The Murder of Kim Barry Part 2 – Guest blogger Elise

Potter’s Story:

According to Potter, Kim told him during their conversation at the Crown Gardens that two men had been harassing her. She was worried that they would be waiting for her outside and asked if she could go back to Potter’s house as she was too scared to go home. Potter and Kim then took a taxi back to his unit. Potter claimed that when he asked Kim to pay for the taxi, she opened her purse to reveal that there was no money in it, but that it contained several packets of white powder.

On returning to his unit, there was a knock at the door. Assuming it was a friend who had missed the buck’s party, Potter opened the door. Two strange men in dark glasses forced their way inside and asked to talk to Kim alone. Kim agreed, and Potter went upstairs to wait while Kim talked to the men in the living room. Hearing shouting and loud noises, Potter ran back downstairs to find Kim on the floor with one man standing over her. The other man was going through her purse. Potter saw blood and realised Kim had been murdered. Potter claimed the men told him that the same would happen to him if he didn’t cooperate, and that if he went to the police, he would be blamed for the murder as it occurred in his unit. He was ordered by the men to return to the disco and act as if nothing has happened, which he did.

At 4.00am, Potter and his brother took a taxi back to Potter’s unit. On entering the unit, Potter saw that a blanket had been thrown over the spot on the living room floor where he had seen Kim’s body. Glen fell asleep on the couch and Potter went to bed.

Glen left at 7.00am, and soon after, the two strange men returned. They took Potter upstairs, where he saw Kim’s body had been left in the spare room. Potter watched as the men decapitated Kim and removed her fingers with a knife and a meat saw taken from the kitchen. The two men then told Potter he had to get rid of the body and departed.

Potter wrapped Kim’s body in sheets and her head in his dressing gown. He placed her fingers in a bag, and her belongings (jewellery, purse and clothing), along with a rolling pin he assumed to be the murder weapon, in another bag. He drove to the Jamberoo Mountain Lookout, where he dumped the body and head. As he was driving back down the mountain, he claimed to have suddenly remembered the bag with Kim’s belongings and threw this into the bush. Further down the road, he suddenly remembered about the bag with Kim’s fingers, and dumped this also.

Police immediately recognised and pointed out the inconsistencies in Potter’s story:

It was unlikely that clean-living Kim would have had drugs in her bag, but if she did, why would she have opened her purse to show Potter this?

Potter also stated that Kim had no money in her bag, contrary to the testimony of Kim’s friend, Donna Holland, who said that Kim had two $2 notes in her bag to pay for the taxi home.

Potter claimed the two men released him to go back to the disco, which was located close to Wollongong Police Station. Why then would Potter not have gone to the police?

Why would Potter take his brother back to his unit, knowing that the body and the two strange men might still be there? It was also unlikely that Potter would have just gone to bed without searching the unit for the body or the two men.

Potter claimed that the two men murdered Kim in the living room, but forensic evidence suggested she was killed in the spare bedroom.

Potter had dumped the body, the head, and the two bags in separate locations.

Nonetheless, the court ordered that Potter’s story be investigated. Potter spent time with police making identikit images of the two men he said he saw. Identikit experts claimed that witnesses usually choose the eyes first, but Potter kept changing the eyes in his pictures. When police asked witnesses from the Crown Gardens if they had seen either of the two men, none of them had.

The Trial:

The case for the prosecution presented the forensic evidence, including the bloodstain evidence from Forensic Biologist, Joy Kuhl, and evidence from Detective Sergeant Henry Delaforce, which showed that bone markings from Kim’s hand and fingers matched Potter’s hacksaw.

Potter was the only witness for the defence. He gave his story in the form of a “dock statement”, which meant he could avoid cross-examination. The defence summarised by saying police had given no motive for the murder and that the two methods of removing Kim’s fingers proved that two men were involved.

In April 1982, Potter was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He married Sheree whilst inside. In 1990, Potter briefly escaped from Bathurst jail with another inmate, but was recaptured the next day and brought back. On 20 August 1993, the Supreme Court reviewed Potter’s life sentence under truth in sentencing legislation, and reset his prison term to a minimum 12 years, 8 months. He served 14 years of his sentence before being released on parole in 1996, described by the court as a rehabilitated man.

