Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Darryl Beamish





Death and later resentenced or commuted to Life

Years Imprisoned:


Year Crime:


Year Convicted:


Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:


County or Region of Crime:

Western Australia

City of Crime:



Judicially Exonerated

Summary of Case:

"Darryl Beamish was wrongly convicted in 1961 of the 1959 axe murder of wealthy 22 year-old socialite Jillian Brewer in Perth, Western Australia. Beamish, a deaf mute who was 18 at the time of the crime, was sentenced to death, that was later commuted to life in prison. Beamish's conviction was based on his police pressured false confession. Serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke provided a detailed confession to the murder in 1963, one of more than six murders he admitted committing. Beamish's death sentence was commuted to life. He was released in 1977 after 15 years imprisonment. On April 1, 2005, in the same Perth courthouse where he had been convicted and sentenced to death, the Western Australia Court of Criminal Appeals quashed his conviction. The 45 years between conviction and exoneration is the longest for anyone convicted in Australia. Beamish was inspired to file his sixth appeal after John Button was exonerated in 2002 of the 1963 death of his girlfriend. Serial killer Cooke had also confessed to the murder of Button's girlfriend, Jillian Brewer, before he was hanged in 1964. Journalist turned author Estelle Blackburn wrote about both cases in her 1998 book, "Broken Lives." After Button's exoneration, Beamish was inspired to file his sixth appeal. After his conviction was quashed, Beamish said he was only interested in clearing his name, not in compensation. Australian law professor Peter Brett wrote a book published in 1966, "The Beamish Case," that described his case as a "monstrous miscarriage of justice." On June 2, 2011 the Western Australian government announced that it had awarded Beamish, 69, ex gratia compensation of AUS$425,000 in response to a claim he had submitted for $500,000. The compensation award equals US$451,222 at the conversion rate of 1 USD = 0.9418 AUD (June 2, 2011). In determining Mr. Beamish's ex gratia payment, Western Australia's attorney-general said there was a lack of conclusive evidence to suggest there was serious misconduct by the prosecutors or police in his original conviction."

Conviction Caused By:

False confession

Innocence Proved By:

"The Western Australia Court of Criminal Appeals quashed his conviction on April 1, 2005."

Defendant Aided By:

"Estelle Blackburn wrote about his case in her 1998 book, "Broken Lives." Attorneys Tom Percy and Johnathan Davies worked pro bono on the case for six years."

Compensation Awarded:

"AUS$425,000 (June 2011). The compensation award equals US$451,222 at the conversion rate of 1 USD = 0.9418 AUD (June 2, 2011)"

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:


Age When Released:





Information Source 1:

"After 45 Years, Deaf Mute Cleared of Axe Murder, Sydney Morning Herald, April 1, 2005"

Information Location 1:


Information Source 2:

Broken Lives by Estelle Blackburn

Information Location 2:


Information Source 3:

"$425k payout for Darryl Beamish, wrongly convicted deaf-mute, 'miserly', By Amanda O'Brien(staff), Herald Sun (Melbourne), June 3, 2011"

Information Location 3:


Information Source 4:

Information Location 4:

Information Source 5:

Information Location 5:

Book About Case:

""Broken Lives," Estelle Blackburn (Stellar Publishing (Australia) 1998)"

Book Information:

Book About Case (2):

"The Beamish Case," Peter Brett (1966)"

Book Information (2):

Movie About Case:

Comments About Case:

Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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