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Nicole Louise Pearce (Paul Luckman)

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Paul Luckman

Paul Luckman with a placard

1 November 1964, Melbourne

56 Years

Peter Aston, 13

Sentenced to life in prison on November 26, 1982

Nicole Louise Pearce (born Paul Wayne Luckman November 1, 1964) is a released transsexual Australian child murderer, psychopath and pedophile.


The victim Peter Aston

The Victim Peter Aston, 13.

Pearce was convicted of pre-meditatively murdering 13 year-old Brisbane schoolboy Peter Aston, whom she kidnapped, sexually assaulted and tortured along with fellow schoolboy Terry Ryan, with the assistance of her boyfriend Robin Reid.

Nicole Louise Pearce with blonde hair, wearing a white sweatshirt, mint green shirt, and a skirt.

In 1990, Paul Luckman changed his name to Nicole Louise Pearce.

Pearce is notorious for the horrific nature of her crimes, which have been described as unparalleled in bloodlust ("the most brutal and callous crimes ever to come before the courts" committed "solely for pleasure and satisfaction"), for undergoing gender-reassignment at state expense while incarcerated and for being released against the advice of majority professional opinion.

Other similarly controversial and later deemed regrettable releases of murderers include those of Peter Dupas, who received female hormone therapy in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent reoffending, Terrence John Leary and Adrian Ernest Bailey.

Condemnation of the killer and criminal justice system was revived when a police reporter from Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper revealed that Pearce had been relocated to Geelong, Victoria, within 200 metres of a primary school, kindergarten and scout hall. New South Wales authorities moved the murderer to a relative's house, however this arrangement failed when neighbours vehemently disapproved. Pearce has since been reported as residing in Kerang, Berwick, Cohuna, Cranbourne, Maryborough and Narre Warren, Victoria.

Authorities assert that reform to the parole system since the murder of Jill Meagher now prevents the release of criminals in Pearce's category.

Pearce's crimes are the subject of television series Crime Investigation Australia: "Buried Alive" (Season 3, Episode 9).

Unknown Facts

•   Pearce was raised by her stepmother and criminal father.
•   Her father had homosexual tendencies, and Pearce claims to have been assaulted by him once over a five-day period.
•   Pearce has several siblings from his father's side. All of them showed some degree of antisocial behavior.
•   She left home when she was 16. She survived on government assistance and by prostituting herself to men.
•   She survived prison by extending sexual favors to other inmates and providing them with cigarettes and drugs.
•   She reportedly used drugs and had violent tendencies while in prison. One time she even threw boiling water on her fellow inmates.
•   Terry Ryan went on the Sydney Radio to try and stop Pearce's release, saying he was fearful for his life and that of his family, regrettably to no avail.
•   She had her sex reassignment surgery at state expense to the anger and disapproval of the public.
•   She was diagnosed as a psychopath and pedophile and had a high risk of reoffending. Experts said she had an easily manipulated personality that enjoyed violence. Terry Ryan  also agreed, saying," He might have had all the hormone treatment, but it's still the same brain, the same body, the same child killer."

Crime Details

Pearce and Reid rehearsed their crime against the schoolboys two days prior by abducting young hitchhiker John Bruce, whom they blindfolded, handcuffed at gunpoint and savagely beat before releasing.

On Tuesday May 4, 1982, they lured and kidnapped the hitchhiking schoolboys by first pretending to be experiencing a temporary car problem, then offering to take them to their destination, and lastly to be federal police investigating thefts allegedly committed by the boys.

Pearce kept a gun aimed at Terry Ryan's head and threatened Peter Aston that if he were to move he would execute Terry.

On arriving near Ocean Road, south of Kingscliff, Queensland, Pearce placed bondage cuffs on Terry and physically assaulted both boys.

Pearce and Reid ripped the clothes from Peter, leaving him completely naked, and forced some of his clothing down his throat.

In a torture-murder extending approximately 6 hours, Pearce stabbed Peter repeatedly, laughing and giggling amid his screams, and broke a gun into two pieces by impacting it with his face.

Pearce shaved Peter's hair with a knife and cut himself, smearing the blood around Peter's eyes.

