One of Queensland’s most sadistic murderers – “vampire killer” Tracey Wigginton – has been transferred to a low-security prison farm on the Gold Coast, in a move that has sparked fears the next step could be freedom.
Wigginton was named as one of Queensland’s most violent prisoners.
Wigginton, a self-proclaimed vampire who murdered Brisbane City Council worker Edward Baldock and drank his blood, was sentenced to life for the 1989 crime.
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In 1997, she was named as one of Queensland’s most violent prisoners during debate over legislation aimed at keeping her and other brutal killers behind bars.
But the Corrective Services Department recently approved Wigginton’s request to be transferred from Brisbane Women’s Prison to the Numinbah Correctional Centre in the Gold Coast hinterland.
The prison farm, which has no high-wire fences, is 200m from the Numinbah Valley State School.
Dozens of prisoners have walked out of the farm since it was established in 1940.
Victims of Crime and the state Opposition condemned the decision to reclassify Wigginton.
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg called on Police and Corrective Services Minister Tony McGrady to review the decision, saying Wigginton personified “unmitigated evil”.
“Moving someone to a prison farm is usually the final transitional step to being released on parole or on some form of home detention,” Mr Springborg said.
“It begs the question why someone like this should be wandering around a prison farm where you can almost walk out at any time.”
Mr McGrady defended the decision. “The bottom line is she is still inside the prison system, she’s not out on the streets,” he said.
A Corrective Services spokesman denied Wigginton’s move to a prison farm marked a step towards her release.
“This does not mean automatic release into the general community, it means she has reached an open security classification.”
The spokesman said Wigginton, now 38, became eligible for parole in October but had not applied.
He said Wigginton, who completed a taxpayer-funded university degree earlier this year, had applied to be moved to the prison farm in March and was granted the request in May.
Victims of Crime Association chief executive Chris Murphy said the Government had a duty of care to protect the community.
“I’ve got a great deal of concern that someone who committed such a horrendous crime can be virtually on the road to release,” he said.
Wigginton’s Supreme Court trial heard she could not eat solid food and had a growing hunger for human blood.
She and three other women – one her lesbian lover – enticed Mr Baldock, a 47-year-old father-of-five and grandfather, into their car and drove him to the Brisbane River. There, Wigginton stabbed Mr Baldock 27 times and drank his blood.
In a 1996 interview from inside prison, Wigginton said she never expected to get out because any attempt at freedom would create a “media circus”.