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The Edward Splatt Case

During the night of December 3, 1977, elderly woman Rosa Simper was brutally murdered in her Cheltenham home in Adelaide. Her body was discovered the next morning, lying across her blood-soaked bed after being badly beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled. The house had also been ransacked, with an estimated $200 worth of property stolen. Police forensic examinations of the crime scene found traces of paint and metal on the windowsill, where the window had been jemmied open by the intruder, as well as on the victim’s bed. This evidence drew the police’s attention to a factory located opposite Ms Simper’s home. They investigated fifteen of the factory’s employees, including 43-year-old spray-painter Edward Splatt, whom was known to police as a small-time criminal. The police mounted a case against Mr Splatt, basing their prosecution on the paint particles which supposedly came from Mr Splatt’s clothing. Mr Splatt was convicted for Ms Simper’s murder in 1978, and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1979, Mr Splatt sent two exercise books to investigative journalist Stewart Cockburn, stating that his sentence was a miscarriage of justice. After much investigation and fighting legal and governmental barriers, Mr Cockburn ensured a royal commission was held for the case. The royal commission, although never determining Mr Splatt's innocence, found that the paint particles were from spray painters working down the road, and was highly critical of the unscientific manner in which the trial was conducted. In 1984 Edward Splatt was released from prison and pardoned, after serving six and a half years for Ms Simper’s murder. The Edward Splatt case changed forensic science law in South Australia, with the government’s establishment of the State Forensic Science Centre, independent of the police force.

JULY 2, 1987: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Ken Sellick
02 July, 1987
JULY 2, 1987: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Ken Sellick
02 July, 1987
JULY 2, 1987: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Ken Sellick
02 July, 1987
JULY 2, 1987: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Ken Sellick
02 July, 1987
JUNE 4, 1987: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Janine Young
04 June, 1987
JUNE 4, 1987: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Janine Young
04 June, 1987
JUNE 4, 1987: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Janine Young
04 June, 1987
JUNE 4, 1987: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Janine Young
04 June, 1987
NOVEMBER 7, 1986: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By David Hele
07 November, 1986
NOVEMBER 7, 1986: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By David Hele
07 November, 1986
NOVEMBER 7, 1986: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By David Hele
07 November, 1986
SEPTEMBER 25, 1985: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Bert Stanbury
27 June, 1986
DECEMBER 11, 1985: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Ken Sellick
11 December, 1985
SEPTEMBER 25, 1985: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Brian Webber
25 September, 1985
SEPTEMBER 25, 1985: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Brian Webber
25 September, 1985
AUGUST 2, 1984: ADELAIDE, SA. Yvonne Splatt, wife...
By Ken Sellick
02 August, 1984
AUGUST 2, 1984: ADELAIDE, SA. Yvonne Splatt, wife...
By Ken Sellick
02 August, 1984
AUGUST 2, 1984: ADELAIDE, SA. (L-R) Edward Charles...
By Ray Titus
02 August, 1984
AUGUST 2, 1984: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Mick Conry
02 August, 1984
AUGUST 2, 1984: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Ray Titus
02 August, 1984
AUGUST 2, 1984: ADELAIDE, SA. Yvonne Splatt, wife...
By Ken Sellick
02 August, 1984
AUGUST 2, 1984: ADELAIDE, SA. Yvonne Splatt, wife...
By Ken Sellick
02 August, 1984
AUGUST 2, 1984: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles Splatt...
By Mick Conry
02 August, 1984
JULY 4, 1984: ADELAIDE, SA. Exterior of the house...
By News Ltd
04 July, 1984
JULY, 1984: ADELAIDE, SA. Cheltenham Cemetery...
By News Ltd
01 July, 1984
JANUARY 25, 1983: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Kevin Bull
25 January, 1983
JANUARY 25, 1983: ADELAIDE, SA. The Royal Commissioner...
By Kevin Bull
25 January, 1983
JANUARY 25, 1983: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Kevin Bull
25 January, 1983
JANUARY 25, 1983: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Kevin Bull
25 January, 1983
JANUARY 25, 1983: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Kevin Bull
25 January, 1983
JANUARY 25, 1983: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Kevin Bull
25 January, 1983
JANUARY 25, 1983: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Kevin Bull
25 January, 1983
JANUARY 25, 1983: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By Kevin Bull
25 January, 1983
JANUARY 24, 1983: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By News Ltd
24 January, 1983
JANUARY 24, 1983: ADELAIDE, SA. Edward Charles...
By News Ltd
24 January, 1983
DECEMBER 23, 1982: ADELAIDE, SA. Yvonne Splatt,...
By Alex Massey
23 December, 1982
DECEMBER 23, 1982: ADELAIDE, SA. Yvonne Splatt,...
By Alex Massey
23 December, 1982
OCTOBER 13, 1982: ADELAIDE, SA. Exterior of factory...
By News Ltd
13 October, 1982
MAY 2, 1981: ADELAIDE, SA. Exterior of the house...
By News Ltd
02 May, 1981
DECEMBER 3, 1977: ADELAIDE, SA. Police detectives...
By News Ltd
03 December, 1977
DECEMBER 3, 1977: ADELAIDE, SA. Police forensic...
By News Ltd
03 December, 1977
CIRCA 1977: ADELAIDE, SA. The scene of the ransacked...
By News Ltd
03 December, 1977
DECEMBER 3, 1977: ADELAIDE, SA. Police detectives...
By News Ltd
03 December, 1977
CIRCA 1977: ADELAIDE, SA. The scene of the ransacked...
By News Ltd
03 December, 1977
DECEMBER 3, 1977: ADELAIDE, SA. Police detectives...
By News Ltd
03 December, 1977
DECEMBER 3, 1977: ADELAIDE, SA. Police and detectives...
By News Ltd
03 December, 1977
DECEMBER 3, 1977: ADELAIDE, SA. Police and detectives...
By News Ltd
03 December, 1977
DECEMBER 3, 1977: ADELAIDE, SA. Police detectives...
By News Ltd
03 December, 1977
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