The Truro Murders (Part 7): James Miller
James William Miller was born in 1938 into a family of 6 children. He was known as a friendless loner and ran away from home at a very early age, only to end up in the Magill Reform School at age 11.
With no education, Miller learnt to survive as best he could, and turned to petty crime when he couldn’t find work as an itinerant labourer.
Over the years Miller was convicted for car theft, larceny, breaking and entering and stealing, and had over 30 convictions to his name. In his lengthy career as a criminal, he was never once charged for a violence or sex crime.
Miller found himself inside Adelaide Gaol for a three-month custodial sentence, he had broken into a gun shop. It was here in the Adelaide Gaol he met Christopher Worrell, who was awaiting trial on a rape charge, Worrell was also on a suspended sentence for armed robbery
Miller, a homosexual, fell in love with Worrell and become totally infatuated by the young good looking man. Soon the two men shared a cell at Adelaide Gaol, but that was soon to change.
Worrell was found guilty and sentenced to 4-year term at Yatala Labour Prison. Miller was also sentenced to serve time at Yatala, where he served three months.
Within months, the two friends would see each other again in Yatala, with Miller getting arrested for trying to sell stolen sunglasses in hotels around Adelaide. He had stolen 400 pairs and was caught. Miller was sentenced to 18 months in Yatala.
Miller was released, then nine months later Worrell was granted early parole. The two men met on the outside, and rekindled their friendship and planned to get a unit together in the city.
What was a friendship quickly began to be a sexual relationship, with Miller performing oral sex on Worrell, whilst Worrell read bondage magazines. Over time the sexual relationship dwindled, due to Worrell’s preference for young women, and the two men became like brothers.
Worrell and Miller became inseparable, even working together with the Unley Council as labourers.
Miller was submissive, but he had a calming effect upon Worrell. The pair often cruised the city in Millers blue and white Valiant, looking for girls. Worrell would tie them up and have sex with them in the back of the car, while Miller would go for a walk – this kink for violent bondage sex of Worrell’s would soon turn to raping and killing the young women.
At the time of the first murder, Miller was 38 years old.
Between the time of Worrell’s death, and the exposing of the crimes, Miller had become very depressed over the loss of his best friend, and found himself living as a vagrant on the streets, sometimes sleeping in abandoned cars, and every so often sleeping at the Central Mission Day Centre, St Vincent De Paul, or helping out at the Salvation Army.
Miller would be apprehended due to a tip-off from Worrell’s former girlfriend Angela. All through his trial he claimed he didn’t murder anyone, all he did was drive the car and was just the “chauffeur and mug”, therefore, he should not be charged with the act of murder.
The Judge of the case didn’t see things the same way as Miller and told the jury it must find him guilty.
Miller was interred or life in 1980 for the murders of six of the seven women, he was acquitted of the murder of Veronica Knight.
Not long after the trial, one of the jurors hired a lawyer to petition the Attorney-General for a retrial of Miller’s case, due to the instruction of Judge Matheson for the jury to find Miller guilty. The Attorney-General, Chris Sumner flatly refused to grant Miller a retrial.
In 1999, Miller applied to the law courts to have a non-parole period set. In 2000, Chief Justice John Doyle granted Miller’s request, and his non-parole period was backdated for a period of 35 years – meaning Miller could apply for parole in 2014.
James Miller, after 28 years in prison, body succumb to the ravages of cancer, and on October 22, 2008, at the age of 68, he died.
Next Week: The Truro Murders (Part 8): How they captured a murderer
Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2015
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