Potter with wife, Sheree

Potter with wife, Sheree

Police Explanation:

Potter has never admitted his crime and always stuck to his story, so the true motive and circumstances of Kim Barry’s death will probably never be known.

However, police surmise that what probably occurred is this:

Kim accompanied Potter back to his apartment with the intent of sleeping with him, however, once there, she has changed her mind. Some suggest she may have become aware that Potter had a girlfriend and was engaged to be married, and thus refused his advances. This sent Potter into a rage, and he struck a heavy blow to her head, left her at the apartment and returned to the disco.

The post mortem of Kim’s body showed that her stomach was empty. Police knew that Kim and Donna had eaten before attending the disco; this suggested that Kim was alive long enough to fully digest that food. This led police to believe that Kim did not die immediately upon the first blow, but was rendered unconscious and left at the flat. When Potter returned, he saw that Kim was still alive and struck her again with the heavy object aforementioned, probably the rolling pin that he later placed in the bag with Kim’s possesssions. When this still didn’t kill her, he strangled her until she died. When Kim’s skull was recovered, her teeth displayed telltale signs of strangulation – pink discolouration on the backs of the teeth suggested that tiny capillaries inside her teeth had burst, a phenomenon linked to strangulation.

In 1987, the bag containing the rolling pin and Kim’s jewellery, purse and remaining clothing was found. The purse contained no packets of white powder, but in it was found the two crumpled $2 notes Kim had saved for her cab fare home.

Potter At Large:

In 2002, Potter moved to Tasmania with his wife, Sheree. Once there, he became involved in the drug trade. In 2008, Operation Inca, set up by federal police, led to Potter’s arrest for his involvement in importing $440 million worth of cocaine and ecstacy. He was extradited to Victoria, but was granted bail.

Whilst out on bail, Potter became involved in the Melbourne underworld as a hitman. Victorian Police allege that Potter and two other men were involved in a plot to kill two men, one of them an associate of Mick Gatto. One of these murders was to take place at the wedding of Gatto’s son. In May 2009, however, Potter was again granted bail for this offence. He failed to appear at Melbourne Magistrate’s Court in February 2010 to face conspiracy to murder charges, and has been on the run ever since. Police say he is accomplished at disguising his appearance, even going to far as to wear a fat suit. He has been known to wear gold sleeper earrings in both ears, glasses, and a gold chain, and to go by various aliases, including Josh Lawson, John Page, Jim Henderson and Peter Adams.

He has been spotted variously since being on the run, mostly in country towns in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland. He was seen recently in Victoria, but currently remains at large.

Graham Potter's Mugshot

Graham Potter’s Mugshot

Surveillance footage of Potter, Victoria.

Surveillance footage of Potter, Victoria.

This sad tale was compiled by Elise, my wonderful guest blogger. She has done a magnificent job. For more information regarding the murder of Kim Barry, read ‘The Stranger You Know’ by John Suter-Linton.

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~ by forgottenillawarra on June 19, 2013.

5 Responses to “The Murder of Kim Barry Part 2 – Guest blogger Elise”

  1. Elise got a lot of it accurate but did not know or left out a lot of facts.. I know as I was privy to that information and never fully understand why it was not brought up in court and I knew Graham and his family very well. That aside it was a tragedy for all the parties concerned and ultimately changed the life directions of so many people.

  2. I was fortunate enough to meet the Barry family not long after Kim’s death, and serve my naval apprenticeship with Kim’s brother, Wayne. Although I had vague recognition of what had happened in Wayne’s family, my ignorance and disregard of what had taken place when we were teens astounds me now. Looking back, Wayne showed an incredible strength of character and, as is my recollection, his mum and dad treated our rowdy lot with tremendous grace, when their emotions must surely have been completely raw. I hope 30+ years has eased their suffering.
    David Johnson

  3. Having gone to school with Kim she was always a lovely and kind girl. Her death shook us all at the time. I am astounded as to how Potter has managed to get away with so much in this life time. Surely the evidence can be re examined to prove without a doubt that he was the killer no matter what he says. How has he managed to be free all these years when he is so well known to police…. the world is scarier knowing he is still out there. To my ignorance I thought he has been behind bars all this time.. The judiciary system has to change. why was another killer given so many chances to re offend.. To the Barry family our condolences and know that Kim has always been in our prayers. May she RIP..

  4. Just a question: potter says they took a taxi back to his unit, so how do two strange men know where Kym was?

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