in my house you can't close and I'm not about to fix them.

I don't want to sound harsh, but I don't think everything has to change.

Norfolk Island sex talk

I'm not expecting to find another body next week. But that's how a lot of people are feeling. Everybody's freaked out. It went off last week. And it's still going. It's over the top, I think. Ms Crane said: "Rumour's a big thing on Norfolk.

Norfolk Island sex talk

About anything. We thrive on it. Someone has a new car. Where did they get the money from? You haven't seen this husband and wife in a car together for a while. So what's happening with them?

Norfolk Island sex talk

A local magistrate told me: "There's plenty of rumour. But the strange thing is there's no word from the underground. By that I mean the grapevine. There's been nothing. And that's unusual. A federal policeman working on the Janelle Patton case said the magistrate was right. But 90 per cent of the time they tell you, 'You didn't hear it from me. Mr Lloyd said: "I think there are people who know who did it, but they're not going to talk.

They're not going to open up. He has been running The Norfolk Islander for 37 years, in partnership with his wife Tim her father wanted a boy. The paper has to be the conscience of the island in many aspects. As I said in an editorial, we have to bring up the good, the bad and the ugly on Norfolk Island, as much as we hate to do it. Over the last 10 years, particularly the bad and the ugly have started to emerge.

It's a two-edged sword with a community that is so closely interconnected through families and marriage. There are times when you have to tread on people's corns. It can be a lonely job at times. Meanwhile, the investigation, offshore, has gone as far as Perth. Now it's back on the island. But the team of detectives and forensic scientists from Sydney and Canberra were due to leave Norfolk Island yesterday, leaving the local officers to follow their remaining le - and wait for scientificincluding DNA profiles from material gathered at Cockpit Waterfall.

Norfolk Island is policed by members of the Australian Federal Police - a sergeant and two constables on two-year asments. They are bound by local protocols in relation to how scientific evidence is gathered and processed. In the days following Ms Patton's murder, it became obvious that those protocols were inadequate. Last Wednesday, the island's Legislative Assembly passed legislation allowing police on Norfolk Island to operate as they would in the ACT - which, in part, means they are now empowered to take DNA samples from suspects.

However, a local police source said that if it turned out that a large of people had to be sampled, it would prove very expensive for the Legislative Assembly; that is, the local government. The killing of Ms Patton isn't the only serious crime to have blighted Norfolk Island in modern times.

According to one respected local, there may have been two other murders on Norfolk, both in the s. One was a shooting, in which a man with a violent reputation was killed. The death was recorded as an accident. The other case involved an explosive device - used in whaling - that was placed in a drum fireplace.

A woman was killed when she set a fire in the drum. Her death was also recorded as an accident. In the early '90s, a girl brought a rape case against an older man but an all-male local jury acquitted the man. The girl left the island soon after, never to return. Mr Gardner took me to the small Supreme Court chambers in the ground floor of the beautiful Legislative Assembly building and talked of sexual assaults and of the paedophilia case two years ago that many locals felt had destroyed the island. In that case, Stephen Enoch Nobbs, deacon of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and descendant from the Nobbs of Pitcairn Island, was found guilty of sex crimes against children; assaults that had occurred over 20 years; a situation that many people knew about and for a long time did nothing about.

In many ways, the mood and manners of Norfolk Island in crisis - the existential confusion, the overblown fear, the mourning of false innocence lost - mirrors that seen in any Australian country town newly burdened with violent crime. The difference with Norfolk Islanders: their belief in themselves as a better class of human goes beyond corny salutes to hayseed values.

Norfolk Island sex talk

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