Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Greenough Family Massacre

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Coordinates  -28.906949, 114.710593
Weapons  Axe
Location  Greenough, Western Australia
Date  21st/22nd February 1993 3am
Attack type  Mass murder / Axe Murder
Deaths  4 Karen MacKenzie (33) Daniel (16) Amara (7) Katrina (5)

The term Greenough Family Massacre refers to the axe murders of Karen MacKenzie (age 33) and her three children Daniel (16), Amara (7), and Katrina (5) at their remote rural property in Greenough, Western Australia, on February 21, 1993.


They were killed by William Patrick Mitchell (Bill Mitchell), a friend of Karen MacKenzie.

The crime has been called, "One of the worst crimes in Western Australia" and details of the murders were withheld from the public as they were deemed too gruesome and horrific. The case was so heinous that "cries for the return of the death penalty could be heard echoing around the State".


Police and forensic investigators scoured the murder scene and collected evidence, but it was five weeks before farm hand Bill Mitchell, a friend of Karen MacKenzie, was arrested. He was arrested on either the 28th or the 29th of March.

Mitchell had been spending the day getting high on a mixture of cannabis, alcohol, and amphetamines. The trouble began with the sound of a car arriving at the MacKenzie home. Daniel went out to see who it was and was confronted by Mitchell.

Mitchell, wielding an axe, killed Daniel and headed for the house. There he found Karen asleep in the lounge room. After attacking her with the axe and killing her, he raped her. Amara and Katrina were fast asleep in their bedrooms, when Mitchell turned his attention to them.

The funeral for the four victims was held on March 5th 1993. Bill Mitchell did attend.


According to the television series Crime Investigation Australia, a judge ruled that the exact way in which Daniel, Amara, and Katrina were killed was to be sealed.

Mitchell pleaded guilty to four counts of willful murder and four counts of sexual assault. A hand lotion used by the killer was a key piece of evidence.

Mitchell was convicted of the murders in 1995 at the age of 24 and was sentenced to four consecutive terms of life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 20 years. Due to a public outcry against the sentence, a Crown appeal ordered the non-parole period to be revoked. There followed a series of Supreme and High Court appeals, including a ruling that Mitchell would never be released. However, another appeal overturned that ruling and reinstated his 20-year non-parole period. Consequently, Mitchell again became eligible for parole in 2013.

Parole attempt

In September 2013, Mitchell was refused parole. Attorney General Michael Mischin stated that his decision to refuse parole was based upon the gravity of the crime and the safety of the community.

Mitchell became eligible for parole again in October 2016, when he was refused parole again.

Mitchell is currently incarcerated in Bunbury Regional Prison in Western Australia.


Greenough Family Massacre Wikipedia