Motive – The psychology behind the murders


The psychology behind the murders

I do have to wonder what great psychological factors were at work during the brutal murders of Thomas Anketell and Henry Burrup. I am not a psychologist, but I thought I would attempt to write briefly about this as it is an important aspect of the case that I believe holds the key as to why both men were murdered.

The nature of the murders was particularly brutal. Thomas was struck on the head many times with an instrument that was likely a pick axe. Any one of those blows would have been fatal. With so many blows such a murder is known as “overkill”. Overkill indicates that the murderer was in a rage. I suggest a deep rage because the murderer even turned the axe so that he could bring the spike down through Thomas’s ear. It was as if Thomas was being obliterated. The rage did not subside after the physical effort of the first murder it was maintained for a second murder, the victim being in a different part of the building. I think it likely Thomas was murdered first as he was sleeping out on the verandah. Henry was then murdered in a similarly brutal manner and yet a pillow was placed over his head after the deed by the murderer. Could the rage have, by this time, burnt out and the murderer showing some form of regret?

This leads me to wonder what emotion drove the rage and what was the cause of such an emotion?

There is a very interesting paper titled “Shame: The_root_of_violence” by Professor Chris Poulson. In it he states:

“Violence is symbolic of disrupted relationships, of something gone wrong. Violence is also symbolic of power as it asserted over the target of the violence. Violence is used to express emotion; violence is used to control.”


“The central argument of this paper is that shame, most especially accumulated shame that
has not had an avenue for effective discharge, is the root of violence.”

Was “shame” the driver for the violent Roebourne Bank Murders? It’s an interesting question to ponder. Perhaps one day I may be able to get an expert opinion from someone who is far more qualified and knowledgeable in this field than myself.