The last dance

On June 11 1966, vivacious 20 year old Carolyn Orphin of Gipps Street, Wollongong, went out for a night of dancing.

It was during this fateful night that Carolyn met 21 year old Alan Bassett, a fitter and turner from Graham Street, Unanderra.


Alan Bassett


The pair enjoyed a night of dancing, and hit it off immediately. It was for this reason that Carolyn saw no reason to reject Bassett’s offer of a lift back to her Wollongong home. She happily bounced into his car, and settled in for the drive home. But sadly, she never made it that far.

Instead of taking her home, Bassett instead drove the pair to Mt. Ousley and attacked Carolyn. He tied her hands behind her back with a pair of nylon stockings, and brutally raped her. At some point during the attack, perhaps to silence her, he tightly wound a second pair of stockings and a sanitary belt around the frightened girls throat.

When he had finished, Bassett dragged Carolyn out of the car, dumping her bruised and battered body on the ground at Mt. Ousley Bypass Road. It was here that Bassett found a large rock, and proceeded to crush Carolyn’s head with it.

At 6.45am the next morning, a couple passing by saw what they thought was a dressmaker’s dummy on the side of the road. Upon stopping to investigate, they discovered Carolyn Orphin – naked, still bound with the stockings and bleeding from a horrific head wound. It would later be revealed that it was the fractured skull and brain injury that finally took her life.

Bassett was quickly arrested, largely due to the sheer number of witnesses who saw the pair leaving together, but during the trial Bassett pleaded not guilty claiming “I don’t think it’s outright murder… something came over me and I can’t really describe things.” He instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Justice Collins stated that the jury would have little difficulty in deciding whether Bassett was responsible for the girl’s death as the definition of murder “reckless indifference to human life” clearly applied in this situation. Bassett was sentenced to life in prison, of which he served 29 years mostly served in the Morriset Psychiactric Hospital.

In 1975, Bassett was treated as a suspect for the infamous Wanda Beach murders (1965) after depicting the scene in a painting, including blood trails and a knife, but was ultimately never convicted. As well as this murder, Detective Cec Johnson was convinced that Bassett was responsible for the murder of Wilhelmina Kruger in Wollongong, 1966, but was unable to prove the connection. (For more information, please see ‘The Piccadilly Murder’

In 1995, Bassett was released. He has since offered DNA samples to clear his name, but whether this lead to him being cleared or not has never been publicised.




~ by forgottenillawarra on January 19, 2017.

One Response to “The last dance”

  1. […] The Last Dance […]

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