Kate Moir knows all too well about survival – she escaped from Perth serial killers David and Catherine Birnie, which eventually led to their capture.
The Birnies went on a murderous rampage raping and killing four women in the southern suburb of Willagee in 1986 before the then 17-year-old Moir escaped the deadly couple and told police of her ordeal at the hands of her captors.
David Birnie hung himself in his cell in 2005 but Catherine Birnie remains behind bars as WA’s longest serving female prisoner and she recently came up for parole, something Moir wants changed.
The 46-year-old mother of three is petitioning WA Attorney General Michael Mischin to reform parole legislation, including the removal of mandatory parole hearings every three years for self-confessed killers like Birnie.
Moir decided to speak out about her ordeal six weeks ago in order to put pressure on WA’s Attorney General and to bring to the public’s attention the issue of mandatory parole hearings.
“It is not just me, it is also for other people who have been murdered and every three years these killers come up for parole,” Moir says.
“It you gives you the shits, it is like a constant reminder when you want it to go away – it gives you righteous fury. They murdered four girls, should they be up for parole after 20 years?”
Since launching her campaign through social media and other networks, Moir says the support has been amazing.
“I have over 10,500 supporters and 13,000 signatures in five weeks, since the campaign began.
“I have been using Facebook so you can join the group through my name Kate Moir and the petition is at change.org. It is called the Attorney General’s Parole Reformation Petition. The group ‘We Support Kate’ is a virtual political rally and we get counted, then the more people we get the more we can show to the Attorney General.”
Moir says she has spoken to Mr Mischin, who has put some submissions into the State Solicitor’s Office, but says this isn’t going far enough.
“It is not what we are after – he is tip-toeing around the tulips whereas we want no parole for murder with intent.
“I have had outpourings of support and people are organising fundraisers to sponsor me. You can sponsor the petition and we are about go face-to-face and hand out petitions in person.”
When it comes to her own personal views on surviving a crime and support for victims, Kate believes the community should rally around and support other survivors.
“I think they should get their heads together – our community has a victim mentality, it is about time they had a survivor mentality. The perpetrators of crime are likely to get out and their victims live in fear.
“I know people who have had to change where they live, their daily habits all because a murderer who destroyed their family is up for parole in October – and that was wilful murder!
“I am after tougher sentences for violent offenders rather than offences of property or drugs.”
Kate’s campaign and petition is available through her Facebook page ‘Kate Moir’ and on change.org.