NOOSA HEADS, QUEENSLAND, NEW ZEALAND — At 5:30 on the sunny afternoon of November 27, 1987, 12-year-old Sian Kingi pedaled by Pinnaroo Park on her yellow bicycle when Valmae Beck, 33, asked if she’d help find a little, lost poodle.
Beck led Sian to a thicket of bushes where Barrie Watts, 23, grabbed the child from behind and forced her into a station wagon.
Together, then, married couple Beck and Watts bound and gagged Sian inside the vehicle and drove her about 10 miles away to the Tinbeerwah woods.
After dragging Sian into the forest, Watts raped her for two hours before both adults strangled her, slashed her throat, and stabbed her 12 times — three punctures going all the way through her heart.
Throughout the atrocity, cars sped by on a thoroughfare just 150 feet away, but trees obscured their view. A gas station, about 1,000 feet in the distance, stood just far off enough for no one to be able to Sian’s screams as she suffered and died.After finally killing Sian, Beck and Watts tossed her body into a Castaways Creek, followed by their knife, a rope, a belt, and a roll of tape, all wrapped in a bedsheet.
Reportedly, that evening, the husband and wife engaged in a rare session of sexual intercourse.
As nighttime fell, Linda and Barry Kingi, Sian’s parents, went to Pinnaroo Park to look for her. They found her discarded bicycle and headed immediately to the police.
A team of six homicide detectives assembled the next morning and embarked on an intense six-day hunt to find out what happened to Sian.
On December 2, five days after Sian died, a fruit picker noticed a smell of rotting flesh coming from Castaways Creek. He poked around and recoiled in horror upon discovering Sian’s remains.
All the police had to work with in terms of clues was an out-of-place white station wagon being spotted near the park served as a lead. That proved to be enough to lead them to Beck and Watts.
Under interrogation, Valmae Beck broke down quickly. She was, after all, a mother of six children herself (yes, you read that correctly).Through tears and while gulping down chocolates, Beck told investigators that Watts had long harbored violent sexual desires toward preteen schoolgirls, and she had agreed to help make his sick fantasies come true so that he wouldn’t leave her.
Beck also described every aspect of what they had done to Sian, sharing details that only the killer (or, as it were, killers) would know.
The detectives then took a transcription of Beck’s confession to Watts. In response, he snarled, “You might know what happened, but you got to prove it!”
Prove it, they did. The police put Beck and Watts together in a room that was wired to record sound. The resulting 20 hours of taped conversations between the couple came off so damning, you might not believe it if you saw it in a movie or TV show.
At one point, Watts can be heard on the tape scolding his wife:
“No one saw us pick her up and throw her in the car, no one seen her in the car, no one seen us kill her! If you hadn’t confessed, they didn’t have a case!”
Later, Back tells her husband:
“Going out and raping somebody is one thing, but to kill somebody in cold blood and not have any compassion at all, that worried me. It’s been worrying me for weeks, since it happened. Because you told me it wouldn’t bother you, but I thought it would.”
To that, Beck responds:
“I’d like to do it again … You wanted to, as well. You wanted to do it again.”
Prosecutors played those recordings during Beck and Watts’ trials. It did not take the jury long to find them guilty of all charges.
On October 20, 1988, the Queensland Supreme Court sentenced Beck to three years for abduction, 10 years for rape, and life in prison for murder. She died from heart disease in 2007. Watts got three years for abduction, 15 years for rape, and, again, life in prison for murder. The judge added that Watts’s case file should be marked “Never To Be Released.”
Watts remains behind bars today. In 1995, a court found him guilty in the murder of Helen Mary Feeney, another little girl who had gone missing just one month before Sian King’s murder. Both Beck and Watts remain suspects in a number of other unsolved child killings.
Watch the all-new series premiere of Kiss of Death on Thursday, August 24 at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery!
Main photo: Abandoned Bicycle [Pixabay]