While Reid assaulted Peter, Pearce forced Terry to dig a shallow grave, perform oral sex on Peter and consume shaven pubic hair.

Pearce and Reid forced Terry to bury Peter alive and allowed Terry to escape.

Subsequently, the pair abducted a man for the purposes of escaping in his car to Northern New South Wales and to whom they gave an exaggerated account of their crimes.

During the abduction, Pearce attributed blame for the murder to the escaped schoolboy, expressed outrage that the boy had gone to the police and that a newspaper had reported her story.

When the car required refuelling, Pearce kept the abducted man hostage in secluded locations while Reid filled the car with petrol alone.

They released the man near bushland, later returned, however were unable to find him.


A collectible weapons

Weapons seized as part of the investigation.

Pearce was arrested cowering inside the stolen car at a police roadblock north of Glen Innes and interviewed by detectives Eric Grimmer and Eric Strong.

Reid claimed that Pearce and the escaped schoolboy were responsible for the murder while Pearce claimed Reid had forced her to participate in the murder, however had only made a minor cut "approximately four millimetres deep" to Peter Aston's throat.

Robin Reid in custody with Detective

Robin Reid in custody with Detective

Detective Sergeant Robert Jackson revealed to Reid that Pearce was a homosexual prostitute, angering him to provide additional evidence against Pearce, who maintained he was innocent.

Pearce was charged with murder, appeared in court and was refused bail.


The trial began on November 8, 1982, with Pearce pleading not guilty.

Crown Prosecutor David Shillington QC chose not to show photographs of the deceased to the jury in the belief that the images were heinous to the extent that they would adversely affect the cognition of the jurors. Justice Roden agreed with this strategy, instructing the court that he believed it would be in everyone's best interests if the jury were spared the visual horror of what happened to Peter and instead heard it from the witnesses.

Pearce attempted to blame the abduction, torture and murder on Reid, however the evidence of Terry Ryan, autopsy and diagnosis of Pearce as a psychopath aware of her actions by Drs. William Barclay and Oscar Schmalzbach returned a verdict of guilty of murder.

Dr. Barclay revealed that Pearce claimed to be transsexual and wanted to be released a woman.

Justice Roden commented that nothing in Pearce's background provided "mitigating circumstances" because he found it "difficult to envisage a killing that would attract a greater degree of culpability."

Additionally, he stated that Pearce's impacting of her rifle with Peter Aston's head "rendered the boy unconscious for 10 minutes and probably caused the depressed fracture of the skull which caused the boy's death."

"The attack on the boy was "prolonged, wanton and sadistic... I reject Luckman's claims that he was not a willing participant... The prisoner set about putting into effect a plan first to torture and later to kill a fellow human being wholly for the pleasure and satisfaction... In over 30 years in the criminal court in this State and elsewhere I have not seen the likes [of Luckman].""

"The mitigating circumstances offered on his behalf pale into insignificance... To impose a lesser penalty than life imprisonment on Mr. Luckman would be an affront to the conscience and sense of justice of the community and would constitute an abuse of my power."

Background of perpetrator

Pearce was born in Melbourne and raised by her father, Max, a criminal with transvestite and homosexual tendencies, and her stepmother; she had limited contact with her biological mother.

Max Luckman bore several children to different mothers, many of whom developed varying degrees of antisocial behaviour.

Nicole Pearce left school aged 16 and went on the dole, supplementing her income by prostituting herself to men. In an analysis by criminologist Paul Wilson, he alleged to have been sexually assaulted at home over a five-day period, but reported enjoying the experience and enjoyed dressing in women's clothing.

Pearce joined the army at age 17 and was transferred from Melbourne to the Enoggera Army Camp where he met soldier Robin Reid, aged 33, with whom he formed a sadomasochistic homosexual relationship with shared interests in Satanism, collecting and cataloguing pubic hair as trophies, weapons and violence.

Reid was tied up and beaten at his request by Pearce in attempts to produce involuntary erection and ejaculation.

