Mark Richard Lawrence and victim Julie Ann Muirhead
Mark Richard Lawrence and victim Julie Ann Muirhead

Released rapist and killer back behind bars

A psychopathic sexual sadist and killer living in the community after serving more than 36 years behind bars for a string of violent crimes, has been arrested by police on a warrant aimed at protecting citizens from dangerous sex offenders.

Mark Richard Lawrence, 59, appeared via video link from the watch-house in the Supreme Court late yesterday before Justice Peter Davis, just hours after he had his first appearance in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on a return to custody warrant issued last Thursday under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act.

The Supreme Court was told Lawrence was arrested on Friday because Corrective Services staff believe he is likely to contravene an order governing the provisions of his release which includes mandatory sessions with psychologist Lars Madsen and psychiatrist Sarah Steele.

Barrister Jeffrey Rolls, for the state, told the court that Lawrence's behaviour was a "matter of some considerable concern".

Lawrence has been out of prison since April when Justice Helen Bowskill ruled he could be released under strict supervision for the next 20 years.

His most heinous crime was the rape and killing of 29 year old Julie Ann Muirhead at Wolston Park Hospital in Wacol on Boxing Day in 1983, the fulfilment of a long-term rape and murder fantasy.

He was also convicted of assaulting three young children when he was in his 20s, and the sodomistic rape of a prisoner in1999.


He takes anti-libidinal medication to control his sexual urges as well as to control his psychiatric issues.

He has previously been diagnosed as having an anti-social personality disorder with psychopathic traits and sexual sadism.

Justice Davis told the court that Lawrence's likelihood of reoffending was low, but if he offended the consequences could be grave.

Lawrence killed Muirhead by strangling her with a tea towel then cutting her throat, leaving her partially burned body on the banks of the Brisbane River.

He was kept behind bars after serving his time for Muirhead's death under state legislation aimed at keeping dangerous sex offenders behind bars until it is shown the community can be protected.

In April he was freed on 59 strict conditions, including a ban from schools, childcare centres, public parks, shopping centres or clubs without written permission.

He was banned from using porn or collecting photos, videos or magazines of children, and his home must be approved by a Corrective Services officer.

He was also banned from contacting his victims or their families or have contact with children, and must wear an ankle-bracelet tracker if required, and submit to blood tests to check his testosterone levels.

He was ordered to not work or study without approval and to tell authorities the make, model and registration of his car.

The case will return to court in January 12.

Originally published as Released rapist and killer back behind bars


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