Psychopathy, Pedophilia and Evil

Trial psychiatrist Dr. William Barclay and New South Wales consultant psychiatrist of the Attorney-General Dr. Oscar Schmalzbach diagnosed Pearce with psychopathic personality, a clinical construct postulated and popularised in 1941 by psychiatrist Hervey M. Cleckley in his book The Mask of Sanity, further developed by experts including Drs. Robert Hare and Otto Kernberg in concepts encompassing family behavioural history and heredity, sadism, pathological lying, malingering, Munchausen's, primitive defenses, reduced brain matter and chronic cortical underarousal.

Shortly after the crimes and during imprisonment, criminologist and forensic psychologist Paul Wilson made the same diagnosis, in addition to pedophilia, publishing several books and articles, and providing lectures and interviews about the nature of Pearce's psychopathy and his definition of evil:

"I have met in the course of my work criminals who are not only predatory and violent but who also manifestly enjoy the murder, rape or torture that they engage in. Their personality is more than what could be called APD and even more than what Hare would describe as psychopathic. These criminals are qualitatively different from the usual violent killers or criminals that I have come across and would come close to what others — including myself — would call "evil"... I am a forensic psychologist and criminologist, and I am attracted to the definitions given by others with a similar background such as Professor Roy Baumeister... He defines [an evil person] as one who intentionally inflicts serious physical harm on another person or persons, in pursuit of a personal, ideological or religious goal, and who experiences intense psychological pleasure in doing so"... People who fall into my definition of evil include the two soldiers Reid and Luckman... They clearly intensely enjoyed what they had done. When I interviewed both Reid and Luckman they tended to excuse their actions on the grounds that they had "personal problems with their jobs" and that was the reason why they tortured the boy...  Luckman complained about the pain he had inflicted upon himself by kicking the young boy so hard on the skull that he damaged his leg — never mind the sickening violence that he inflicted on the young victim."

Wilson has no doubt that Luckman would have continued killing had he been smarter. He interviewed both killers in jail. "Luckman was very active in not only the crime itself, but also in the fantasy situation and the rehearsal... [Luckman] wanted to kill somebody, torture them and watch the pain in their face... [He] enjoyed talking about inflicting a great deal of pain.

"I had severe reservations about him being released... Not so much the pedophilic tendencies, more the psychopathic tendencies..."

Luckman's torture-murder and pedophilia are the subject of a series of paintings by Australian artist Steve Cox.

Jail Conduct, Parole and Opinion of Survivor Terry Ryan

Terry Ryan attempted to have Pearce's parole rejected with the assistance of Sydney radio personality John Laws.

New South Wales Corrective Services concurred with public and majority professional opinion in 1999, stating that they "intend to refuse parole on the grounds that Pearce may not adapt to normal, lawful community life [and presents] a risk of re-offending."

The parole board was notified that Pearce was a drug-using prostitute while incarcerated and had paranoid, violent tendencies, having poured boiling water over inmates.

Pearce was nevertheless paroled in late 1999 and repeatedly relocated to within close proximity of children.

In 2000, Terry Ryan commented that "he might have had all the hormone treatment but it's still the same brain, the same body, the same child killer."

Criminologist Paul Wilson reasserted his belief that "Luckman/Pearce" would most likely re-offend in an article on the front page of The Courier Mail.

Where Is Nicole Louise Pearce Now ?

Nicole Louise Pearce, formerly known as Paul Wayne Luckman, was released on parole in late 1999.

She had begun hormonal therapy while incarcerated and went on to have gender reassignment surgery in 1990 after a psychiatric analysis.

Once released, she resided in Geelong, Victoria. However, her neighbors argued for her relocation as her house was within 200 meters of a school. She went on to live in a relative's house but was again rejected by the community residents.

This disapproval has caused her to relocate to various areas of Victoria, such as Kerang, Maryborough, Berwick, Cranbourne, Cohuna, and Narre Warren.

Where Is Terry Ryan Now ?

Not much is known about Terry Ryan's life today. All that's known is how much he suffered after the gruesome murder.

His schoolmates and community shunned him due to his partial involvement in the murder. He was a constant target for their contempt, ridicule, and assault.

He underwent therapy in a psychiatric hospital after the murderers' trial. Still, he developed anger management issues, anti-authority tendencies as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

He also had symptoms of PTSD, namely flashbacks and nightmares. He regularly went in and out of prison due to various crimes like assault and car theft.


Nicole Louise Pearce (Paul Luckman) Wikipedia

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